Today’s letter – Equal Freedom is the only Equality

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

A friend asked me why I say “freedom to marry” instead of “marriage equality.” I believe that the answer could help you be a better Governor, and maybe someday, Senator.

You see, when you talk to focus groups and they hear “equality” they think of the rights that married couples get and how gay people either don’t deserve the same rights or can get them other ways. But anybody with the brains God gave geese knows that people don’t choose marriage because of the rights – they choose it because they want to.

By instead talking about freedom, people realize that whatever they believe about the rights and responsibilities of marriage, people should have the freedom to choose it for themselves; whatever they believe the bible says about homosexual relationships, people should have the freedom to exercise their own religious beliefs; whatever you believe the law says about gay marriage, a higher law says you shouldn’t interfere with the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Equality talks about rights, but really the only right that matters is freedom. That you would deny some people equal rights is debatable; that you would deny them the freedom to make their own choices is reprehensible and anti-American.

Yours,

Today’s letter – Consider your counsel before you consider a veto

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

When you vetoed AB 849, the 2005 version of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, you said you “do not believe the Legislature can reverse an initiative approved by the people of California” on the advice of your Attorney General, Bill Lockyer.

I don’t know why this was relevant to AB 849. The bill would not have “reversed an initiative” but rather changed a 1977 law signed by your current Attorney General, Edmund “Jerry” Brown.

I am worried that your Attorney General’s office is biased against the freedom to marry. To defend the state’s position, the office wrote “the words ‘marry’ and ‘marriage’ have no essential significance under the California Constitution,” and that there are no differences between California’s registered domestic partners and married couples under state law.

If there are no differences, why does a different section of the Family Code apply to my family and yours? If there are no differences, why are they – and you – opposed to merging them through AB 43? The fact is that same-sex couples have been carved out for special denial of the basic security of marriage that everybody else – including you and your Attorney General – so blithely enjoy, because of a law that your Attorney General signed!

The lesbian and gay communities have joined with the religious communities to ask for the freedom to marry as they choose, while your Attorney General’s office is siding with the Opponents of Equality to defend a bad law from 1977 by mischaracterizing it as a voter initiative.

It is offensive to my sense of justice to have the Attorney General working harder for your personal protection than for the people of this state. Please sign AB 43 so we can get the Attorney General out of the business of deciding who should – and should not – have the freedom to marry.

Sincerely,

Letter to First Lady Maria Shriver – help us get the freedom to marry

Dear Maria Shriver –

Like you, I am a busy Californian. I see no less than eleven worthy projects on your Web site. I was wondering if you could join me in just one more: bringing the freedom to marry to all Californians?

The California Legislature changed the law to exclude lesbian and gay families in 1977, and Governor Jerry Brown signed it. Since then these families have struggled against the stigma that law has put on them, and have overcoming with such milestones as the domestic partnership legislation that your husband brought into law.

Domestic Partnership doesn’t provide the same security of marriage, though, which is why I believe that California would be better for kids and parents if these couples can get married just like everybody else.

Here is where you can help. I have written to your husband every day since July 12 to ask him to sign AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. This simple bill reverses the law that Jerry Brown signed without touching the Proposition 22 language, and it gives the many Churches that believe same-sex couples deserve marriage the freedom to perform the ceremony. Although I have written many times, I have only received two form letters in reply. I’m pretty sure that messages from me and people like me are not making their way to the Governor.

I have enclosed a couple of my favorite letters, but they are all posted on my Web site, http://signab43.blogspot.com. Could you please talk to your husband about this and ask him to read some of my letters as he considers his actions on AB 43?

Many thanks,

Today’s letter – Thank you for being a friend

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Thank you for being so supportive of California’s many lesbian and gay families, from signing our historic domestic partnership legislation to leaving $300,000 in this year’s budget for LGBT victims of domestic violence.

I wish your support of our community would go just one step further, the final step to marriage equality. You have the authority to reverse Jerry Brown’s 1977 change that banned gay marriage in California, without affecting the state rights proposition passed by voters in 2000. You have the opportunity to give freedom of religion and civil marriage protection to many thousands of families. You can continue to be a great friend to all of us who just want to be the best parents they can. Just sign AB 43 and support full and equal access to marriage for all Californians.

Your friend,