Today’s letter – Let the Punishment Fit the Crime

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As an American, I was taught that the freedom to express ones beliefs is fundamental to our society. But I was also taught that expression brings responsibility, and abuse brings consequences. Abraham Lincoln summed this up when he said “Those who deny freedom deserve it not for themselves.” This weekend, we got a real-life demonstration of what happens when people believe in denying freedom to others.

Episcopal Bishop John-David Schofield of San believes that gay people should be banned from performing sermons, confirmations and rites. He recently led his diocese away from the national church on this issue, to ally with an Anglican church based in Buenos Aires.

The Episcopal Church responded by, appropriately, banning him from performing sermons, confirmations and rites.

I wish you would stand up for freedom, Governor, by identifying the Republicans who want to block lesbian and gay couples from marriage, and proclaim that their marriages are annulled. It would be no more arbitrary than annulling my marriage, which you did in 2004, and certainly teach a better lesson about commitment than banning committed relationships.

As Lincoln realized, the consequence of “doing unto others” is to be “done unto.” Won’t you see to it that justice is done?

Yours,

ATTACHMENT: Public Officials who have endorsed a ban on my marriage

Public Officials to be Banned from Marriage

State Senators
Senator Dick Ackerman (R-Tustin) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Ackerman
Senator Sam Aanestad (R-Redding) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Aanestad
Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield ) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Ashburn
Senator James Battin, Jr. (R-La Quinta) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Battin
Senator John Campbell (R-Irvine) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Campbell
Senator Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Cox
Senator Jeff Denham (R-Merced) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Denham
Senator Bob Dutton (R-San Bernadino) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Dutton
Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R- El Cajon) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Hollingsworth
Senator Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Maldonado
Senator Bob Margett (R-Arcadia) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Margett
Senator Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/McClintock
Senator Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Morrow
Senator Charles Poochigian (R-Fresno) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Poochigian
Senator George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) – http://www.senate.ca.gov/Runner
Senator Mark Wyland (R-Carlsbad) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Wyland

Assembly Members
Assemblyman Greg Aghzarian (R-Stockton) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Aghazarian
Assemblyman John Benoit (R-Palm Desert) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Benoit
Assemblyman Russ Bogh (R-Yucaipa) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Bogh
Assemblyman Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Cogdill
Assemblyman Chuck Devore (R-Irvine) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/DeVore
Assemblyman Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Emmerson
Assemblyman Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Harman
Assemblyman Guy Houston (R-San Ramon) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Houston
Assemblyman Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Huff
Assemblyman Rick Keene (R-Chico) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Keene
Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa (R-Biggs) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/LaMalfa
Assemblyman Jay LaSuer (R-LaMesa) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/LaSuer
Assemblyman Bill Maze (R-Visalia) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Maze
Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy (R-Monrovia) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Mountjoy
Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi (R-Lodi) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Nakanishi
Assemblyman Roger Niello (R-Sacramento) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Niello
Assemblyman George Plescia (R-San Diego) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Plescia
Assemblywoman Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Runner
Assemblywoman Audra Strickland (R-Camarillo) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Strickland
Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Costa Mesa) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Tran
Assemblyman Michael Villines (R-Clovis) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Villines
Assemblywoman Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) – http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Walters

Today’s letter – How can I change the GOP Party Platform?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am a registered Republican who is trying to be the best husband and father that I can. There is a paragraph in the 2004 California GOP Party Platform that seems to meddle with my natural rights – specifically standing in the way of my life, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness. The paragraph starts out with a falsehood and continues with an assumption that, if truly embraced, would legislate my family out of existence. I don’t know how this got inserted into a policy document, but it needs to go.

From Page 6 of the California Republican Party Platform:

Recognizing the traditional model of monogamous heterosexual marriage as the only stable relationship upon which to build a society, we believe that homosexuality should not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in public education and policy. We oppose granting to homosexuals special privileges, including marriage, domestic partnership benefits, and child custody or adoption.

What can I do, as a citizen, to make sure this is removed from the 2008 California GOP Party Platform? Do I need to go to some meeting, lobby some party chairman, or make a really big donation?

I want my kids to grow up in a world where Government is not an obstacle to freedom, but a vehicle for it. I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Get Government out of our Living Rooms

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Anybody familiar with the syndicated cartoon The Lockhorns, the TV show “Married with Children,” the political travails of Larry Craig or the new film The Kite Runner knows there is a profound difference between sex and marriage.

Across all media, the message is the same: regardless of what happens in bedrooms, bathrooms and alleys, the partnership of marriage is a unique identifier for two people who are special to each other on a much higher level. Sex takes place in the bedroom; marriage happens in the living room.

There are people who say that gay couples are just taking their relationships into the living room. I believe that real relationships start in the living room. Whether they or I am right, Government should not be meddling in the intimate affairs of either room.

We got Government out of our bedrooms. It is time to get it out of our living rooms as well. Regardless of what you believe about same-sex relationships, I wish you would explain to the people and your fellow Republicans that a government that leaves the issue of sex to the individuals involved ought to leave the issue of marriage to individuals as well.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Republicans deserve their reputation

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A particular critical parody of Republicans has been floating around the Internet for a few years. It starts:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,
not a critic was stirring, for stirring was banned.
A thousand brown prisoners, snug in their cells,
all held without charges or tinsel or bells;

Did you ever wonder how Republicans, for all the wonderful things they do, get such a bad rap on personal freedom? Maybe it is because the GOP is the only party that believes gay people do not deserve the freedom to get married, get domestic partnered or even raise children. (Yes, Virginia, it’s right there in your party platform.)

When you can meddle with the most intimate thing in a man’s life – his private relationships – it scares anybody with a sense of justice. And it should. Republicans used to be about separating Government from individual people’s decisions. Now that is all upside-down.

I hope Santa brings you some common sense for Christmas, and you evolve to support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – nobody likes a bigot

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am a former Scout Leader, and I think that you should sign AB 43 and support the freedom to marry.

Membership in the Boy Scouts has declined 35% since 1977, while the Girl Scouts lost just 3% of their membership in the same period. The big difference? The Boy Scouts squandered their money and legacy with expensive court fights to win the right to discriminate, then they used that ‘right’ to throw out members who have minority religious beliefs and sexual orientations. Nobody wants their kids to grow up in an environment that teaches hate, and they vote with their feet.

California – and the GOP – is in a similar situation. They are fighting for the right to discriminate and using that ‘right’ to exclude families like mine from marriage. This probably pads their pocketbook with fat donations from hard-line bigots, but in the long run, companies and individuals will relocate to places where their lesbian and gay neighbors and friends have the freedom to commit to marriage.

Please sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, like the legislature and people have asked you, and stop California from teaching neighbors to hate.

Yours,

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 – The rebirth of the GOP begins with freedom to marry

As somebody who stopped voting for Republicans because of their moral hypocrisies, I was really refreshed by your statements at the State Party Convention.

You said that “If our party doesn’t address the needs of the people … the voters … will look elsewhere for their political affiliation.”

The legislature keeps asking you to support same-sex marriage, and they keep getting reelected. Perhaps you should sign AB 43 and show that the GOP listens to the needs of the people?

I would vote for that kind of GOP.

Sincerely,