Today’s letter – Hate is shrinking your base

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a voter of conscience, I don’t understand how anybody could pop a chad for a Republican. Last night’s slap at people of color piggybacked months of campaigns against Hispanic and Latino workers and years of attacks on lesbian and gay families.

Of these offenses, I don’t think any are as pronounced or as harmful to the GOP as their campaign against the freedom to marry. While African-American and LGBT voters are each roughly 7% of the voting population, 91% of LGBT voters cast ballots in the last presidential election. But those are direct votes.

When your party says – in your party platform – that my California Domestic Partner and I shouldn’t be allowed to get married because our genitals make us worse parents than Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, it alienates not only us, but also everybody who has ever met us. Currently, 75% of children are being raised in ‘non-nuclear’ families like ours – the kind you say are incapable of raising kids. 75% of families is a big base to permanently lose.

Just last week, former Republican congressman Jack Kemp told the Washington Post “What are we going to do — meet in a country club in the suburbs one day? If we’re going to be competitive with people of color, we’ve got to ask them for their vote.”

Think you’re above it all? Hardly. In 2004 you successfully lobbied the Attorney General to invalidate my marriage, in 2005 you vetoed AB 849 which would have let us wed, and now you’re on the verge of vetoing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.

All my California Registered Domestic Partner and I want to do is raise our kids with the simplicity and security of marriage. You and your party have worked your hardest to prevent that fairness and freedom. It is something that me, my family, my friends, my coworkers and my church are going to remember when they vote.

Let me once again ask you to give us some options at the polls: please sign AB 43 into law instead of vetoing your party further down the sewer.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – I’m writing because California needs AB 43

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve been writing to you every day since July 12 to ask you to sign AB 43 because I believe that if you heard the stories of Californians who are affected by this every day, you would find a way to sign it.

From giving hope to LGBT youth who just want to grow up and have a family, to gay parents raising kids, there is no substitute for marriage. I’ve told you the story of my Registered Domestic Partner and our newborn twins, and how badly we want the security and simplicity of marriage. But your heart is still on the side of the Opponents of Equality.

I don’t know what else I can do to get you to have the change of heart that you – and California – so desperately needs. So I will keep writing to you in the hope that some friend of yours finds these letters and makes you sit down to read them before it’s too late.

And as a friend, I have to tell you, once you have that change of heart, you will be brutally embarrassed that you ever stood in the way of freedom. For the sake of California, the Republican Party, same-sex couples or just my family, read about these issues and sign AB 43.

Your friend,

Today’s letter – inspiring leadership

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I love hearing “change of heart” stories.

Yesterday, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, a Republican like you, endorsed a resolution supporting the freedom to marry, reversing his previous position favoring Domestic Partnerships.

He said “For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community. As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night I could just not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage than anyone else simply because of their sexual orientation.”

It is so nice to hear Republicans making statements like this instead of statements like Larry Craig’s. And yours.

I wish you would ask your Attorney General for a new opinion on the legality of signing AB 43. I wish you would ask your Chief of Staff if she feels that her relationship is protected equally under the law. I wish you would meet with just one family that have had kids without access to the security of marriage. I wish you call Mayor Sanders (619-236-6330) to hear from his own mouth why he changed his decision.

Then I wish you would consider what is right and fair, and have a change of heart. I’ll forgive you for reversing your promise to veto this; I won’t forgive you – or the GOP – for ignoring my family over what seems like party politics without even the courtesy of listening.

Sincerely,

Attachment: Mayor Sanders’ statement

“With me this afternoon is my wife, Rana.

“I am here this afternoon to announce that I will sign the resolution that the City Council passed yesterday directing the City Attorney to file a brief in support of gay marriage.

“My plan, that has been reported publicly, was to veto the resolution, so I feel like I owe all San Diegans right now an explanation for this change of heart. During the campaign two years ago, I announced that I did not support gay marriage and instead supported civil unions and domestic partnerships.

“I have personally wrestled with that position ever since. My opinions on this issue has evolved significantly, as I think the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life have. In order to be consistent with the position I took during the mayoral election, I intended to veto the Council resolution. As late as yesterday afternoon, that was my position.

“The arrival of the resolution, to sign or veto, in my office late last night forced me to reflect and search my soul for the right thing to do. I have decided to lead with my heart, to do what I think is right, and to take a stand on behalf of equality and social justice. The right thing for me to do is to sign this resolution.

“For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community. As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night, I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage, than anyone else — simply because of their sexual orientation.

“A decision to veto this resolution would have been inconsistent with the values I have embraced over the past 30 years. I do believe that times have changed. And with changing time, and new life experiences, come different opinions. I think that’s natural, and certainly it is true in my case.

“Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative. Those beliefs, in my case, have since changed. The concept of a “separate but equal” institution is not something that I can support.

“I acknowledge that not all members of our community will agree or perhaps even understand my decision today. All I can offer them is that I am trying to do what I believe is right. I have close family members and friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. Those folks include my daughter Lisa, as well as members of my personal staff. I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones, for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back, someone with whom they can grow old together and share life’s experiences. And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I couldn’t look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships — their very lives — were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana. Thank you.”

Today’s letter – what will happen if you sign it?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am told that if you sign AB 43, same-sex couples still won’t be free to marry. They will have to wait for the State Supreme Court to approve their relationships.

In the meantime, the justices will have received a powerful message that the freedom to marry is the state’s political consensus.

Please, don’t veto my family. Sign AB 43 and ask the courts to join the people in bringing us the freedom to marry.

Many thanks,

Today’s letter – Extraordinary behavior in the People’s branch of government

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I don’t know if your realize how extraordinary it is for California to ask for same-sex couples to have the freedom to marry through the legislative branch of government.

