Today’s letter – now they’re calling marriages “mutual commitments”

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Salt Lake City was not happy with the terms “civil union” or “domestic partnership” so they created a new term, “mutual commitment.”

The guidelines for receiving a “mutual commitment” license are the same as the previous “domestic partnership.” Both members must be over 18 and in some type of committed relationship in which they are responsible for one another’s welfare, including financial interdependence, and share a primary household in Salt Lake City.

In my book, no matter what you call it, “two people in a committed relationship with financial interdependence and the same bed” is “marriage.” How much time, energy and humanity have we squandered by trying to “protect marriage” just by changing its name?

Please, I wish you would end this ridiculous ‘naming game’ and support the freedom for all Californians to choose for themselves what they want to call their relationship.

Yours,

Today’s letter – New Jersey knows separate is never equal

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

New Jersey has had “civil unions” for a year now. A state commission was formed to find out how that was working out, and they released their report today.

The 12-member commission found that the law “creates a second-class status” for the 2,400 same-sex couples who have been unioned, and that the law is not fulfilling its mandate of providing same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals.

The commission wrote:

“The commission also heard testimony that the term ‘marriage,’ were it applied to the relationships of same-sex couples, would make a significant difference in providing equality to same-sex couples in New Jersey. Civil union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status.”

In addition, because civil unions are not open to heterosexuals, “The New Jersey Civil Union law automatically outs someone or anyone who gets civil unioned,” which is a breach of privacy.

Lynn Fontaine Newsome, president of the New Jersey State Bar Association, testified before the commission that “the legal work performed for these clients is double that which is performed for married couples to ensure that they are afforded equal rights,” raising the costs for poor and minority couples who most need the time-tested protection of marriage.

Governor, you know that the domestic apartheid that you have set up and advocated hurts the people of your state. New Jersey’s Governor Jon Corzine has said he would sign a marriage bill – what about you? I wish you would take action to make sure that all of California’s couples have the same freedom – the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – a bad apple

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I believe it is part of our Governor’s job is to see what happens in other states so the best can be brought to California and the worst left where it is.

Kentucky has turned out to be a pretty perilous place to be gay. Even after a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004, things were looking up when a phone message by Pat Boone could not save the anti-gay Governor Ernie Fletcher from getting booted out of office, and state universities started offering partner benefits to all their employees – not just the ones who are allowed to marry.

But a bad tree bears bad fruit: Kentucky’s state Senate passed a bill 30-5 late last month to bar state agencies, including public universities, from granting any benefits for the partners of their lesbian and gay employees.

University presidents from eight Universities including the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and University of Louisville opposed the bill because they say it hurts recruitment efforts for researchers and professors. “If you want to compete with the best universities and the best corporations, you need to be able to offer the same types of benefits they offer,” according University of Louisville spokesman John Drees.

You must know and understand the cost of discrimination, Governor. If our Senate had brought a bill to your desk to specially exclude some people from our society and our economy because of what they are or what they believe, I have no doubt you would veto that. So why do you stop short of supporting the freedom to marry?

Please, Governor, leave the rotten apples in Kentucky and bring us into the 21st century with the most basic freedom: the freedom to marry.

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 – Freedom Interrupted

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Tomorrow Oregon was set to allow same-sex couples to enter into a better-than-nothing civil union structure like California, New Hampshire, Vermont and some other states. More than 500 couples planned to take their vows on New Year’s Day.

Just two days ago, a federal judge overrode the state law, saying that the needs of these couples to make a commitment to each other should take a back seat to the bitter desire of a few to keep them apart. Now 528 couples are waiting in limbo while their relationships are put on trial.

Would you like it if your wedding was canceled with just three days notice, Governor? I’m guessing not. Please help swing the mood in California so that what happened in Oregon can’t happen here (again).

You don’t have to break the law to say that you believe committed couples should have the freedom to choose marriage. You just have to break your silence.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Uruguay has more freedom than America

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I used to get excited when a new country announced recognition of same-sex couples. For example, Uruguay is about to provide equivalent social security, pension, inheritance, and parenting rights to both heterosexual and homosexual couples through a “civil union” structure. I used to see it as a tipping point in the way people saw – and treated – their lesbian and gay brethren.

But with Civil Unions or marriage available throughout almost forty countries representing every continent except Antarctica, I’m starting to instead see it as a countdown until the United States is the last country on earth that fails to allow her lesbian and gay citizens to fully participate in the economy and community.

How can we say America is the “land of the free” when people in Uruguay get social security, pension, inheritance, and parenting rights, while my partner of ten years and I become legal strangers as soon as we step out of our home state? Uruguay!!!!!!

