Letter to Senator Jack Scott – thank you and please talk to your colleagues

Senator Jack Scott
State Capitol
Room 2082
Sacramento, CA 94248-0001

Dear Senator Scott –

Like you, I’m a parent and a taxpayer in California, and I believe that all California couples deserve the freedom to be married.

The Senate is shortly going to consider AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. I know that you support this bill, but I’m writing to you as your constituent to thank you for your support and ask you to get your colleagues to support it as well.

The Governor has said that he will veto this bill. Because this issue is so important to me and my family, I have been writing a letter to him every day since July 12 to ask him to sign it instead.

I have enclosed a couple of my favorite letters, but they are all posted on my Web site, http://signab43.blogspot.com. Could you please talk to your colleagues about this and ask them to read some of my letters?

Freedom is an issue that spans party lines, and this bill will not only provide our same-sex couples the freedom to marry, it will also let the Churches that support them to perform the ceremony. The California Legislature and Jerry Brown changed the law to exclude lesbian and gay families in 1977; the legislature and Arnold Schwarzenegger can reverse it in 2007.

If you can think of anything I can do to help you advance this issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Many thanks,

Today’s letter – Congratulations on the Budget

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I was glad to hear that you have a budget on your desk so soon. While you were busy cutting programs – including your own – to balance it, I found $40 million: just sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.

We will save $24 Million each year by closing access to means-tested public benefits. That means somebody who stays home with the kids won’t be able to collect food stamps while their “legal domestic partner” makes a six-figure salary. (The study was co-authored by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law and IGLSS.)

As a taxpayer, I would also enjoy the $16 Billion windfall in tourism and commerce that Forbes predicts.

The legislature installed the ban on same-sex marriage in 1977, and the legislature can remove it now. It will not harm one person and bring dignity to so many. And it will help our economy. Isn’t that what being a Republican is all about?

Yours,

Today’s letter – back from recess

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger [Sacramento Office] –

With the legislature back, you must be busy. Your Health Care program and legendary budget restraint are making national news. How will you move our government forward without reckless spending?

Please consider signing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. It fixes a mistake our legislature and Governor Jerry Brown made in 1977 when they redefined marriage, it will save California money, and it’s easy common ground: everybody believes in full equality for all Californians.

Who knows? It might get your other projects underway a little sooner.

Good luck,

Letter to John Kanaley – Truth in Advertising and Opposition to Equality

Dear Mr. Kanaley:

I know that you have a lot to worry about with your election on Tuesday but you seem to have been quite critical of your opponents support of AB 43, the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act” without apparently understanding what the bill is about. It would be quite sad if voters elected somebody who opposed their freedom based on incomplete information.

I found this statement about AB 43 on your stump page http://www.lbreport.com/ads/37cong/kan2.htm where you said:

“This past June California Assembly members voted to legalize homosexual marriage, completely and arrogantly ignoring the will of California voters who, in March of 2000, passed Prop. 22 with 61.4% of the vote. That initiative called for the state to recognize marriage as only being between one man and one woman. 101 of 120 legislative districts voted for this initiative.”

The truth is a little bit complicated, but so is being an effective legislator:

Proposition 22 did not call for the state to recognize marriage as only being between one man and one woman. Our Family Code already did that in Section 300, which was changed from “persons” to “man and woman” by the legislature in 1977 and signed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Proposition 22 was designed and sold to prevent California from recognizing gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions. That’s what the campaign was about, and that’s what the voters passed. It enhanced section 308 which says we recognize marriages from other states and countries, to limit that recognition to heterosexual marriages.

As a Republican, you ought to support full marriage equality in fact and in name, since it not only reduces duplicative laws and entitlement programs, but also gets government out of restricting our freedom.

If you had read AB 43 you would know that it doesn’t conflict with Proposition 22 one single bit. I think Californians deserve a candidate who reads laws before criticizing them at least as much as they deserve representatives who are not opposed to equality.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Jersey Polls and the California People

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

It looks like a veto of the 2007 Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (AB 43), would put you on the wrong side of the people too.

In a Zogby poll of New Jersey voters released yesterday, 63% said they would be fine with replacing civil unions with marriage, and 72% said there were more important reasons for keeping or replacing their lawmakers.

I don’t know what the numbers are for California, but I can’t imagine that the legislators who bring you AB 43 would have done it without checking the polls (unless they thought it was just the right thing to do. HA!)

I used to say sign AB 43 because it will lead the people toward equality, but it looks like the people are going there anyway. So please sign AB 43 to catch up!

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Lessons from Canada

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As you consider your position on AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, you might like to hear from some people I consider to be real leaders, in a situation very similar to yours.

