Today’s letter – Proxy for Hate

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As you know, gay marriage in California is likely to be decided next year by a voter initiative constitutional amendment. Your action on AB 43 will have a huge impact on the outcome of that initiative.

A ‘yes’ means that you support California families, while a veto clearly says that hate and discrimination are acceptable.

There is no reason to oppose equality in California. Please help lead the people to do the right thing. Please sign AB 43.

Today’s letter – Donald Trumps

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Can you do something about this woman who is using the name of California to spread lies about gay people?

You may recall that Miss California Carrie Prejean stated her beliefs about gay marriage during the “brains” part of the Miss USA competition. Then she spoke as Miss USA but without the Pageant’s permission in front of crowds opposed to gay marriage, while missing Miss California events she was contractually obligated to attend, constantly complaining about being muzzled and attacked for her beliefs.

Today The Donald rendered his decision on the matter. Who got punished? Co-executive director of the Miss California USA pageant Shanna Moakler, that’s who. Yes, Prejean’s boss got fired for speaking out her beliefs about Miss Prejean’s behavior.

As a gay dad I understand how the Opponents of Equality bully fair-minded Californians into silence by attacking their families. I get hate mail at least once a week. My religious belief in marriage is illegal in California. My Governor belongs to a political party with a platform that calls for my extinction. Why? Because of the hypocritical bullying of people like Miss Prejean, who in the name of California and God pass judgment on me and my family. Because of people like Donald Trump who choose to muzzle the voice of reason rather than the precocious bully. Because of people like you, who tolerate the Opponents of Equality.

I wish you would remind Miss Prejean what she was actually taught: that no good citizen and Christian would deny freedoms to others.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – Those California Whackos

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I got a phone message from a friend of mine from high school warning me to “watch out for all those liberal whackos out there in California.” Since he lives in Massachusetts, I had to respond, “I’m more terrified by the tyranny of the Richard Nixons and Ronald Reagans who live out here than the Ted Kennedys and Eliot Spitzers who live out there.”

He got a laugh out of that. Who knew that New York would get gay marriage before California?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – everybody loves a wedding

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

People are asking me, and probably still asking you, why the gays can’t just get Domestic Partnered instead of married.

As my fiancée and I prepare for our wedding next Tuesday, in terms of personal life milestones, it is not a Big Deal. We have already looked each other in the eyes and made our promises to each other. This license and ceremony doesn’t hold much meaning for us. It won’t change our legal rights, and it won’t change our relationship. So we’re getting married in the courthouse on the first day that we can.

But as somebody who has “jumped the broom” and domestic partnered, let me tell you that there is a world of difference in the way other people treat a marriage. A wedding is a Big Deal. Friends and family are getting upset that we hadn’t invited them; the in-laws are griping that we’re doing this in Orange County instead of closer to them; the rector at our church told us that she is upset that we aren’t allowing her to perform the ceremony; and my fiancée is out buying new tuxes and rings.

Nobody was this interested when we were getting Domestic Partnered. So when people ask you not to call it marriage, think back to your own wedding to Maria. Who would have come to a “domestic partnership?”

Whether people want to get married in the Central Library or a quiet courtroom, the Golden Rule still says “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Now, finally, you can do that.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “wedding heart.” They don’t make “civil union” heart stamps.

Today’s letter – doing his duty for eighteen years

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I would like to point out a saint in your midst.

For 18 years, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder and State Clerks Association President Stephen Weir has been in charge of the county’s office that hands out marriage licenses, even though he has been unable to get a license himself because the love of his life happens to be a man.

On June 17th, Weir and his fiancée John Hemm will approach the counter Weir runs to get a license for themselves; shortly after that, they will go to exchange vows in the conference room that Weir himself had converted into a wedding chapel – but could never use.

Weir says “I’ve waited all of this time to be able to walk into my own office and stand in line and pay $85 to buy a license and have a ceremony. It’s a big deal.”

Governor, is there an award that we can give Stephen Weir for patiently doing his duty all these years while his “customers” would, every day, receive something he could not? What do you give somebody who did his job, even though knew that limiting love based on people’s gender or religion was wrong?

When you hear stories of clerk-recorders from other counties who won’t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court ruling (and basic human decency,) you realize how, truly, Stephen Weir is a citizen among citizens and a saint among saints.

