Today’s letter – social security short of world-class

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That document raises the issue of social security and the responsibilities of the state in caring for its people.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

So the irony of being stuck in this silly limbo between marriage and singlehood is that, without marriage, my partner and I cannot pool our social security benefits from the state. Both of us have worked hard and contributed dutifully to this fund, Now, while we are compelled to contribute, we are banned from receiving, for the state considers us “legal strangers.”

This is bad for us and for our kids; it is not going to change until somebody like you stands up and leads the people to what is right. If you don’t, it will only get worse. And that is a travesty that goes beyond our national borders.


Today’s letter – United Nations calls for equal pay for equal work

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 23 part (2) says:

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

As a gay dad who is on my same-sex domestic partner’s health insurance, I can tell you that there is a wee discrepancy between my treatment and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If we were married, my health insurance premiums would be deducted pre-tax. Because your administration will not let us marry, my health insurance premiums are considered to be a taxable benefit.

That means my fiancée is making less take-home pay than his counterparts simply because of his gender. That’s unfair not just here in the USA, but throughout the world.

There is no substitute for marriage; I wish you would help your fellow Republicans and the people of this state understand that, so that we can all have the same freedom, the freedom to marry.


Today’s letter – Fair taxation is hard work

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When my same-sex domestic partner and I got Domestic Partnered, we had to reconstruct a sharing of our property like we would get automatically through marriage. We transferred our property into a joint trust, expecting Proposition 13 to keep our taxes frozen like it is supposed to do for families.

However, our county assessor saw things differently. Apparently because domestic partners are specially excluded from marriage, he believes they should also be specially excluded from the protections of Proposition 13. He quadrupled our property taxes.

I read today that this case has finally wound its way through the courts, and same-sex couples ARE protected by Proposition 13.

This is good news for us – we can start the paperwork today to get back some of the extra money we had to pay in taxes – but I really wish we didn’t have to take every little thing such as this to court when we could simply access the time-tested stability of marriage.

You could cut out a lot of waste in government and help families like mine reach our full potential if you would only support free choice in marriage. Please tell Californians that everybody deserves the freedom to marry.


Today’s letter – Changing Forms Costs Money so Reap what you Sow

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

I wrote to you in July to ask for your help in getting the EDD to change form DE1 to reference Domestic Partnerships on par with HUS/WIFE, and you were able to steer us to the right place to get that change rolling. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will. Thank you.

Today I am attaching a communication that I have started with the State Controller’s Office and the Los Angeles Treasurer and Tax Collector asking for accommodation of my same-sex domestic partnership on the cover letter for the form for “Excess Proceeds from Sale of Tax Defaulted Property.” This is just one example of the scores of forms that offensively violate the constitutional ban on discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. I need your help to make sure that the form gets fixed.

The letter should be revised to read “This includes California Registered Domestic Partners, husbands, wives and all joint tenants.”

At a time when you are trying to cut state agency’s budgets by 10% it seems to me that extending the freedom to marry to all committed couples would have been the fiscally conservative thing to do. But until I can get married, I would like to ask you to ask the State Controller to change these forms to conform with the Constitution and the need all of us has to have my government respect my basic dignity.

Thank you for your help,

Today’s letter – we thought you were different

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

We thought you were pro-business…

…But you vetoed a bill that would have brought our state $16 Billion of that.

We thought you were pro-religion…

…But then you vetoed a bill that would have let my church perform marriages that it believes in.

We thought you were pro-taxpayer…

…But you vetoed a bill that would have saved us $25 Million a year.

We thought you were pro-family…

…But then you vetoed mine.

We elected you to be different…You proved us wrong.

Yours, unfortunately,

Today’s letter – The Party of Lincoln should support freedom to marry

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

As a Republican, I believe all Californians deserve the freedom to marry.

We can’t focus on free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering taxes and strengthening the military when we have people preaching salvation through legislation and denying freedoms to get there. It always backfires and undermines the party.

Abraham Lincoln anticipated this when he said

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

California’s lesbian and gay couples have struggled and overcome the stigma of predatory stereotyping our party has wrongfully promulgated. They have built their families from love like everybody else. Our party shouldn’t be standing in the way of their freedom to marry.

Please sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, and give the freedom to others that we all so desperately deserve.


Today’s letter – Eight Domestic Partnership Laws or One Marriage Bill

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

My California Registered Domestic Partner and I are raising our two kids here in Los Angeles. There are currently nine bills moving through the legislature that will make my family’s life better. Five of them will make California a safer place for our children, and three of them are enhancements to California’s Domestic Partnership laws that you have so wonderfully supported. But only one of them will provide us with the respect, dignity and freedom that all Californians should enjoy.

SB 105 would simplify my state taxes so we can file them as easily as straight couples. SB 559 would fix my property value that was reassessed when we moved it into our family trust. AB 102 lets us change our family name like couples do when they get married.

But AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, would make those three laws and many others unnecessary by simply ending the legislature-imposed ban on same-sex marriage.

I don’t understand why your support for families like mine ends short of supporting marriage. California deserves to have one set of rules for everybody. Please sign AB 43 and end this parade of separate laws.


Today’s letter – gays can’t marry but straights can domestic partner

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Did you know that in California, same-sex couples cannot be married, but opposite-sex couples can be domestic partners?

Apparently by Federal law, if you are being paid your dead spouse’s Social Security and remarry, you lose your deceased partner’s benefits. Our domestic partnership law has a carve-out for straight people over the age of 62 so they can keep their former spouse’s social security benefits, yet enjoy survivorship, inheritance and hospital visitation with their new partner.

I think that stinks. I’ve been in a domestic partnership since 2000; I pay MORE than the same taxes, but I can’t get my partner’s Social Security at all. If I were in a heterosexual relationship, I would not only be able to get my husband’s benefits, but also defraud the government in my next relationship.

California should have one word for marriage: “marriage.” Please sign AB 43 and get rid of this nonsense.

Offended, but still yours,