Today’s letter – the final step

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today was a historic day. For the first time, a sitting Republican Governor chose the part of the party platform that says “We support the two-parent family as the best environment for raising children” instead of the puzzling conclusion that “it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.” And you did it with all the style and humor that we expect from you.

The Sacramento Bee reported that you even called the initiative “a waste of time” and quipping “I think we need a constitutional amendment so that foreign born citizens can run for President, but not about gay marriage.”

I know it took a lot for you to break your policy of not commenting on an initiative that has not even qualified. Thank you for listening to the people, and taking this giant historic step towards bringing California’s same-sex couples one step closer to full participation in our economy and society.

Yours,

Today’s letter – not the government, and certainly not the Governor

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When I was at the Valentine’s Day demonstration last Thursday, holding two adorable kids, I got a lot of questions. One was “what does marriage mean to you?”

I told them what I will tell you: “Marriage is a time-tested legal and social structure uniting two families. The only person who should be making the choice of who to marry is me. Not the government, and certainly not the Governor.”

Governor, giving the people the freedom to choose who they marry would make marriages stronger and last longer, don’t you think? It is time to stop protecting marriage, and start improving it.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Choosing to libertate or to obliberate

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As an American and as a parent, I believe government should not interfere with individual choices. My personal beliefs are echoed in the California Republican Party Platform, which says:

“As Republicans, we believe the home should remain the central place for individual decision-making, and issues impacting the family should not be handed over to intrusive government bureaucrats. … [P]arents are most capable of making decisions for and about their children … the CRP opposes any effort to weaken parents’ freedom of decision and choice.”

Imagine my surprise when I found a list of lawmakers – Republicans all – who have taken a different vow, by supporting the Protect Marriage campaign “in defense of marriage.” This heartless master says:

“We oppose granting to homosexuals special privileges, including marriage, domestic partnership benefits, and child custody or adoption.”

As a homosexual American and proud parent, let me be clear: such an initiative does not just merely subvert my individual decision-making, but sets out to deliberately destroy my family outright.

You know these people, Governor. They are your colleagues and friends. Yet they have compromised their party and their conscience to pursue a path which is reprehensible. I don’t want you to ask them to abandon their beliefs: I want you to ask them to choose which belief they really support: their belief that gay people should be excluded from our economy and society, or that all individuals should have the same freedom of personal choice, especially in who they marry.

Yours,

ATTACHMENT: lawmakers who endorse the “protect marriage” campaign

ProtectMarriage.com Coalition Endorsements

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

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

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I wanted to write to you to note the passing of former Wisconsin Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfus who died Wednesday at his home near Milwaukee at the age of 81.

Wisconsin’s 40th governor and a devout Republican, he is most famous for signing the first statewide gay rights law in the United States back in 1982, making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

At the time he signed the law, Dreyfus declared, “It is a fundamental tenet of the Republican Party that government ought not to intrude in the private lives of individuals where no state purpose is served, and there is nothing more private or intimate than who you live with and who you love.”

Governor Schwarzenegger, I wish more of our governors would show just half of Governor Dreyfus’ wisdom and support free choice in marriage.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Stories from the Trenches

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Here is a little story from a May 2006 meeting of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County that shows a sampling of what’s going on “in the trenches” of the GOP.

Author Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson was the speaker for the evening. He explained that more black Americans would enter into marriages if there were a constitutional amendment redefining it as between only one man and one woman.

A member of the audience stood up to ask why, if marriage creates stability in society and is good for children, that a whole group of Americans should be denied the opportunity to marry. The Reverend responded by explaining that Christian beliefs are very important to black Americans and capped it off with a quote from Leviticus.

Another audience member then stood up and asked if the Reverend supported slavery, since, after all, it is in the Bible, too.

The Chairman of the meeting interrupted the discourse to call for tolerance from party members, a call that was honored by the objectors but not by Reverend Peterson, who continued to fabricate reasons for excluding lesbian and gay Americans from the party and from society.

You wonder why Republicans can’t get elected in this state – well look no further than your local chapter meetings, where tolerance of hatred alienates any voter of conscience.

