Today’s letter – when Athiests can marry but I can’t, it proves neither Mormons nor Papists own the word “marriage”

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

In California we seem to be stuck in a world with marriages for some couples and civil unions for others. This seems to be an accommodation to religious groups who somehow feel entitled to own the word “marriage” and define it for themselves.

But religion does not own the word marriage. When two atheists of opposite genders get married, by a judge in a courthouse, it is still legally called a marriage, not a civil union. The word “marriage” Is owned by the state, and as a citizen I demand to be able to use it.

Once Californians admit that everybody deserves the same rights regardless of their gender, religion and sexual orientation, the segregation between marriage and domestic partnerships becomes instantly absurd. California crossed that line in 1999.

Those who support a system that surrenders the word “marriage” to the Mormons and the Papists are as reprehensible as the apartheid they support.

Governor, I wish you would apologize for vetoing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act that would have legalized gay marriage through the legislature. I wish you would speak out against those who are stealing state property and using it for their own religious agenda. I wish you would make the GOP get rid of Michael Steele so Republicans can once again represent America’s promise of freedom and dignity, instead of some warped version of theocracy.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – what if we had to register our religion?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

If we had a government registry for religion, what would it look like?

It would obviously require people to be a certain age, and only register once. Would it require a race, a gender, or a certain belief? Obviously not. Would it only have a few checkboxes? That would be silly. Not even our voter registration forms restrict choice or demand a specific affiliation.

The state does run a registry for marriage. Would you lease explain why same-sex domestic partners are prevented from participating in that registry?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – instead of one law, now we have three

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision about the validity of Proposition 8 made my blood boil. Instead of having just one set of laws governing Californians, we now have three: one for heterosexual marriage, another for gay marriages performed during the Fall of 2008, and a third for Domestic Partnerships.

I hate Prop 8 and you should too – because it makes Government bigger and more intrusive into our daily lives, at great expense when we can ill afford it.

Governor, I wish you would apologize for vetoing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act that would have legalized gay marriage through the legislature. I wish you would apologize for letting Gavin Newsome and Antonio Villaraigosa stand alone at rally after rally opposing Prop 8. I wish you would make the GOP get rid of Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh so Republicans can be electable again.

I wish you were on the side of Faith, Family and Freedom, instead of quietly waiting out your term.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – hospitals will block gay parents and their children as long as marriage is unstandardized

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today’s New York Times tells the story of Lisa Pond, who collapsed on a cruise ship and was taken to the ER in Florida. Her Domestic Partner Janice Langbehn and their three adopted kids followed the ambulance. They were denied access to see Lisa for hours despite the fact that all the appropriate medical and legal forms were faxed to the hospital within 30 minutes. Lisa Pond died alone.

This family did everything that they were told to do: they had their lawyers provide partnership agreements, powers of attorney, wills and trusts. But they lacked the one thing that would have allowed Lisa Pound to see her three children and her life partner before she died: the dignity and documentation that only the time-tested legal structure of marriage can provide.

As a gay dad in California, I know how important family is in these kinds of situations. I do not sleep well at night knowing that this kind of family disaster will occur over and over again until every couple is able to access the same institution, full legal marriage.

My kids know I’m married, my parents know I’m married. My Church and congregation know that I’m married. In this kind of situation, the only thing that matters is if my Government considers that I’m married. Or can you assure me otherwise?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Nobody Wants Domestic Partnerships

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m curious to know why opposite-sex couples cannot get Domestic Partnerships in California until one or both is over age 62?

It seems to me that Family Code section 297 (b) (B) …” persons of opposite sexes may not constitute a domestic partnership unless one or both of the persons are over the age of 62” is in direct contradiction to several constitutional protected classes.

Is this because nobody has bothered to sue over this, or because nobody wants to get Domestic Partnered when they can get Married instead?

Sincerely,

Letter to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas – Fiscal Responsibility

Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

April 6, 2009

RE: Civil marriage bill S.115

Dear Governor Douglas,

I read in the Wall Street Journal that you have promised to veto the bill that would make same sex marriage legal in Vermont. The reason that you gave in the article, and your March 25 statement, was that lawmakers should focus on the economy instead of civil rights bills. I do not understand your hypocrisy.

