Today’s letter – Delayed Access

I’m starting a practice of sending a note to the Governor every day. Today’s message was this, delivered with a picture of the kids.

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

AB 43 would allow same-sex couples to legally marry in California. You have said that you want the people and the judiciary to decide about this issue, and that you will veto this legislation. Such a veto will delay my family’s access to basic equal rights. Please sign AB 43.

Thank you,

What is AB 43?

AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, is a bill that would bring us one step closer to ending the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California and providing freedom to churches who wish to perform the ceremonies.

The bill restores Sections 300 and 302 of the California Family Code to their pre-1977 language without touching Section 308.5 blocking foreign marriages that was installed by Proposition 22.

AB 43 is supported by more than 250 civil rights and professional groups, 46 of our 80 Assembly members and 22 of our 37 Senators.

The bill is on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk. He must sign or veto the bill before October 14, or it will pass into law on its own. If the bill becomes law, there will probably be an injunction pending the outcome of the marriage cases before the State Supreme Court.

He has vetoed a similar bill, AB 849, and has promised to veto this one too. His arguments have not changed: (1) the people voted for discrimination through Proposition 22 in 2000 and he cannot overturn the will of the people (2) the judiciary and the people need to work this out without the legislature (3) the bill is ineffective because of the pending cases in the Supreme Court.

I don’t believe these arguments hold up. Proposition 22 was about states rights and did nothing to change gay marriage in California. It was seven years ago and does not reflect the will of the voters that set up our Constitution and twice elected the legislature that passed AB 43. Finally, the bill may be ineffective at changing the law, however a signature will send a powerfully effective message about fairness.

The Governor has to know that his excuses are pretty lame. I guess he thinks a veto will win favor with his most active donors and the current crop of gay-haters in Washington, and by distracting people with Proposition 22 and “the will of the people” he can avoid doing what is right for the people in favor of what is right for himself.

It is embarrassing to have California come just a penstroke away from providing all their couples with the same rights. Overcoming prejudice was in California’s history, but now that mantle belongs to Massachusetts, Canada and Spain. It is horrible to have a Republican advocate higher taxes and additional government interference with individual lives. It is demeaning to have one person messing around with my family’s legal status to suit his political agenda.

I hope that I can change Governor Schwarzenegger’s mind, but even if I can only touch the minds and hearts of people who read my letters, I will have accomplished my goal.

If you can take away marriage…

The subtitle of this blog is “If you can take away marriage, you can take away anything.”

What that means is that I don’t think that the Opponents of Equality are really targeting the Gays. I believe that they are a coalition of groups that have their eyes set at terminating loftier prizes: abortion, affirmative action, immigrants, Arabs, Jews, public schools, evolution – the list goes on.

Remember that these are the same people who argued for, and subsequently lost, the ability to prevent different races from sharing the same schools and to keep women from voting. I think that they are actually amazed that they are finally winning on an issue, and just a bit embarrassed that it is not from an ethical or moral high ground, but just really good PR.

The fact is that gay marriage is just a pawn in this game. Randy Thomason doesn’t give a toss about the gays, but the power and money he gets by terrorizing them will let him graduate to other sinister criminalizations. I don’t get the feeling that Governor Schwartzenegger is morally opposed to this bill – but the fact that he has the power to veto it gives him the ability to get other things.

Think of all the good stuff we could do with the money and energy that has been spent trying to make a group of people into second-class citizens. If we can take away marriage discrimination, we can take away all discrimination. Who would oppose that?

Contacting the Governor

Call Him!

Sacramento: 916-445-2841
Los Angeles: 213-897-0322

Write Him!

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

300 South Spring Street, Suite 16701
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Fax Him!
Sacramento Fax: 916-445-4633
Los Angeles Fax: 213-897-0319

Meet with Him!
Send a request for a meeting to any of his addresses.

Getting the bill to the Governor

The bill just passed the Senate Judiciary committee 3-1. “Arlin” from Senator Scott’s office explained to me that the next step is the Fiscal committee who meets weekly through August 31. The Senate must approve and reconcile the legislation by September 14 for this fiscal year, then the Governor has 30 days (until October 14 in this case) to exercise his power to veto.

If the Governor signs it or does nothing the bill will become law January 1, 2008.

Getting a meeting with the Governor

I’ve been trying to get a meeting with the Governor the next time he’s in the neighborhood. I figure that if he meets the kids, he’ll have a harder time vetoing our marriage. In addition to writing to him at the Sacramento office, I’ve been trying to grease things with my Senator. (I tried my Assemblymember but his rep said “there are 80 members and [he] can’t do that.”) I’ll let you know how that goes.