Sincerely,

Today’s stamp: “Jury Duty”

Today’s letter – How can I change the GOP Party Platform?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am a registered Republican who is trying to be the best husband and father that I can. There is a paragraph in the 2004 California GOP Party Platform that seems to meddle with my natural rights – specifically standing in the way of my life, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness. The paragraph starts out with a falsehood and continues with an assumption that, if truly embraced, would legislate my family out of existence. I don’t know how this got inserted into a policy document, but it needs to go.

From Page 6 of the California Republican Party Platform:

Recognizing the traditional model of monogamous heterosexual marriage as the only stable relationship upon which to build a society, we believe that homosexuality should not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in public education and policy. We oppose granting to homosexuals special privileges, including marriage, domestic partnership benefits, and child custody or adoption.

What can I do, as a citizen, to make sure this is removed from the 2008 California GOP Party Platform? Do I need to go to some meeting, lobby some party chairman, or make a really big donation?

I want my kids to grow up in a world where Government is not an obstacle to freedom, but a vehicle for it. I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that.

Yours,

Today’s letter – What it means to live free

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

New Hampshire’s motto is “live free or die” and they demonstrated that, partially, by introducing civil unions for gay couples yesterday.

No, it’s not real marriage like their neighbor Massachusetts has had since 2004, but it is a big reversal for a state that banned gay couples from marriage just three years ago.

So hurray for states like New Hampshire that recognize that living free requires the freedom to choose your own relationships: there is hope for them – and for us – that freedom will not forever stop short of the freedom to marry.

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 – what’s the real reason?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I want to ask you a question: why are you really planning to veto AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act?

  • It’s obviously not from a hatred of gays, or you wouldn’t have signed all the Domestic Partnership bills that we have labored to bring you.
  • It’s probably not because you want bloated government, with two sets of laws covering relationships, making loopholes that cost taxpayers money, or you would not have fought against bloated government your whole political career.
  • It’s clearly not because of ‘the will of the people’ because anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that the legislature would not have sent this to you if we had not convinced ‘the people’ to ask for it.
  • I hope it isn’t because you think the courts should decide. Every citizen knows that the legislature is supposed to make the decisions, the courts are supposed to enforce them.
  • It probably isn’t because of Proposition 22, a bill that did nothing to change marriage in California that was passed seven-years ago and will not be affected by AB 43, because you know that same-sex couples were actually excluded from marriage by Governor Jerry Brown in 1977.
  • It can’t be because of religion: too many people of faith believe in the freedom to love over the freedom to judge, and you would never stand in the way of religious freedom.
  • It is likely not because you think that Domestic Partnership is enough, because anybody who has been married, as you have, knows the difference a wedding makes.

I imagine what happened is that Karl Rove sat you down and said you can break with the Party on healthcare and the environment, but if California gets gay marriage, it will make the party that said gays can’t be good parents look like fools. Republicans will lose their big bigoted donors and their committed base won’t turn out.

It’s the only reason I can think of that you would be willing to veto against your conscience. I wish it wasn’t true, because it means you’re going to flush my freedom to marry the person I love down the toilet in a short-term and short-sighted play for votes, power and money.

Please – please – please – tell me the real reason that you are going to veto my family, because it can’t be worse than the one that I have imagined.

Anxiously,

Today’s letter – nobody likes a bigot

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I am a former Scout Leader, and I think that you should sign AB 43 and support the freedom to marry.

Membership in the Boy Scouts has declined 35% since 1977, while the Girl Scouts lost just 3% of their membership in the same period. The big difference? The Boy Scouts squandered their money and legacy with expensive court fights to win the right to discriminate, then they used that ‘right’ to throw out members who have minority religious beliefs and sexual orientations. Nobody wants their kids to grow up in an environment that teaches hate, and they vote with their feet.

California – and the GOP – is in a similar situation. They are fighting for the right to discriminate and using that ‘right’ to exclude families like mine from marriage. This probably pads their pocketbook with fat donations from hard-line bigots, but in the long run, companies and individuals will relocate to places where their lesbian and gay neighbors and friends have the freedom to commit to marriage.

Please sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, like the legislature and people have asked you, and stop California from teaching neighbors to hate.

Yours,