Today’s letter – even The Mormons are coming around

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Even the Church of Latter-Day Saints is beginning to have a change of heart. Traditionally the church has focused on man-on-woman relationships (occasionally several) and the consequences of being gay were excommunication, homelessness and suicide. Under new Church President Thomas Monson, though, LDS have agreed to a historic meeting with Affirmation, a group which represents 910,000 gay and lesbian Mormons.

“I firmly believe that within my lifetime the church will welcome gay brothers and sisters as full members in the church. I don’t think that will happen today or tomorrow, but it will eventually happen,” Affirmation assistant senior executive director David Melson says. “Anytime that we teach homophobia as a family value, it means we are missing the mark and not doing the job that we should be doing as a people, as a church.”

The race is on – will you or the Mormons be the first to admit that everybody deserves the same freedom, the freedom to marry?


Today’s letter – let Oscar wed too

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

At last night’s Academy Awards, the Best Short Documentary went to a film called “Freeheld” about the struggle that a New Jersey police Lieutenant faced as she tried to include her partner in her pension while she also battled cancer. Had her partner been a different gender, it would have been automatic; instead it was anything but.

I know that you intend for Domestic Partnership to provide same-sex couples with all of the time-tested social and legal features of marriage. The truth is that Domestic Partnership fails miserably at bringing even basic parity to California’s gay partnerships.

When Director Cynthia Wade tells three million people that “It was Lt. Laurel Hester’s dying wish that her fight against discrimination would make a difference for all the same-sex couples across the country,” she is telling three million people that leaders like you are the problem; that people like you, for all your best intentions, are merely obstacles to individual liberty until you support the freedom for all of us to decide for ourselves who we marry.


Today’s letter – Nature or Nurture, it’s Love

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’ve only lived in California for eight years, and I love the state, but I believe it could be even better if same-sex couples had the same freedom to marry as everybody else.

Those who disagree with me have often said that they don’t want to reward a behavior, begging the question: is homosexuality genetic or learned?

The answer to that question is that it doesn’t matter. We used to have barriers to marriage that were based on race, and there are still churches that will not marry across faiths. In both cases our Government has had the wisdom to step out of the way of love.

It is time for Government to stop blocking same-sex couples who want to commit to marriage. Whether it’s nature – like race – or nurture – like religion – it is the same love that everybody else has. It should be treated the same way.

Please sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, not out of pity, but out of respect for people’s individual choices about who they love. That is the kind of state California is, and with your assent, can continue to be.

Today’s letter – You are doing neither

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a parent who wants to teach his kids about freedom and tolerance, it irritates me that you have so curtly promised to veto AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.
It’s not the veto that saddens me; what offends me as an American is your refusal to acknowledge that it is fundamentally wrong to carve out and exclude a whole group of people from marriage based exclusively on who they love.

In signing AB 43, your hands might be tied, but in denouncing two sets of laws governing relationships in California, your mouth is still free. Won’t you use that freedom so I can teach my kids about freedom and tolerance by example rather than by exception?


Today’s letter – We must all unite to defend freedom

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

As a gay American, I believe same-sex couples should be allowed to access the security and simplicity of marriage, just like everybody else.

On September 11, 2001, Mark Bingham helped liberate and protect an airplane. On another flight, parents Ronald Gamboa and Daniel Brandhorst perished along with their 3-year-old son, David Reed Gamboa Brandhorst. The co-pilot of the airplane that crashed into the Pentagon, David Charlebois, left behind Tom Hay, his partner of almost 13 years. On the ground, F.D.N.Y. chaplain Mychael Judge was the first official casualty of the attack. He was also gay.

These victims of terrorism perished that day, just like everybody else. If we are to triumph over these attacks on our freedom, we must unite. But how can we unite to defend freedom, when we deny it to ourselves?

We can bicker over gay rights, but we cannot afford to be divided over Freedom. The people of California, through our legislature, have asked you extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. I wish you would sign AB 43 and let freedom ring.


Today’s letter – whatever it takes

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I see from today’s paper that you are teaming up with the Democrats and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez in order to “do whatever it takes” to overhaul our healthcare system.

I wish you would “do whatever it takes” to bring the freedom to marry to all Californians.

Like healthcare, freedom to marry will allow universal access to important services inside of a secure, time-tested framework that everybody understands. Unlike healthcare, nobody is being forced to get married or even perform the ceremonies, and California taxpayers will actually save $24 million a year. It provides personal choice and freedom to Californians at a bargain price – something worth fighting for.

“Whatever it takes” includes signing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. The legislature was clever enough to design it so it wouldn’t conflict with Proposition 22, and now that “universal access” is in your vocabulary, signing it isn’t even politically risky: it’s just the least you can do.

So please consider signing AB 43 and bringing to California’s same-sex couples the same freedom to marry that you have.