Today’s letter – 100 days of hope

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today is President Obama’s 100th day in office.

As my mom keeps reminding me, Mr. Obama does not believe in same-sex marriage. Indeed, in his first 100 days, we do not have a hate crimes law, nor a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act; gays are not allowed openly in the military, and I still pay $1243 more taxes a year without being able to share Medicare or social security with my husband.

What we do have is hope. Somebody who realizes that apartheid is wrong, no matter how popular it is. Somebody who goes on TV to heal and not divide. Somebody who is willing to pass civil rights legislation, and not veto it.

A leader like that is really rare, and you can see why he is so popular. Like Harvey Milk, he cuts through the bigotry and gets things done. I wish you would give Californians hope. Please help California turn away the Opponents of Equality. You can start by signing SB 572, the bill that would make May 22 Harvey Milk Day.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Napa Hates Gays

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

What is going on in this state? I just read in the San Francisco Chronicle that Napa City Councilman Mark van Gorder asked his colleagues to support a resolution saying the “city does not support discrimination and finds that all people regardless of gender should be able to enter into the legal contract of marriage.”

He was the only one who voted in favor. Three other council members did not vote, saying they were not comfortable taking a position on the issue. The vice mayor did not attend. The measure did not pass.

Bethany Holden-Soto and her wife cancelled a weekend getaway in Napa because of it.

“We want to take a trip with our tax return money and Napa seemed like a nice place,” said Holden-Soto, 28, of Modesto. “We like wine and we wanted to go somewhere gay friendly, where we wouldn’t have to worry and people wouldn’t care. Then I heard about the resolution and thought it might be a bad idea.”

We gays can’t go to Napa, San Diego, Los Angeles, anyplace inland, or even Sacramento without being beaten up because of who we are. We can’t have fairy tale weddings at Disneyland and can’t honeymoon at the Madonna Inn. We can’t even get Domestic Partnered at a courthouse – we have to go to a photocopier in the Glendale Galleria.

You say that you want to get California’s economy going – well, I wish you would do something about it. When government interferes in the people’s personal lives, the economy suffers. You have no business telling us who is – and is not – worthy of marriage. So stop it!

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Republicans are not acting republican

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I voted Tuesday in my last election as a registered Republican. It is sad for me to resign my membership in the Republican party, but the party has strayed too far from a principle that individuals are empowered to make individual decisions.

In particular, as a gay dad, I was lucky enough to find somebody who I like and love, and who loves me in return. We finally won the freedom to make the intimate decision to commit to marriage. But the Republicans, with you as the exception, continue to fight to take that away.

Your party platform glibly informs that “it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman” and “we oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.” – teachings that are designed deny me my freedom to choose who I marry and make individual decisions about how I live my life.

A moral compass that lets one claim individual freedom, yet ostracize ones neighbors is neither American nor Christian, and I want no part of it.

I urge you, for the future of the Republican party, to help the GOP and California State Republican Assembly overcome their hatred and bias in order to open the tent to all individuals who want to make California a better place.

Sadly,

Today’s letter – tests of faith

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I read today about a mission sponsored by Soulforce, the National Black Justice Coalition, The Metropolitan Community Church and COLAGE that will be traveling to six influential mega-churches between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in order to challenge anti-gay messages in places of worship.

The sponsors have asked the six mega-churches to welcome Outing’s gay and gay-friendly families for meals, conversation and worship. Will they be welcome by the new crop of ministers who are not as anti-gay as Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Rev. D. James Kennedy? Or will they be turned away like the angels were from Sodom and Gomorrah, or same-sex couples were when you vetoed AB 43 the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act?

It is truly pathetic that lesbian and gay citizens of California are more welcome by their churches than they are by their government.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Jesse Kern and Mother Sally

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

After I heard Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern’s attack on lesbian and gay people – the one where she said they were “worse than terrorists” and “a cancer” that had to be eliminated – I was only disappointed to learn that her adult son Jesse, although currently “celibate,” was quite inarguably gay.

