Today’s letter – A good team at bat, but one bad player put us way behind on human rights

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I knew California was the first state to end the ban on interracial marriages (1948) and I always assumed we would continue to be leaders and proponents for all civil rights. Imagine my surprise when I discovered California didn’t add sexual orientation to its protected classes until ten years after Wisconsin (1982). We were also out-scored by Massachusetts (1989), Connecticut (1991) and Hawaii (1991).

Likewise with marriage equivalency, we were behind the ball. Even Hawaii had domestic partnerships before we did (1997) and Vermont scored in 2000, Our Domestic-Partnership-is-the-same-as-marriage law didn’t get to home base until 2005, five years too late.

On marriage, we were poised to take the lead when love went to bat in San Francisco in the spring of 2004, and when our legislature became the first to channel that human need from the people to the governor. But Massachusetts won the World Series of civil rights when they approved marriage and you struck us out – becoming not part of the first state to end the ban on same-sex marriage, but the first governor to unilaterally block the people’s freedom to marry.

I am embarrassed that you took away our victory then, and embarrassed that you refuse to stand on the side of freedom and equality now. Please stop telling your friends, colleagues and neighbors that their relationships – and their humanity – is less important than yours, and support the freedom to marry.

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 – Separating sex and marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I just want to get married like everybody else. I believe that those who are opposed to giving me that freedom are confused about what I would do with it. Some groups claim that gays want to get married so they can get “special rights” and others so we can molest children.

I know that you come from a background where bodybuilders are often called stupid and homosexual, and you have spent your whole career correcting those assumptions. You must know how frustrating it can be to know the truth, yet have people perpetuate lies.

Parents want to do what’s best for their children, but anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that blocking my marriage does not protect kids from their “celebrate” parish priest and that punishing me when I have done nothing wrong does not stop wicked Uncle Ernie. If parents really wanted to do the best thing for their kids, they would not let pedophiles hide behind the smokescreen of heterosexuality, and they would not teach their kids that stereotyping a disliked group is OK – be it bodybuilders or homosexuals.

I wish you would work with fair-minded Californians to dispel the myths about same-sex marriage and support the freedom to marry for me and for all Californians.

Yours,

Today’s letter – your veto would be OK if you supported marriage

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I consider myself to be a good citizen, and I believe that all committed couples should have the same freedom to choose marriage. Why don’t you?

You vetoed AB 43 on a technicality, but you stopped short of saying that you wanted to sign the bill.

You said that you “support current domestic partnership rights” but you do not say that those rights should include marriage.

You have said that there is nothing wrong with being gay, but you have never said there is nothing wrong with gay marriage.

You didn’t have to sign AB 43 to support the freedom to marry, but failing to support the freedom to marry is supporting the freedom to discriminate.

That sends the wrong message to the courts and the people: that you believe their right to hate is more important than my right to love. That is not only bad leadership, it is bad citizenship.

Yours,

Today’s letter – just one issue

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Some people have criticized me for being a one-issue voter, a label I happily wear. There really is only one issue: how the person we elect is going to pay off the people who put him in power. Some politicians reward those who wrote them checks, others bow to those with nothing but a vote. But how can you tell?

The issue of same-sex marriage is the best test of that mettle: on one side you have the Opponents of Equality whose empires rely on fear-based-fundraising and whose checks flow freely to politicians who stoke that fear; on the other side you have families like mine who are just trying to access the security and simplicity of marriage without hurting anybody. Can the candidate overcome bias and temptation to support freedom, liberty and equality?

The test is crucial. How can you trust a politician on health care reform when he won’t make businesses treat employees equally? How can somebody act on education when he teaches discrimination? How can you trust a politician to lead us through disasters like earthquakes and wildfires when he says only some of the people deserve to be married?

When you vetoed AB 43, Governor, you proved what kind of politician you are. It is not too late for you to do what is right and support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – If it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Like all people, I have guilty pleasures; mine is Desperate Housewives on ABC.

