Today’s letter – Senator Ted Stevens, RIP

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I just heard that former Republican Senator Ted Stevens died today in a plane crash. I hope you get a moment to remember the achievements of this long-time politician.

  • He had a zero rating with the Human Rights Campaign.
  • He voted against adding sexual orientation to the definition of “hate crime” in 2001.
  • He opposed the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA).
  • He voted in favor of the hateful “Federal Marriage Act” in both 2004 and 2006.
  • He opposed the Mathew Sheppard act.
  • He had a 14% rating on supporting minorities through affirmative action.

It seems that the Big Tent party got a little smaller today.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – you can prevent Perry vs. Schwarzenegger bashings

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

As a gay man in California, I am terrified of what will happen when the court issues its decision in Perry vs. you. I have a house, family, and two small children to protect, and tensions are running high. Regardless of what Judge Walker determines, when he announces his ruling, there will be some who lash out against their neighbors with physical violence.

It has already started. In response to the uptick in gay bashings this spring, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck explained that “the LAPD often notices a spike in gay-related hate crimes whenever Proposition 8 news makes major headlines.”

I have no doubt that those who would deny me my right to marry will not think twice about punching me in the face, running me down with their car, or setting my house on fire.

Governor Schwarzenegger, since you started this with your veto of AB 43, your neutral stance on Proposition 8, and tacit support of the hateful language in the Republican Party Platform, will you speak out now to help deflate this tension, and possibly save lives?

I wish you would voice your support of lesbian and gay Californians and their right to equal treatment under the law, and denounce those who deny freedom to others, especially the Opponents of Equality who operate through both quiet intimidation and overt physical violence.

Today’s letter – let’s address the actual issues in the 2010 race for California Governor

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The race for Governor is heating up. I wish one side or the other could be trusted to actually end the gridlock in Sacramento, but that hasn’t happened.

I presume that you want a Republican to win. But with the way that the Democrats are positioning themselves, it looks like it might come down to an equality-vs-apartheid competition just like Proposition 8, and I predict that will open the door for a pro-marriage Governor to take your place.

Governor, as we learned from the 1983 film “War Games,” the only way to win this game is not to play it. The only way to disarm the Democrats on the issue of same-sex marriage is to agree that Prop 8 was a bad idea and work towards marriage equality in this state and country as fast as we can.

I hope you choose to join this fight rather than just watch it play out.

Sincerely,

Letter to GOP Chairman Michael Steele – prove it or apologize

Chairman Michael Steele
Republican National Committee
310 First Street
Washington, D. C. 20003

May 19, 2009

Dear Mr. Steele:

On May 16th you told the Georgia State Republican Convention that gay marriage costs small businesses more money than it makes them, because gay marriage laws force them to spend more on health care and other benefits for their gay-married employees than for their gay-unmarried employees.

As a small business owner and a gay dad, I know the facts, and I know that you are lying. I would like to respectfully ask you to prove what you are saying, or apologize for saying it.

You argued “Now all of a sudden I’ve got someone who wasn’t a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for, So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.”

Any small business owner will tell you that we are exempted from state policies that require us to pay different benefits to our married employees than our unmarried employees. In exchange for not discriminating on the basis of marital status, we are protected from having to pay more for married employees than unmarried employees.

Moreover, gay marriage in my state means that I get more business from marriages being performed here, and I have a larger pool of qualified workers to choose from. Massachusetts discovered that five years of same-sex marriage has attracted highly-skilled workers and produced an economic boost of over $110 million – and unlike your assertion, there are real studies that support that.

If you really were concerned about the supposed cost of married employees, you would ban all benefits for married employees, yet you single out the gays to specially deprive them of these benefits.

I am disappointed that you would choose to break the ninth commandment in order to argue that Republicans take a bigger role in the most intimate individual decisions; that my Government should decide who should get married instead my Church; or that fiscal stability depends on whether or not I can get married. And as we saw in the firing of Arabic Linguist Dan Choi because of his sexual orientation, your arguments about the awful gays don’t help national security either.

As a gay dad, I’ve seen your kind of bankrupt arguments before. They are designed to marginalize and dehumanize your neighbors as you advance a moral position at the expense of individual freedom.

Abraham Lincoln pointed out that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” Jesus said “treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated.” Would you like it if there was a law preventing you and the person that you love from getting married? If so, then I am happy to step aside, but if not, then you are obliged to grant me at least the same freedom that you enjoy.

I know from the Oreo incident that you are in the habit of speculating without proof. I know from your talk radio record your opinion about Civil Unions. I read about your call today for Republicans to stop apologizing. Well, here is your opportunity to answer that call and redeem yourself: prove how my marriage costs anybody anything.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Jack Kemp lived and died by the same sword

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I was saddened to hear of Jack Kemp’s death over the weekend. This nine-term Congressman from New York said the usual vile things about gay people that Republicans have been known for, but what differentiated Mr. Kemp was how rumors of his sexual preferences (dalliances would be a better word) were used by his political allies to suppress him.

As background, Mr. Kemp had some logical quirks that made him endearing. He advocated mandatory testing for Americans infected with HIV (which obviously wouldn’t be known without an HIV test, you see.) He also famously stated “I believe in civil liberties for homosexuals, … I guess I’d have to say I’d draw the line at letting them teach in the schools.”