Unfortunately, poor Jesse Kern was not the Michael Stipe or Dan Savage kind of open and proud kind of gay, but the evil back-closet Ted Haggart / Larry Craig kind of gay, based on reports that he was twice cited for making inappropriate advances to other men in the library toilets at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Parents in this situation tend to go either way: they can go the way of Mary Cheney, Cher and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to embrace their children by creating a world where they can live and be happy, or they can go the way of Sally Kern, Sonny Bono and Pete Knight, removing the options of marriage and family leaving only “celibacy” or suicide.

Which one do you think winds up being best for the parents, kids and society?

I wish you would tell the people of this state that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage, because it will take somebody like you to undo the damage that Sally Kern has done to us all, parents and kids alike.

Yours,

Today’s letter – short slippery slope

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Just to be clear, polygamist men are allowed to marry and file joint taxes, although only with one wife at a time. Right?

Why do polygamists have more rights than I do as a committed man in a domestic partnership relationship?

Yours,

Today’s letter – Times have Changed, Love has Not

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Actor Heath Ledger died today in his Manhattan apartment. He will always be remembered for his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain – a man married to a woman but in love with a man. Not “one night in Bangkok” Larry Craig kind of sex-on-the-side kind of love, but devoted, loyal Jane Austen kind of love. You cannot see that movie and think that Ennis and Jack were less than soul mates, and deserved anything less than a life together.

Back then, society didn’t accept anything but man-on-woman relationships, and used both violence and government to keep that power structure intact. Children born out of wedlock were shunned; women without husbands were shameful and powerless.

Nowadays, Mr. Ledger’s own child was born out of wedlock, and women without husbands are considered powerful and shrewd. Oprah Winfrey could never exist in 1963 Wyoming.

Governor, if “Love Is A Force Of Nature,” you are obliged to set it free. Please support the freedom for all committed couples to choose the commitment of marriage.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Are Americans entitled to discriminate?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve been having an online debate with YouTube user “shifty567” about entitlement, exclusion and society, and we need your help to settle it.

Shifty567 says “Certain and defined expectations are necessary to help hold a society together. People define marriage as between a man and a [woman]. That is not an oppression of your rights, but a difference of opinion and definition. The problem is that you are using the idea of freedom to justify your desire for something that you think you are entitled to, but you are not entitled to redefine beliefs.”

I say “Families get married, businesses get married; there is no “man on woman” definition of marriage. I’m not blocked from marriage because of a “definition,” but only because of my gender. Asking to be treated fairly is not entitlement, it is asking to be free from restrictions because of race, religion and gender. And I like to think Americans still believe in freedom.”

So which is it, Governor? Is my special exclusion from marriage necessary to hold society together, or is my exclusion from marriage an aberration in the American principle of “all men are created equal?”

My future rests with your opinion on this matter.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Chinese are vilified, but not vile

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer David Pierson wrote a wonderful article about the “secret tunnels” in Fresno’s Chinatown in their November 26 edition. According to urban legend, the tunnels were created so the residents could crawl around without ever seeing daylight and people from the white side of the tracks could reach Chinatown speak-easies undetected. According to historians, though, the tunnels were actually fabricated by xenophobes in order to make the Chinese people seem less than human.

Phil Choy, past president of the Chinese Historical Society of America, explained that “The 19th century was an extremely racist climate. There had always been an attempt to remove the Chinese. You had this population of undesirables. The more mysterious they make us, the better.”

I believe the historians have this one right. As a Californian relegated to a Domestic Partnership, I have seen firsthand how the Opponents of Equality use rumors and outright lies to push my community’s relationships underground and demonize us as people.

The damage imposed on same-sex families isn’t quite as bad as the atrocities performed against Chinese-Americans, but it is the same devious twist of logic that turns one group of people into cockroaches by creating a mysterious network of tunnels, that turns another group of people into sexual deviants by creating a strange ‘alternative’ to marriage.

I am very upset at you, Governor, for supporting the lies and rumors that are used to put people down, instead of supporting the freedom to marry that would bring them up.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Don’t make me vote for Obama

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I try to pay more attention to my family than to politics, but once in a while a politician says something that makes a lot of sense.

Senator Barack Obama said “I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I … will continue to fight … to ensure that America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division.”

What a great and non-partisan concept, this ‘tolerance’ thing! I wish you would join the Senator by saying “no” to the intolerant gay-haters who made you veto AB 43, and say “yes” to the simple, unifying principle of the freedom to marry.

Yours,