As you may know, last night a gay couple moved onto the street. They introduced themselves as “partners” and Susan got confused, thinking they were co-investors in some business. Silly Susan was embarrassed, but Bob and Lee were humiliated, because their “Green Acres”-inspired relationship was sterilized down to a business transaction because of a word and a cruel law.

Everybody knows what marriage is. Having two sets of laws – and two words – to describe such simple things is just plain wrong.

It is too late for you to sign AB 43, the bill that would have let families like Bob and Lee’s choose ‘marriage’ instead of ‘partnership.’ But it is not too late for you to support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – AIDS Walk

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today was the annual Los Angeles AIDS Walk. Hundreds of thousands of people united to both look for a cure and to provide support for those afflicted.

Every year the number of celebrities and politicians who endorse the event grows larger, and the number of protesters dwindles. APLA raised a record $4M from fair-minded and generous Californians. It is amazing to see what can happen when we are united, not divided.

I believe that one simple and effective way to fight AIDS is to encourage committed couples to make the commitment of marriage. Nothing encourages monogamy and responsibility like marriage, and those principles form the cornerstone of our social attack on AIDS. But it doesn’t work when people are blocked from marriage!

You have been an obstacle to same-sex marriage for a long time, including your recent refusal to sign AB 43, but it’s not too late for you to end at least one division that is distracting us from fighting AIDS. I wish you would support the freedom to marry for all Californians, and maybe someday you will be able to walk with us instead of against us.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Don’t Cross Dumbledore

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

True love comes in many forms. Even the beloved Albus Dumbledore, master wizard and Headmaster of Hogwarts, once found true love according to his creator, J.K. Rowling.

To an audience at Carnegie Hall, Ms. Rowling explained that Dumbledore was smitten by fellow wizard Gellert Grindelwald, who turned out to be a bad wizard. “Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” Rowling said of Dumbledore’s feelings, adding that Dumbledore was “horribly, terribly let down.” Dumbledore’s love, she observed, was his “great tragedy.”

Clearly true love crosses wizard-muggle and straight-gay boundaries with ease. That’s why I wish you would get out of the way of true love. It’s too late for you to sign AB 43, but I wish you would support the freedom to marry for me and all Californians.

Yours,

Today’s letter – the tide is turning

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m just a simple guy, but even I can see that the tide is turning against the opponents of equality.

A Time magazine article published today contains interesting polling data: 90% of non-Christians call Christians too anti-homosexual but a shocking 80% of Christians think that they themselves are being too anti-homosexual.

In 2007, opponents of equality couldn’t get enough support to stop marriages in Massachusetts, ban Domestic Partnerships in Oregon or even put a new (constitutionally-effective) version of “Proposition 22” on the ballot in California.

The legislature saw this coming two years ago when they sent the country’s first pro-gay-marriage bill to your desk. Then, they got reelected and passed another bill to end the special exclusion of same-sex couples from the security of marriage.

It must say something that the last anti-gay law was seven years ago, while two pro-gay bills have come to your desk in the past two years. The tide is turning, Governor. Do you want to be on the side supporting love, or the side supporting hate? Please sign AB 43 and support the freedom to marry.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – to the newspapers!

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I really believe that California would be better with same-sex marriage. I wonder how this might play out in the media…

Los Angeles Times
Letters to the Editor
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

October 5, 2007

Dear Editor –

I’m a father of twins, and I believe that what’s best for kids is an environment where churches and couples have the freedom to make their own decisions about marriage. That’s why I want the Governor to sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.

This bill gets our government out of the business of interfering with marriage by pushing those very personal decisions down to the people themselves, but the Governor has said – with all seriousness – that he wants the courts to make these decisions instead, and that he will veto this philosophically important bill.

I may never understand why the Governor chooses to block committed couples from making the commitment of marriage, but failing to agree that all citizens deserve the same freedoms is an awful lesson to be teaching our children.

So what lesson are our children going to learn from you?

Sincerely,