Starting in 2003, Canada’s most senior leaders steadily argued for “marriage” before adopting a Federal law in 2005. Their comments were critical for taking the people from being sharply divided on the issue to becoming overwhelming supporters for total marriage equality.

If people want to do something and it doesn’t hurt other people, doesn’t reduce other people’s rights, we should let them do it. Why not?

– Canadian Defense Minister John McCallum, August 13, 2003

My responsibility as Prime Minister, my duty to Canada and to Canadians, is to defend the Charter in its entirety. Not to pick and choose the rights that our laws shall protect and those that are to be ignored. Not to decree those who shall be equal and those who shall not.

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

I’m a Catholic and I’m praying. But I am the prime minister of Canada …I’m acting as a person responsible for the nation. The problem of my religion – I deal with it in other circumstances.

– Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, August 13 2003

Many Canadians will want to accept both of these principles: protect the traditional definition of marriage and protect the rights of minorities…. We cannot have it both ways. We must make a choice between traditional marriage and the protection of minority rights.

– Canadian Minister of National Revenue John McCallum, March 21, 2005

[S]ome have counseled the government to extend to Gays and Lesbians the right to civil union. This would give same-sex couples many of the rights of a wedded couple, but their relationships would not legally be considered marriage. In other words, they would be equal, but not quite as equal as the rest of Canadians. …[S]eparate but equal is not equal.

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

Less than equal is less than adequate. To create another institution [such as civil unions] just contributes to the fact that we would tell those members of the gay and lesbian community that they are not entirely part of our society. Why wouldn’t they be part of marriage?

– Canadian Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, August 13, 2003

If a prime minister and a national government are willing to take away the rights of one group, what is to say they will stop at that? How can we as a nation of minorities ever hope, ever believe, ever trust that [the constitution] will be there to protect us tomorrow?

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

We won’t be appealing the recent decision on the definition of marriage. Rather, we’ll be proposing legislation that will protect the right of churches and religious organizations to sanctify marriage as they define it. At the same time, we will ensure that our legislation includes and legally recognizes the union of same-sex couples.”

– Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, June 16, 2003

We embrace freedom and equality in theory, Mr. Speaker. We must also embrace them in fact.

– Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, February 1, 2005

I hope you take these to heart and lead the people the right way. Please start by advocating AB 43 and showing, in fact, that you believe in equality.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Undefining Marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

From 1850 to 1977, California marriage law contained no reference to ‘man’ or ‘woman.’ AB 43, The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, simply would restore the common-sense language that was in our Family Code for 127 years: “Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two persons.”

I don’t know what made us redefine marriage in 1977, but government-imposed limits on personal freedom have no place in the 21st Century. Please sign AB 43 and get rid of this recent and arbitrary restriction.

Sincerely,

What is AB 43?

AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, is a bill that would bring us one step closer to ending the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California and providing freedom to churches who wish to perform the ceremonies.

The bill restores Sections 300 and 302 of the California Family Code to their pre-1977 language without touching Section 308.5 blocking foreign marriages that was installed by Proposition 22.

AB 43 is supported by more than 250 civil rights and professional groups, 46 of our 80 Assembly members and 22 of our 37 Senators.

The bill is on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk. He must sign or veto the bill before October 14, or it will pass into law on its own. If the bill becomes law, there will probably be an injunction pending the outcome of the marriage cases before the State Supreme Court.

He has vetoed a similar bill, AB 849, and has promised to veto this one too. His arguments have not changed: (1) the people voted for discrimination through Proposition 22 in 2000 and he cannot overturn the will of the people (2) the judiciary and the people need to work this out without the legislature (3) the bill is ineffective because of the pending cases in the Supreme Court.

I don’t believe these arguments hold up. Proposition 22 was about states rights and did nothing to change gay marriage in California. It was seven years ago and does not reflect the will of the voters that set up our Constitution and twice elected the legislature that passed AB 43. Finally, the bill may be ineffective at changing the law, however a signature will send a powerfully effective message about fairness.

The Governor has to know that his excuses are pretty lame. I guess he thinks a veto will win favor with his most active donors and the current crop of gay-haters in Washington, and by distracting people with Proposition 22 and “the will of the people” he can avoid doing what is right for the people in favor of what is right for himself.

It is embarrassing to have California come just a penstroke away from providing all their couples with the same rights. Overcoming prejudice was in California’s history, but now that mantle belongs to Massachusetts, Canada and Spain. It is horrible to have a Republican advocate higher taxes and additional government interference with individual lives. It is demeaning to have one person messing around with my family’s legal status to suit his political agenda.

I hope that I can change Governor Schwarzenegger’s mind, but even if I can only touch the minds and hearts of people who read my letters, I will have accomplished my goal.