Today’s letter – the people’s behavior reflects their leader

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I was reading “this day in history” and I believe that today’s events can teach us a lot about how to achieve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In 1978 Jim Jones’ cult committed mass suicide; in 1969 Kennedy’s Apollo 12 landed on the moon, and in 1863, Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address celebrating the end of the civil war and “a new birth of freedom.”

These three events would not have occurred without the participation of the people involved and the work of the leaders whose vision inspired them. Whether we are reaching for the stars, freedom for all, or something more sinister, the behavior of the people is simply a reflection of the leader.

If the people of California want to reward stable relationships with the stability of marriage, or if they want to punish lesbian and gay citizens by excluding them from matrimony, the choice is theirs. Which choice they make depends on the leader.

So my pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is in your hands, Governor. Are you going to play partisan politics with my relationship, or are you going to tell the people of California that freedom means freedom for everybody? History will not remember the people’s choice, but it could remember yours.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Equal Freedom is the only Equality

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A friend asked me why I say “freedom to marry” instead of “marriage equality.” I believe that the answer could help you be a better Governor, and maybe someday, Senator.

You see, when you talk to focus groups and they hear “equality” they think of the rights that married couples get and how gay people either don’t deserve the same rights or can get them other ways. But anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that people don’t choose marriage because of the rights – they choose it because they want to.

By instead talking about freedom, people realize that whatever they believe about the rights and responsibilities of marriage, people should have the freedom to choose it for themselves; whatever they believe the bible says about homosexual relationships, people should have the freedom to exercise their own religious beliefs; whatever you believe the law says about gay marriage, a higher law says you shouldn’t interfere with the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Equality talks about rights, but really the only right that matters is freedom. That you would deny some people equal rights is debatable; that you would deny them the freedom to make their own choices is reprehensible and anti-American.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Unlicensed to Wed

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Our nanny’s friend was pulled over for driving the wrong way on a one-way street, and her car was impounded for thirty days because she was an unlicensed driver. This seems like a good law, because it gets the people who are ten times as likely to be involved in an accident off of our roads. But it also punishes people who cannot get a license no matter how good a driver they are – specifically illegal immigrants.

Los Angeles and some other communities think this is so awful that they have stopped enforcing the law while the Legislature tries to come up with a fair solution. From the perspective of somebody on the road, giving a license to those with the skills to drive regardless of their citizenship does seem like a better idea than just taking their car.

My finance and I are blocked from getting a marriage license because we are a same-sex couple. Like illegal immigrants, we are not blocked because of our skill, but because of something outside of our control. Unlike illegal immigrants, we are citizens paying taxes and casting votes. From the perspective of somebody in a relationship, giving people a license to wed regardless of their gender does seem like a better idea than fabricating some elaborate untested “domestic partnership” structure to impound their relationship. .

San Francisco and some other communities think this punishment is so awful they have stopped enforcing the bad law and issued marriage licenses anyway, but you blocked them from continuing. The legislature even came up with a fair solution, but you vetoed it without even a reading.

Really, Governor, why do you tolerate it when places like Los Angeles evade the law punishing illegal immigrants, while you slam down with all your might at places like San Francisco who evade a law that is punishing your citizens and neighbors? I wish you would consider joining the people and the Legislature in supporting the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Most straights support gays

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am disappointed that you chose to veto AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, but I am not alone.

According to a new Harris Poll, seven out of 10 people said that in the face of verbal attacks they have spoken out for LGBT people.

When the 2,200 respondents were asked why, 6% said their religion forbade them, but 14% said that their religion demanded they speak out for lesbian and gay people under attack.

I am sad that you are one of the 30% that lack the integrity to do what is right. Your veto of AB 43 was not just a slap it my face, it was a kick in the belly of all the people that you are supposed to represent.

Apparently yours,

Today’s letter – courts should not make decisions for me

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

One of the reasons that you are using in your haste to veto of AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, is that you want the courts to decide whether I can get married in California.

In my civics class, I was taught that the courts aren’t supposed to make decisions – they are supposed to enforce them.

