Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –
The story of the Utah couple who took in their niece’s four children broke my heart. Gregg Valdez and his partner Mike Oberg offered their familiar home so the kids could stay at the same school and stay close to their mother while she was in rehab. But Gregg and Mike were unable to get married, hence they would be violating a state law that forbids unmarried couples from becoming foster or adoptive parents, and on Monday the children were ordered moved an hour away to live with their grandmother.
“We all came to the same conclusion — we didn’t want to get involved in a big court battle, and we wanted to keep the kids together,” Valdez explained. “I could have fought it, but I didn’t think it would be in the best interest of the kids. It’ll be hard at first, but I know they’ll be taken care of.”
Thank God California doesn’t ban “cohabitation,” but we’re almost as bad for forbidding marriage. As long as couples are “unmarried” they are going to be treated as less than equal. This one bad law – the one you could have ended with AB 43 – puts couples into uncharted legal territory anytime anything unusual happens. They face a “big court battle” over every little thing. It punishes committed couples just for being gay – and their kids suffer.
Only marriage guarantees access to a time-tested legal framework. Only marriage keeps what happened to Gregg and Mike and their four cousins from happening in our state, or to our kids.
I wish you would support the freedom to marry, especially when the alternative is letting hate and intolerance divide families.