It is truly a global embarrassment that you, Governor, tolerate the negative and divisive bullying tactics that the Campaign for Children and Families (CCF) and other opponents of equality are using to carve out and marginalize an entire group of people based on who they happen to love.

Change begins at home. The next year will be pivotal in the fight between the opponents of equality and fair-minded Californians. I need you to do more than stay silent: please support the freedom to marry so the United States might someday join the world community in treating all of her citizens with dignity and respect.

Yours,

Today’s letter – In-laws are people too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m sorry to hear that your mother-in-law, Eunice Schriver, is in the hospital.

I wish I could have a mother-in-law. The woman who fills that role is just as vibrant, just as delightful and just as much of a person as Eunice – but because of the ban on gay marriage that you support, she can’t be my mother-in-law.

I wish the best for Eunice and your family during this difficult time, and encourage you to relish this relationship that only the special right of marriage can provide.

Yours,

Today’s letter – A good team at bat, but one bad player put us way behind on human rights

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I knew California was the first state to end the ban on interracial marriages (1948) and I always assumed we would continue to be leaders and proponents for all civil rights. Imagine my surprise when I discovered California didn’t add sexual orientation to its protected classes until ten years after Wisconsin (1982). We were also out-scored by Massachusetts (1989), Connecticut (1991) and Hawaii (1991).

Likewise with marriage equivalency, we were behind the ball. Even Hawaii had domestic partnerships before we did (1997) and Vermont scored in 2000, Our Domestic-Partnership-is-the-same-as-marriage law didn’t get to home base until 2005, five years too late.

On marriage, we were poised to take the lead when love went to bat in San Francisco in the spring of 2004, and when our legislature became the first to channel that human need from the people to the governor. But Massachusetts won the World Series of civil rights when they approved marriage and you struck us out – becoming not part of the first state to end the ban on same-sex marriage, but the first governor to unilaterally block the people’s freedom to marry.

I am embarrassed that you took away our victory then, and embarrassed that you refuse to stand on the side of freedom and equality now. Please stop telling your friends, colleagues and neighbors that their relationships – and their humanity – is less important than yours, and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Separating sex and marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I just want to get married like everybody else. I believe that those who are opposed to giving me that freedom are confused about what I would do with it. Some groups claim that gays want to get married so they can get “special rights” and others so we can molest children.

I know that you come from a background where bodybuilders are often called stupid and homosexual, and you have spent your whole career correcting those assumptions. You must know how frustrating it can be to know the truth, yet have people perpetuate lies.

Parents want to do what’s best for their children, but anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that blocking my marriage does not protect kids from their “celebrate” parish priest and that punishing me when I have done nothing wrong does not stop wicked Uncle Ernie. If parents really wanted to do the best thing for their kids, they would not let pedophiles hide behind the smokescreen of heterosexuality, and they would not teach their kids that stereotyping a disliked group is OK – be it bodybuilders or homosexuals.

I wish you would work with fair-minded Californians to dispel the myths about same-sex marriage and support the freedom to marry for me and for all Californians.

Yours,

Today’s letter – mail bag: “marriage doesn’t make love”

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m somebody who believes in old-fashioned letters, and the old-fashioned concept that people living together should be married. So today I want to share my response to a YouTuber who read (or rather watched) my July 27 letter to you about upgrading Domestic Partnerships to Marriage.

Dear SIGNAB43:

Its IMPOSSIBLE to love someone FOREVER! sooner or later your love for someone will deminish, its only after your love deminishes where true love can be formed. True love is sometihng like “no matter what happens, i will always love you” kinda like a mother and her kids. Its only after you lose your love for someone, then you can create true love. that will be the ultimate test

JUKIO01

Dear JUKIO01

Well, my “partner” and I have been together for ten years three months (yesterday). We liked and loved each other when we met, and we still like and love each other now. We had two kids through surrogacy in March. We made a commitment to each other and to God to stick together through the rough spots, and it worked to make our love even stronger. We did that without “marriage.” So all these hateful laws are not even effective – only hurtful, not just to us, but to the whole idea of “marriage.” Like you said, it’s true love that makes a family. We passed that test – can we get married now?

SIGNAB43

So, Governor, the kids are asking “why marriage.” Your veto of AB 43 combined with our example of true love out of wedlock shows the unfortunate side-effect of “defending marriage” by excluding people: like postal mail in the age of computers, if it is not necessary, it will go away. That would make traditionalists like me really sad.

I wish you had signed AB 43, but it’s not too late to save marriage by supporting the freedom to marry.

Yours,