The people and the legislature have decided that same-sex couples need and deserve the freedom to marry. Please do your civic duty and implement this state’s political will by signing AB 43 and supporting the freedom to marry.

Thank you,

Today’s letter – The People cannot “vote to discriminate”

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a pragmatist, I don’t mind so much that you’re planning to veto AB 43 for political reasons; however I was sad to hear you say that discrimination is somehow acceptable because “the people voted for it.”

It is flat-out wrong to force people who would prefer to get married into Domestic Partnerships. You wouldn’t like to be treated that way, and neither do they.

The People thought this Golden principle was important enough to put in the Constitution, which predates and, I think we can agree, overrides Proposition 22. They voted away their right to separate and oppress minorities, and they put it to you to intervene and stop injustices.

So even if the people did indeed vote to discriminate, it is not OK for you to let them. The people elected you above all else to make sure that nothing interferes with the freedom of adults make choices for themselves. I wish you would do that, if not by signing AB 43, then by at least speaking out against this special mistreatment of your fellow citizens. That you would do neither, and blame it on the people, is reprehensible.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – You can spin it however you like

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve been following your political assent since you replaced Governor Davis, and I have no doubt that “Arnold Strong” can do whatever he wants to do regarding AB 43 and same-sex marriage in this state.

Here is what you told the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce on September 17:

“Whenever the people vote on something — in this case, Proposition 22 — then it ought to be the people that should have a choice to vote on it again and to change their mind. But it would be wrong for the people to vote for something, and for me to then overturn it. I don’t do that, I will not do it. And so they can send that bill down as many times as they want, I won’t do it.”

Now that’s a strong statement. So is this:

“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.”

That was San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders explaining his decision to support the freedom to marry this past Wednesday.

Everybody knows that you can spin this however you like. Whether you are overturning the supposed intent of mostly Republican voters seven years ago, or overturning the will of the people who elected the legislature knowing they would send you this bill, you are going to overturn the will of some people.

I wish you would support the people today instead of the Opponents of Equality and sign AB 43. That might take a change of heart, but it won’t take a change of your principle and promise to uphold the will of the people.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Big Brother or March for Freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I would much rather stay home tonight to watch Dustin and Amber lash out at Dick and Daniele on Big Brother 8, but instead I’m going to be down at your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with hundreds of other people wondering why you insist on blocking civil rights legislation that the people have brought to you for the second time.

AB 43 would let me marry the person that I love, just like everybody else. It would let my Church perform the ceremony. It would save the taxpayers $24 million a year, and it would send the message that California welcomes its diverse residents with dignity and freedom.

All it needs is your signature. Please sign AB 43 so I can watch the new season of Survivor: China without getting a babysitter, and not miss an episode of Ugly Betty to plead for something that anybody with the brains God gave geese knows is the right thing to do.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – reasons to hope

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I know that you’ll never sign AB 43, the bill that would let my family choose the safety and simplicity of marriage just like everybody else. But there are reasons that I can hope:

On one side, AB 43 was passed handily by a recently-elected legislature. It is supported by every major human rights group, most family professional groups and even a lot of religious groups. We have a new Attorney General who probably has a different opinion of conflicts with Proposition 22. And we have successful gay marriages in many other places.

On the other hand, Proposition 22 is seven years old and the Opponents of Equality haven’t had enough support to bring a new petition initiative to the voters. AB 43’s biggest supporter is the Republican party that most recently lost control of Congress with their “bomb and preach” politics.

You have expressed an interest in moving the GOP out of the morality battle. Here is your second opportunity. I wish you would choose the side of the people and sign AB 43.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – where we want to be

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The people, through their legislature, have asked you for a second time to sign AB 43 supporting the freedom to marry. I wish you would.

Whatever happens with marriage this year will face a petition initiative in 2008. Your support will help a critical number of people say no to discrimination at the polls.

Freedom to marry is important to me and my family. Please sign it AB 43 to put us in a better position in 2008.

Sincerely,