Today’s letter – Sign SB 572 to Stop Teen Suicides

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a gay dad in California I have a vested interest in SB 572 Harvey Milk Day.

Since you vetoed it last year, four important things have changed. And it’s a mixed bag, but bear with me.

  • The California Supreme Court observed that homosexuals are a protected class in California, no different from every other group that has been systematically oppressed. And a narrow majority of voters have alleged otherwise.
  • Harvey Milk was the subject of an Academy Award winning movie.
  • Harvey Milk was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • About 2,520 California teens have killed themselves because they are gay.

This last point is why SB 572 is so important. Only Harvey Milk Day will ensure that our children are taught the important lesson of hope that they need to survive.

I know that you and your wife Maria are inducting this Time Magazine 100 Heroes and Icons of the 20th Century into the California Museum; I also know that opposition to Harvey Milk Day comes from the oppressors we still have lingering around, literally killing our kids.

We don’t need somebody stuffed into a museum, we need a living lesson of hope and a clear message that the acts that killed Matthew Shepherd, Trevor and Harvey Milk are not tolerated in California. I hope you do the right thing for our children and SIGN SB 572.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – take a memo

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

The Governor of New York, Gov. David Paterson, issued a memo to State agencies last week, including those governing insurance and health care, saying they must immediately change policies and regulations to make sure “spouse,” “husband” and “wife” are clearly understood to include gay couples. “New York has a tradition of recognizing marriages performed elsewhere. This is not new law, but a simple extension of that policy.”

Would you do the same for us in California? Such a memo might be targeted, for instance, at our state EDD who currently “redefines” marriage as HUSBAND/WIFE rather than deferring to the Family Code for the definition of Spouse. It might help the many county clerks offices who are resisting compliance with the law. And it would help underscore what you have said, that the Executive branch is fully committed to supporting the legislative and judicial branches in swatting out unfair treatment of California’s citizens.

Yours,

Today’s stamp: The Incredible Hulk from the Marvel Comics Super Heroes collection. What the EDD is doing should make you angry. Be my superhero again: terminate the hate that lingers in your government!

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,

Today’s letter – Super Tuesday defeats opponents of equality

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Looking at the fallout from Super Tuesday, it appears that every candidate who would support a Federal ban on gay marriage has been effectively eliminated. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney were the strongest opponents of equality – and took the most dramatic falls, Apparently not even the Republicans want to associate with somebody who still believes that we should punish Americans based on the most personal decision they can make: who they love.

The People have won the right to decide for themselves whether they want to reward or punish commitments. Now it is your turn, Governor, to lead California into rewarding committed couples with the freedom to choose marriage.

Please tell the Supreme Court and the People of California that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage.

Yours,

Today’s letter – an open letter asking for your help

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Equality California and the Let California Ring campaign are collecting signatures on an open letter asking you to address the California Supreme Court during oral arguments on the constitutionality of gay marriage this Spring.

As a defendant in the matter, and a proponent of “the dignity of every Californian,” you have an opportunity to speak directly to the judges about the expensive folly of excluding same-sex couples from participation in the economy and society.

If you were truly handcuffed into vetoing AB 43, a bill brought to you by the people through their elected representatives, now is your chance to make things right.

Strong families and individual choice are the cornerstone of California’s economy and your political party. I just want the government to support my choice to form and keep strong families through marriage.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Upholding the Constitution is not optional

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When you vetoed AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, you said that you couldn’t sign it because it would have been illegal and you would have gone to jail.

I believe you committed a more criminal act by failing to uphold the Constitution to which you swore allegiance. The Constitution, as you know, says that you are not supposed to pick out a whole group of people because of what they believe or how they were born, and force them to follow a different set of laws than everybody else.

You should have signed AB 43 because it was the right thing to do, and if you went to prison for following your Constitution obligation to protect Californians from discrimination for their religion, gender or sexual orientation, that too would be the right thing to do.

Martin Luther King Jr. explains:

“I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: – ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

It is too late for you to sign AB 43, but it is not too late for you to end your silence and protect the Constitution by saying everybody deserves the same freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – something you can do for California’s budget

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve seen your ads all over the place urging voters to vote Yes on the Indian Gaming Propositions on the ballot. You say that will bring millions of tax revenue into the state at a badly needed time.

Should a new Proposition 22 initiative go on the ballot to constitutionally ban gay marriage, I want you to commit right now to doing ads to oppose it. A permanent ban on same-sex marriage would cost California $16 Billion in windfall and $16 Million in annual savings, and sadly alienate millions of Californians from the economy and society.

You could have spoken out against Proposition 22 but instead you silently perpetuated its evil. You could commit right now to fixing that wrong, by committing to support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – It is alright to change your mind for the good of all

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

All the news yesterday was your reversal of your position on term limits. Thank you for hearing both sides of that issue and making a stand for what you believe is right and expedient for all Californians.

Now, would you reconsider your position on same-sex marriage? With the obvious harm inherent in having two systems to accommodate partnerships, can’t you take a stand for what you know is right and expedient for all Californians?

Like term limits, it will indeed upset a few people, but for the good of all Californians, we all know that it’s the right thing to do.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Hate costs Dough

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I wrote to you in July as an angry taxpayer about the cost of limiting marriage to heterosexual couples as revealed by The Williams Institute at UCLA.

Their recent analysis for Maryland revealed that their 8,000 same-sex couples, if married, would attract about $100 million of spending and $14 million in tax revenue EACH YEAR.

By comparison, their 2004 analysis of California showed that the 1977 ban on marriage costs us $16 Billion in spending and $25 million in tax revenue EACH YEAR.

As a taxpayer, I sure could use a slice of that dough, but as a gay man I would rather have the freedom to get married.

Whether it is fiscal responsibility, or just the right thing to do, I wish you would end your support of the costly ban on gay marriage and instead support the freedom to marry for all Californians.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Lincoln vs. Douglas

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Abraham Lincoln constantly ranks among the three top U.S. presidents. Before he became president, though, he spent a lot of time arguing against a guy named Stephen A. Douglas.

Senator Douglas believed that in a democracy the people should have the right to decide whether or not to allow slavery in their territory, rather than have such a decision imposed on them by Congress. Each state would decide if they were a “free” state or a “slave” state.

Lincoln said about the act, “I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it…enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites [and] causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because [it insists] that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.”

In his election bid for Senator, Lincoln identified the problem with giving states the right to discriminate: “‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.'(Mark 3:25) I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”

Lincoln won more popular votes, but Douglas won more seats and was elected to Congress.

Just so the metaphor is not lost on you, Governor, gay marriage is a battle just like slavery was 150 years ago. Whether through states rights or a Constitutional amendment, making some people more free than others only makes us all half-free. The only way to achieve freedom for all is to give all the freedom to marry.

That freedom must start at home. Please, make California a free state and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,