Today’s letter – Harvey Milk Day

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Equality California released their 2008 Legislative Scorecard today. I was disappointed to see that you vetoed AB 2567, Harvey Milk Day.

I saw the movie Milk just last week and it was astonishing how visionary this businessman was. He realized that intolerance was dividing the city and hurting business, and set out to do something about it. Not for himself, but for others. His visibility caused a whole generation to realize that America is about being different, and being free to be different.

This kind of selflessness should be rewarded with a special day of its own. I hope that you get another opportunity to sign Harvey Milk Day into law, and do just that.

Just like marriage equality, “you’ve got to give us hope.”

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Housing Co-ownership

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Thank you for your veto on SB 153 Housing Co-Ownership, a bill that would have provided protection from Prop 13 property tax increases to surviving homeowners that are not domestic partnered or legally married. This is what marriage and Domestic Partnership is for, and those who want these rights need to accept the responsibility of marriage and Domestic Partnership.

I had to fight damn hard to get laws passed so that Prop 13 property tax increases would apply equally to me and my Domestic Partner as they do to married partners, and now that we are approaching equality in those separate institutions, I don’t want to go down the slippery slope of blessing people who are only willing to shack up on par with marriage and Domestic Partnership.

Thank you for doing the right thing on SB 153. I do want to mention that SB 153 would not have been even considered had you not vetoed AB 43 the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2007, a bill that would have stopped this dangerous slide at “marriage” by changing the label, not the laws.

I hope throughout the upcoming year that you work towards eliminating the need for these bills by supporting full marriage equality in the State of California.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – the Christian thing to do

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I know that you aren’t supposed to be mixing religion and government, but since this whole “Limit on Marriage” thing comes out of a strange interpretation of the bible and a government-sponsored intolerance for religious beliefs, I wish you would consider how the church is embracing this decision as it relates to your public policy. It is, as Rev. Mark Hallahan pointed out, “the most important issue to face the church since slavery.”

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, issued this unequivocal statement:

Today’s Supreme Court decision on same-gender relationships is important because it reflects our baptismal vow to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being” and our commitment to justice and mercy for all people.

I celebrate and give thanks for this decision of the court and look forward with joy and excitement to a future of justice and mercy for all people in the State of California and the Episcopal Church.

To paraphrase St. Paul, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, gay nor straight in Jesus Christ our Lord.

J. Jon Bruno
Bishop of Los Angeles

Far from forcing churches to perform ceremonies, this decision lets churches that believe in the dignity of every human being exercise their religious freedom and perform the ceremonies. In a brilliant example of “practice what you preach” All Saints’ Pasadena is opening their doors to marriage and will perform their first same-sex wedding on June 18.

I wish you had signed AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, when it was on your desk. I hope now you understand why the courts are forcing you to do the American and Christian thing, and support the freedom to marry.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “Iron Man” from the Marvel Comics Super Heroes Collection. Iron Man used an accident as an opportunity to don an impenetrable shell of iron and change from advocating injustice into a knight fighting against it.

Today’s letter – Republicans are not acting republican

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I voted Tuesday in my last election as a registered Republican. It is sad for me to resign my membership in the Republican party, but the party has strayed too far from a principle that individuals are empowered to make individual decisions.

In particular, as a gay dad, I was lucky enough to find somebody who I like and love, and who loves me in return. We finally won the freedom to make the intimate decision to commit to marriage. But the Republicans, with you as the exception, continue to fight to take that away.

Your party platform glibly informs that “it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman” and “we oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.” – teachings that are designed deny me my freedom to choose who I marry and make individual decisions about how I live my life.

A moral compass that lets one claim individual freedom, yet ostracize ones neighbors is neither American nor Christian, and I want no part of it.

I urge you, for the future of the Republican party, to help the GOP and California State Republican Assembly overcome their hatred and bias in order to open the tent to all individuals who want to make California a better place.

Sadly,

Today’s letter – the video made me cry

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I’m still haunted by the images in the Let California Ring commercial “Garden Wedding.” In this thirty second ad, church bells ring as a bride prepares for her big day. The door sticks, cars block her path to the wedding pavilion, low-hanging branches foil her veil, then on her way down the aisle when she just makes eye contact with her groom, somebody sticks out their foot and she trips and falls. The message covers the screen: “what if you couldn’t marry the person you love?”

As a gay dad in a Domestic Partnership, I feel like this bride in a nightmare: so close to the altar, yet constantly foiled from marrying the person I love by things completely out of my control. Like when you chose to veto AB 43, the bill that would have let me marry the person that I love. That was really mean.

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 – an exception of mercy and compassion

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As Governor of California, could you make an exception to the law so that my fiancée and I can get married?

We are both outstanding citizens, we have lived together for ten years, and in California for more than eight. Our newborn children bear both our names. We are good, faithful, committed Christians. We would be readily able to provide you with testimonials from all four of our parents, the ministers at our Church and the Godparents of our children – anything you need to convince yourself that we are worthy and capable of marriage.

Just like you can pardon felons and intervene in death row cases – and just like you were able to veto the law that would have let us wed – you must also have the power to say “there is no state interest served by keeping these people apart.”

If you’re going to support a special exclusion from liberty for people based on their gender and your religion, you must also be able to let us wed. Won’t you do at least that, for the best of your people?

Yours,

Today’s letter – Trout get more respect

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Happy New Year!

I was just reading through all the new laws going into effect this year and noticed such things as:

Tanning booths: To address concern about skin cancer, changes the parental consent law for minors, ages 14 to 18, who patronize businesses using ultraviolet tanning devices so that such consent must be provided in person.

Trout protection: Declares state policy to discourage the release of hatchery-raised hybrid and nonnative fish species in waters set aside by the government for wild trout.

Witness protection: Gives the state attorney general authority to coordinate with and reimburse local agencies that provide protection to those testifying against gang members.

If we can have laws protecting teens, criminals and fish, why can’t we have a law protecting my belief that I should be able to marry the person that I love?

Sometimes I think you have more respect for trout than you have for gay people.

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 – 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 – The Last Thing We Need

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

You have argued that AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, is unnecessary.

What was unnecessary was asking the Attorney General to invalidate my marriage in 2004; vetoing the first Freedom to Marry bill in 2005; vowing to veto AB 43 before the Senate had even voted it; and using a seven-year-old law about states rights as an excuse for allowing discrimination on your watch.

What is most unnecessary of all, though, is a ban that keeps people from getting married and churches from marrying them.

Please sign AB 43 and get rid of the unnecessary and offensive ban on freedom that the legislature installed in 1977 and that you have perpetuated throughout your rule.

A veto – and the divisive hatred that it emboldens – is the last thing we need.

Yours,