Today’s letter – A mostly good year

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Equality California released their 2008 Legislative Scorecard last week. I was elated to see your signature on so many pieces of EQCA-sponsored legislation.

I particularly want to applaud you for signing AB 3015 Foster Youth School Safety Education to protect students from bias-motivated harassment and discrimination by educating foster caregivers about the law.

If something should happen to me and my husband, I would want to make sure that the people who would be taking care of my kids will provide them the support and information they need about their gay dads, and protect them from bullying from other children because of their parents.

Hate is taught; this is one step towards un-teaching it.

Thank you for doing the right thing on AB 3015 and the other EQCA-sponsored bills. You’ve come a long way for a Republican who only last year vetoed AB 43 the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2007, a simple human-rights bill that would have made most of these bills unnecessary or redundant.

I hope in 2009 you work towards eliminating the need for these bills by supporting full marriage equality in the State of California.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – the final step

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today was a historic day. For the first time, a sitting Republican Governor chose the part of the party platform that says “We support the two-parent family as the best environment for raising children” instead of the puzzling conclusion that “it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.” And you did it with all the style and humor that we expect from you.

The Sacramento Bee reported that you even called the initiative “a waste of time” and quipping “I think we need a constitutional amendment so that foreign born citizens can run for President, but not about gay marriage.”

I know it took a lot for you to break your policy of not commenting on an initiative that has not even qualified. Thank you for listening to the people, and taking this giant historic step towards bringing California’s same-sex couples one step closer to full participation in our economy and society.

Yours,

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 – Focus on the Family lies

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Focus on the Family lied, and you swallowed the Kool Aide. Citizenlink.com, the activation network of Focus on the Family, repeatedly refers to Proposition 22 as a “Constitutional Amendment,” such as in this article by their Associate Editor, Jennifer Mesko:

One of the bills, AB 43, is another attempt to force same-sex “marriage” onto the residents of California. In 2000, 62 percent of voters passed a constitutional amendment that states, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

That you signed seven LGBT-positive bills this session has poor Dr. Dobson in a thither, which is nice, but all those calls you got in support of your veto were based on misinformation – that Proposition 22 was a Constitutional Amendment.

What changes this from “shame on him” to “shame on you” is that your office did nothing to correct that misinformation, choosing to use it instead as a smoke-screen for vetoing AB 43 and my relationship.

Not everybody knows the gritty details of how Proposition 22 and AB 43 pass in the dark, but you do. You could have explained that Prop 22 covers 308.5 of the Family Code dealing with foreign marriages while AB 43 restores Sections 300 and 302 to their pre-1977 traditional language, “marriage is between two persons.” But you choose to ride the Focus on the Family Wrongmobile instead.

Depriving me and my family from making the commitment of marriage is wrong, but using convenient misinformation to deny basic freedom is perhaps worse.

Yours truly,

Today’s letter – Everybody says you’ll veto, but that’s not your job

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Everybody is saying that you’ll veto AB 43, but that doesn’t make sense. Why would you veto a civil rights bill when your focus is on getting our budget in shape?

You ought to be rubber-stamping this bill, like you have with every other piece of minority-rights legislation, and pushing the responsibility to follow the will of the people back on the Legislature, where it belongs.

So I don’t believe the people who called you all sorts of names at last night’s rally. They were just bitter because they missed Power of Ten. I am confident that you will decide not to meddle with my family’s freedom and sign AB 43.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Eight Domestic Partnership Laws or One Marriage Bill

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

My California Registered Domestic Partner and I are raising our two kids here in Los Angeles. There are currently nine bills moving through the legislature that will make my family’s life better. Five of them will make California a safer place for our children, and three of them are enhancements to California’s Domestic Partnership laws that you have so wonderfully supported. But only one of them will provide us with the respect, dignity and freedom that all Californians should enjoy.

SB 105 would simplify my state taxes so we can file them as easily as straight couples. SB 559 would fix my property value that was reassessed when we moved it into our family trust. AB 102 lets us change our family name like couples do when they get married.

But AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, would make those three laws and many others unnecessary by simply ending the legislature-imposed ban on same-sex marriage.

I don’t understand why your support for families like mine ends short of supporting marriage. California deserves to have one set of rules for everybody. Please sign AB 43 and end this parade of separate laws.

Hopefully,

Today’s letter – Jersey Polls and the California People

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

It looks like a veto of the 2007 Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (AB 43), would put you on the wrong side of the people too.

In a Zogby poll of New Jersey voters released yesterday, 63% said they would be fine with replacing civil unions with marriage, and 72% said there were more important reasons for keeping or replacing their lawmakers.

I don’t know what the numbers are for California, but I can’t imagine that the legislators who bring you AB 43 would have done it without checking the polls (unless they thought it was just the right thing to do. HA!)

I used to say sign AB 43 because it will lead the people toward equality, but it looks like the people are going there anyway. So please sign AB 43 to catch up!

Sincerely,