You could change this, Governor, by telling your party that whatever they think of gay marriage, “freedom” means that all Californians should have the freedom to choose who they marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – not all Republicans hate gay people

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I started out writing this letter intending to point out that there were a lot of Republicans who would let me get married to my partner of ten years.

We all know about Vice President Dick Cheney saying ”freedom means freedom for everyone,” John McCain stating that “The constitutional amendment [banning gay marriage] strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans,” and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders who refused “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.”

But then the trail ran dry. With all of the Congressmen and Governors who trust their careers to lesbian and gay staffers; all who attend official ceremonies where gay couples are treated as married people; all who talk about compassion, freedom and the value of the family – with all those people, I would think there would be more than three that support the freedom to marry over the oppression of a minority’s basic human rights.

I guess the kind of people that truly believe “freedom means freedom for everyone” either don’t become Republicans, or conveniently forget about their personal convictions when they step onto the campaign trail.

I wish that you would remember why you became a Republican – “free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military” – and like Mr. Cheney, Mr. McCain and Mr. Sanders, let me get married.

Yours,

Today’s letter – What’s Wrong with San Francisco?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a Californian who is proud of his state, I am embarrassed by what happened in Kentucky. In a last-ditch effort to get their candidate re-elected, The Republican Party paid Pat Boone to record a warning that if the Democrat nominee is elected Governor, the state will become an awful place, “like San Francisco.”

Of course, Kentucky could be so lucky as to have the thriving economy, tourism and world-class reputation of San Francisco, but Ernie Fletcher’s reelection campaign makes it sound otherwise.

In the recorded message, sent to registered Republicans by telephone, Mr. Boone explains that “Ernie Fletcher is a typical Kentuckian, he’s worked long and hard for the state, its people, and its traditions … and now he faces a man who wants his job who has consistently supported every homosexual cause: same-sex marriage, gay adoption, special rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual, even transgender individuals. … you [don’t] want a governor who’d like Kentucky to be like another San Francisco. Please reelect Ernie Fletcher.”

I don’t know why, in 2007, people still seem to think that personal liberty is a bad thing, or that equal rights are special rights, but San Francisco deserves better.

As a fellow Governor and Republican, could you have a chat with Ernie Fletcher? Maybe you could explain if he didn’t bash minorities and focused on what he could do for the people instead of against the people, he would not have lost by a landslide. In contrast, Ernie’s apparent nemesis, Mayor Gavin Newsom, even survived a major scandal and was reelected.

Perhaps the next time your Republican Party consultants want you to go negative on the homosexuals, you might remind them of what happens when people go anti-gay. We wouldn’t want San Francisco to become a Kentucky.

Faithfully Yours,

Today’s letter – Republcan Party has a proud history but a tarnished present

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

It’s Elephant in the Room week. Today I would like to talk about how the Republican Party’s broke with its historic support of freedom in order to restrict the freedom to marry.

On last night’s Brothers and Sisters, “Robert McCallister,” Rob Lowe’s character who is running for President as a Republican, was under fire because his fiancée isn’t as far right as some Republicans would like. He responded by reminding us that Lincoln freed the slaves, Teddy Roosevelt established national parks, and Eisenhower desegregated schools – Republicans all.

So it was ironic that in 2004, George Bush chose the Roosevelt Room to call for a Constitutional Amendment blocking access to marriage. In his speech, President Bush argued that the marriages underway at the time in Massachusetts, San Francisco and New Mexico were “defiance of the law by local officials,” while the Defense of Marriage laws in 38 states represented the political consensus of the nation.

And so the spiritual leader of the Republican party made it clear that politics was more important than liberty, votes more important than equality, and political consensus more important than individual choice. What a change from the Republican party of the past!

Thank God that Congress had the wisdom to realize that these marriages by the people represented the true consensus of the people, and stopped the Defense of Marriage amendment.

I wish you, Governor, had the wisdom to realize that your veto of AB 43 was not only a disservice to families like mine, but also an insult to the tradition of the Party of Lincoln. Please consider supporting the freedom to marry in the future. The Elephant in the room demands it.

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.”