From Hawaii to Iowa, state after state has ordered marriage equality through the judicial branch. Yet California’s legislature voted for marriage equality, was reelected by the people, and voted for it again.

Please don’t stand in the way of the People’s branch of government. Please sign AB 43 and let committed same-sex couples have the same access to the security of marriage that you and Maria enjoy.

Yours truly,

Today’s letter – Whose side are you on?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am writing to ask you to sign AB 43 and end the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California. Have a look at the groups that support and oppose AB 43 and the freedom to marry, and you decide which group you would trust with your health decisions and the safety of your children. It is time to let the health and social professionals do their job by signing AB 43.

Groups that support AB 43 and the freedom to marry:

the American Academy of Pediatrics,

American Psychiatric Association,
American Psychological Association,
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (District IX),
American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists,
American Psychoanalytic Association,
the National Association of Social Workers.
the NAACP California State Conference,
United Farm Workers,
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
Chinese for Affirmative Action,
California Teachers Association,
ACLU,
California Nurses Association,
Anti-Defamation League,
California National Organization for Women,
California Church Impact,
the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

AB 43 and the freedom to marry is opposed by:

the Campaign for California Families (CCF)
the Capitol Resource Institute

Who would you trust with your kids health and future? Who would you go to for relationship advice? Who is going to be out of business if you sign AB 43 and who is here to help? Whose platform is built on exclusion and whose on freedom?

Pragmatically,

Today’s letter – Consider your counsel before you consider a veto

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When you vetoed AB 849, the 2005 version of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, you said you “do not believe the Legislature can reverse an initiative approved by the people of California” on the advice of your Attorney General, Bill Lockyer.

I don’t know why this was relevant to AB 849. The bill would not have “reversed an initiative” but rather changed a 1977 law signed by your current Attorney General, Edmund “Jerry” Brown.

I am worried that your Attorney General’s office is biased against the freedom to marry. To defend the state’s position, the office wrote “the words ‘marry’ and ‘marriage’ have no essential significance under the California Constitution,” and that there are no differences between California’s registered domestic partners and married couples under state law.

If there are no differences, why does a different section of the Family Code apply to my family and yours? If there are no differences, why are they – and you – opposed to merging them through AB 43? The fact is that same-sex couples have been carved out for special denial of the basic security of marriage that everybody else – including you and your Attorney General – so blithely enjoy, because of a law that your Attorney General signed!

The lesbian and gay communities have joined with the religious communities to ask for the freedom to marry as they choose, while your Attorney General’s office is siding with the Opponents of Equality to defend a bad law from 1977 by mischaracterizing it as a voter initiative.

It is offensive to my sense of justice to have the Attorney General working harder for your personal protection than for the people of this state. Please sign AB 43 so we can get the Attorney General out of the business of deciding who should – and should not – have the freedom to marry.

Sincerely,

Letter to Senator Jack Scott – thank you and please talk to your colleagues

Senator Jack Scott
State Capitol
Room 2082
Sacramento, CA 94248-0001

Dear Senator Scott –

Like you, I’m a parent and a taxpayer in California, and I believe that all California couples deserve the freedom to be married.

The Senate is shortly going to consider AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. I know that you support this bill, but I’m writing to you as your constituent to thank you for your support and ask you to get your colleagues to support it as well.

The Governor has said that he will veto this bill. Because this issue is so important to me and my family, I have been writing a letter to him every day since July 12 to ask him to sign it instead.

I have enclosed a couple of my favorite letters, but they are all posted on my Web site, http://signab43.blogspot.com. Could you please talk to your colleagues about this and ask them to read some of my letters?

Freedom is an issue that spans party lines, and this bill will not only provide our same-sex couples the freedom to marry, it will also let the Churches that support them to perform the ceremony. The California Legislature and Jerry Brown changed the law to exclude lesbian and gay families in 1977; the legislature and Arnold Schwarzenegger can reverse it in 2007.

If you can think of anything I can do to help you advance this issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Many thanks,

Letter to First Lady Maria Shriver – help us get the freedom to marry

Dear Maria Shriver –

Like you, I am a busy Californian. I see no less than eleven worthy projects on your Web site. I was wondering if you could join me in just one more: bringing the freedom to marry to all Californians?

The California Legislature changed the law to exclude lesbian and gay families in 1977, and Governor Jerry Brown signed it. Since then these families have struggled against the stigma that law has put on them, and have overcoming with such milestones as the domestic partnership legislation that your husband brought into law.

Domestic Partnership doesn’t provide the same security of marriage, though, which is why I believe that California would be better for kids and parents if these couples can get married just like everybody else.

Here is where you can help. I have written to your husband every day since July 12 to ask him to sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. This simple bill reverses the law that Jerry Brown signed without touching the Proposition 22 language, and it gives the many Churches that believe same-sex couples deserve marriage the freedom to perform the ceremony. Although I have written many times, I have only received two form letters in reply. I’m pretty sure that messages from me and people like me are not making their way to the Governor.

I have enclosed a couple of my favorite letters, but they are all posted on my Web site, http://signab43.blogspot.com. Could you please talk to your husband about this and ask him to read some of my letters as he considers his actions on AB 43?

Many thanks,

Today’s letter – Religious Freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m writing today to ask you to consider Californian’s religious freedom when AB 43, the 2007 “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act” reaches your desk.

Congregations like St. Monica’s Catholic Church – where you go – should be able to exclude same-sex couples from the marriages they solemnize.

However, congregations like The Westwood Hills Congregational Church – right up the road – should also be able to exercise their beliefs and perform same-sex marriages.

California same-sex couples already have all the legal rights of marriage – why are you standing in the way of their religious right to marriage?

Yours,