Perhaps lawmakers are concerned about all of the Vermonters who have to go to New Hampshire to have their weddings. Or about the extra cost of maintaining two sets of laws. Perhaps it is prudent to eliminate tax loopholes that let civil union couples pay lower taxes than civil married couples, or avoid costly court battles over equality.

Whatever the reason, if you truly want lawmakers to focus on the economy, then the most expeditious thing to do would be to sign S. 115 into law. Otherwise all you are doing is wasting their time and yours by vetoing change that is inevitable.

I wish you would take the financially prudent, least obstructive and morally correct action and sign S. 115.

Sincerely,

Letter to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas – Civil Sameness

Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

April 2, 2009

RE: Civil marriage bill S.115

Dear Governor Douglas,

You have said that Vermont’s civil union law has extended the same state rights, responsibilities and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples.

I invite you to dissolve your marriage with Dorothy and replace it with a Civil Union.

If that is unappealing to you then I suggest that you “do unto others” and sign S. 115 to end marriage apartheid in Vermont.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – everybody loves a wedding

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

People are asking me, and probably still asking you, why the gays can’t just get Domestic Partnered instead of married.

As my fiancée and I prepare for our wedding next Tuesday, in terms of personal life milestones, it is not a Big Deal. We have already looked each other in the eyes and made our promises to each other. This license and ceremony doesn’t hold much meaning for us. It won’t change our legal rights, and it won’t change our relationship. So we’re getting married in the courthouse on the first day that we can.

But as somebody who has “jumped the broom” and domestic partnered, let me tell you that there is a world of difference in the way other people treat a marriage. A wedding is a Big Deal. Friends and family are getting upset that we hadn’t invited them; the in-laws are griping that we’re doing this in Orange County instead of closer to them; the rector at our church told us that she is upset that we aren’t allowing her to perform the ceremony; and my fiancée is out buying new tuxes and rings.

Nobody was this interested when we were getting Domestic Partnered. So when people ask you not to call it marriage, think back to your own wedding to Maria. Who would have come to a “domestic partnership?”

Whether people want to get married in the Central Library or a quiet courtroom, the Golden Rule still says “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Now, finally, you can do that.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “wedding heart.” They don’t make “civil union” heart stamps.

Today’s letter – a sad world without any marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

My sister-in-law lives in Germany. There, gay or straight, everybody gets “civil unions” in the eyes of the state. The churches are left to themselves to decide who they will marry in their ceremonies and bless with the word “marriage.”

I went to college in Canada. Whether gay or straight, there everybody gets “married” in the eyes of the state. The churches are left to themselves to decide who they will marry in their ceremonies and bless with the word “marriage.”

I live in the United States. Here, the government reserves marriage for heterosexual couples and “civil unions” for same-sex couples. The churches are prevented from deciding who they will marry in their ceremonies and blocked from blessing them as “marriage.”

Around the world, from Armenia to Uruguay, government after government is realizing that one way or another, marriage apartheid must end. Abraham Lincoln said “a house divided cannot stand” and we are unquestionably divided.

I wish we would follow Canada’s lead and let everybody get married instead of abolishing it. Marriage is the only time-tested social and legal framework that exists to unite two families – and I’ve always dreamed of getting married, not “civil unioned.”

But I predict that the way this pitched battle will play out in America will be much sadder. Instead of giving everybody the freedom to marry, we will eventually give nobody the freedom to marry.

The end result will be the same: the state will get out of the way of deciding if and who will marry, and leave that intimidate decision to the individuals involved. I will have no trouble finding a church to bless my union, but generations of Americans straight and gay will miss the opportunity to have their government bless their marriage as well.

Yours,

Today’s letter – my husband

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve been having problems figuring out how to refer to my spouse. A lot of people try to insist that I call him my “registered California Domestic Partner,” but that doesn’t seem right to me.

We have been living as a married couple for ten years, ten months and twelve days; we were officially married at the earliest opportunity, on Valentine’s Day in 2004; we had two kids almost fourteen months ago; this year we even filed joint taxes.

I think I have to refer to my spouse as “my husband.” Anything less would be disrespectful to him and to our relationship, and confusing to the people that don’t quite know what a “partnership” is.

We shouldn’t be making up new words to describe marriages – we should be using the words that society has already defined. I wish you and your administration would do more to help people like me use the right words to describe our relatives and relations. I wish you would explain to the people that blocking same-sex couples from getting married is bad for our economy and our society.

Yours,