But perhaps the greatest Catch 22 arose when he tried to run for the 1988 Republican Presidential nomination and again in 1996 when he was Bob Dole’s running mate. Every time he tried to gain a foothold in the Republican party, rumors swirled that he was gay. From an indirect and unfair link to a “homosexual ring” within the Reagan circle, to ownership of a gay ski lodge that was completely unknown to Kemp, no weapon was spared to incriminate Mr. Kemp. The rumors worked all the way up to NBC’s “Today” show which spent much time dwelling on the ‘suspicions’ and never properly vindicated him.

Governor, as you face a political future beyond the Governor’s office, I would urge you to begin lopping off the Opponents of Equality as rapidly as possible. History has shown that gay marriage is not an issue of faith but a lever for power, and as long as that weapon exists, it will surely be aimed at you.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – GOP goes Gay

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I just wanted to make sure that you noticed Meghan McCain’s memo to the GOP, “Go Gay.” In it, she blames her father’s recent loss to President Obama squarely on the Republican Party’s use of anti-gay rhetoric to whip up the base. She reminds us that the most popular Republican of all time, Ronald Reagan, supported homosexuals during the 1978 Briggs attack, and argues that if the Republican Party ever wants to see that kind of popularity again, it needs to do things like Lincoln and Reagan, not like Anita Bryant and G. W. Bush.

Ms. McCain spells it out:

If you think certain rights should not apply to certain people, then you are saying those people are not equal. People may always have a difference of opinion on certain lifestyles, but championing a position that wants to treat people unequally isn’t just un-Republican. At its fundamental core, it’s un-American.

So, Governor, are you going to take up Ms. McCain’s challenge by coming forward and playing an instrumental role in securing gay rights like Gavin Newsom, or are you going to sit on the sidelines like George Wallace until the courts decide for you? I wish you would take Ms. McCain’s advice and save the Republicans.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – California’s history, usurped

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today is an historic day. It marks the first time that a state has eliminated a ban on same-sex marriage without being compelled to do so by the courts.

But in keeping with other traditions, it was a Republican governor who vetoed the legislation.

I would like to ask you for an explanation of what you were honestly thinking when you chose to oppose equality, something that I can tell my kids to explain why well-intentioned people seem to do cruel things. Maybe you could ask Governor Douglas for some help. Why would an American deny freedom to another; why would a Republican meddle in individual personal relationships; why would a Christian go against the teachings of his Church, and treat others as he would not like to be treated himself?

It’s the little things like this that remind us which party stands for getting government out of people’s lives, lower taxes and family values, and which party is – still – opposed to equality.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – those who oppose equality are unfit for office

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today is an historic day. It marks the first time that a state has eliminated a ban on same-sex marriage without being compelled to do so by the courts.

But in keeping with other traditions, it was a Republican governor who vetoed the legislation along the way.

I would like an explanation of what you were honestly thinking when you chose to oppose equality, something that I can tell my kids to explain why well-intentioned people seem to do cruel things. Maybe you could ask Governor Douglas for some help. Why would an American deny freedom to another; why would a Republican meddle in individual personal relationships; why would a Christian go against the teachings of his Church, and treat others as he would not like to be treated himself?

It’s the little things like this that remind us which party stands for getting government out of people’s lives, lower taxes and family values, and which party is – still – opposed to equality.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – the cream of the crop

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A comprehensive survey of Gay America was released today, with important implications to California.

The researchers at Hunter College, Rutgers and New York University confirmed that gay Americans are considerably more involved in public life than heterosexual Americans, by volunteering more, writing more letters to newspapers and political officials, attending more protests and rallies, and being roughly twice as likely to vote.

Older generation homosexuals prioritized laws against bias crimes and workplace discrimination, and emphasized “freedom from discrimination,” while younger homosexuals placed access to marriage and adoption rights as their highest priorities, and valued “the freedom to live their lives” in similar fashion to heterosexual Americans.

Only about three percent of Americans older than 18 identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual, but the community is concentrated in states that provide them with rights and protections: one in three lives in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont or Washington.

One conclusion that you could make, Governor, is that if the proposed initiative to ban same-sex couples passes this November, California will lose some of its most active citizens as we migrate to places that are welcoming.

Another is that a Republican party that insists on banning freedoms like adoption and marriage will have difficulty attracting younger participants.

Finally, you might realize 3% of the population is not going to destroy marriage, while building and maintaining two systems of laws that depend on gender for just 3% of the population is not only morally offensive, but also expensive and short-sighted.

Yours,

Today’s letter – a humane and reasonable stance

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Syndicated columnist Deb Price, based in my home town of Detroit, Michigan, wrote in her most recent column that “California’s governor has taken a humane and reasonable stance on gay marriage. John McCain should pay attention.”

She points out that your statement “I will always be there to fight against that – because it should never happen” echoes another Republican, Ronald Reagan, who torpedoed the 1978 Briggs initiative that would have banned gay and gay-friendly teachers. Clearly, smart politicians like you and Mr. Reagan, choose to wisely unite rather than recklessly divide.

I wish you explain to your pal John McCain how welcoming California’s gay and lesbian families into marriage (and the Republican party) is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.

Yours,