Today’s letter – Help New Hampshire Avoid California’s Mistake

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

New Hampshire is on the verge of converting their year-old “Civil Union” structure into full and proper marriage. HB 436 only needs the Governor’s signature to become law.

Sound familiar? It should. That was the choice you were faced with in 2007 when you vetoed AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.

I wrote to Governor Lynch to point out that after you vetoed AB 43, I was sad that my friends would have to go to Massachusetts to get married instead of Disneyland; humiliated that my religious beliefs were made subservient to those of others; and outraged that my Governor thought he was more worthy of marriage than I.

I realize that you didn’t get through to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas in time to stop his veto, but could you give John Lynch a call (you can do that, right?) (try 603-271-2121 in case you don’t have it) and tell him why, as you said, you would have signed AB 43 if you were legally able.

It’s a chance to be cohesive instead of divisive.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – GOP goes Gay

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I just wanted to make sure that you noticed Meghan McCain’s memo to the GOP, “Go Gay.” In it, she blames her father’s recent loss to President Obama squarely on the Republican Party’s use of anti-gay rhetoric to whip up the base. She reminds us that the most popular Republican of all time, Ronald Reagan, supported homosexuals during the 1978 Briggs attack, and argues that if the Republican Party ever wants to see that kind of popularity again, it needs to do things like Lincoln and Reagan, not like Anita Bryant and G. W. Bush.

Ms. McCain spells it out:

If you think certain rights should not apply to certain people, then you are saying those people are not equal. People may always have a difference of opinion on certain lifestyles, but championing a position that wants to treat people unequally isn’t just un-Republican. At its fundamental core, it’s un-American.

So, Governor, are you going to take up Ms. McCain’s challenge by coming forward and playing an instrumental role in securing gay rights like Gavin Newsom, or are you going to sit on the sidelines like George Wallace until the courts decide for you? I wish you would take Ms. McCain’s advice and save the Republicans.

Sincerely,

Letter to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas – Explain your Opposition

Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

April 8, 2009

RE: Civil marriage bill H275

Dear Governor Douglas,

I just read the news that your veto of H275, the bill that would bring same-sex marriage to Vermont, was overridden by the legislature.

The excuses that you gave for your veto – that it is a “personal” decision, that it “interferes” with lawmakers’ attention to the economy – all ring hollow to me. You are an elected representative vetoing a bill that would keep jobs and families in Vermont – so there must be another reason.

I would like an explanation of what you were honestly thinking when you chose to oppose equality. Why would an American deny freedom to another; why would a Republican meddle in individual personal relationships; why would a Christian go against even the teachings of his UCC Church, and treat others as he would not like to be treated himself?

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – California’s history, usurped

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

Today is an historic day. It marks the first time that a state has eliminated a ban on same-sex marriage without being compelled to do so by the courts.

But in keeping with other traditions, it was a Republican governor who vetoed the legislation.

I would like to ask you for an explanation of what you were honestly thinking when you chose to oppose equality, something that I can tell my kids to explain why well-intentioned people seem to do cruel things. Maybe you could ask Governor Douglas for some help. Why would an American deny freedom to another; why would a Republican meddle in individual personal relationships; why would a Christian go against the teachings of his Church, and treat others as he would not like to be treated himself?

It’s the little things like this that remind us which party stands for getting government out of people’s lives, lower taxes and family values, and which party is – still – opposed to equality.

Sincerely,

Letter to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas – You Stand Alone

Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

April 7, 2009

RE: Civil marriage bill H275

Dear Governor Douglas,

I just read the news that you vetoed H275, the bill that would make civil marriage available to every Vermonter.

What I don’t get is why when court after court after court says that bans on same sex marriage are unconstitutional, that you insisted on perpetuating such bans?

All around you, in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ontario, Quebec and even in Vermont itself, the courts have said that “freedom means freedom for everybody.”

I wish you would take their message to heart, done the right thing and signed H275. Instead, you will go down in history as an Opponent of Equality, enemy of freedom, and just another Republican who proves the rule that people who hate their constituents are unfit for public office.

Sincerely,

Letter to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas – Fiscal Responsibility

Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

April 6, 2009

RE: Civil marriage bill S.115

Dear Governor Douglas,

I read in the Wall Street Journal that you have promised to veto the bill that would make same sex marriage legal in Vermont. The reason that you gave in the article, and your March 25 statement, was that lawmakers should focus on the economy instead of civil rights bills. I do not understand your hypocrisy.

Perhaps lawmakers are concerned about all of the Vermonters who have to go to New Hampshire to have their weddings. Or about the extra cost of maintaining two sets of laws. Perhaps it is prudent to eliminate tax loopholes that let civil union couples pay lower taxes than civil married couples, or avoid costly court battles over equality.

Whatever the reason, if you truly want lawmakers to focus on the economy, then the most expeditious thing to do would be to sign S. 115 into law. Otherwise all you are doing is wasting their time and yours by vetoing change that is inevitable.

I wish you would take the financially prudent, least obstructive and morally correct action and sign S. 115.

Sincerely,

Letter to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas – Postponing Inevitable

Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

April 5, 2009

RE: Civil marriage bill S.115

Dear Governor Douglas,

In 2006 you vetoed a civil rights bill banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity by employers, financial institutions, housing, public accommodations, and other contexts, and then you signed it in 2007. And you were reelected.

Now you have a chance to sign S. 115, a civil rights bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by the state in the context of marriage. You have said that you will veto it. That just doesn’t make any sense to me. Why should Vermonters have to wait for civil rights when it is just sitting on your desk?

It’s time for a change of heart. Please sign S. 115 and end civil apartheid in Vermont.

Sincerely,

Letter to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas – Republicans Change

Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

April 4, 2009

RE: Civil marriage bill S.115

Dear Governor Douglas,

When I heard that you were planning to veto the civil marriage bill S. 115, I recalled that many other Republicans have had a change of heart about this issue. Maybe it’s not too late for you.

We all know about Vice President Dick Cheney’s quote ”freedom means freedom for everyone,” John McCain stating that “The constitutional amendment [banning gay marriage] strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans,” and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders who refused “to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage than anyone else.”

Even California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that he would have signed our version of S. 115 if it was legally possible for him to do so.

I wish you would do the Republican thing: get Government out of our personal lives. Make Government smaller. Let individual people make individual decisions. And sign S. 115.

Sincerely,

Letter to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas – Righteous Republicans

Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

April 3, 2009

RE: Civil marriage bill S.115

Dear Governor Douglas,

The mayor of San Diego was about to veto a bill very similar to S. 115, a statement in support of same-sex marriage in California. He wound up signing it. He said:

For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community. As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night I could just not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage than anyone else simply because of their sexual orientation.

It is not too late for you to consider what message you are sending if you veto S. 115. I would be disappointed if you chose to tell some Vermonters that they are less deserving of their religious freedom simply because of their sexual orientation.

Sincerely,

Attachment: Mayor Sanders’ statement

Mayor Jerry Sanders’ Statement on the City Council Resolution Supporting Same Sex Marriage

“With me this afternoon is my wife, Rana.

“I am here this afternoon to announce that I will sign the resolution that the City Council passed yesterday directing the City Attorney to file a brief in support of gay marriage.

“My plan, that has been reported publicly, was to veto the resolution, so I feel like I owe all San Diegans right now an explanation for this change of heart. During the campaign two years ago, I announced that I did not support gay marriage and instead supported civil unions and domestic partnerships.

“I have personally wrestled with that position ever since. My opinions on this issue have evolved significantly, as I think the opinions of millions of Americans from all walks of life have. In order to be consistent with the position I took during the mayoral election, I intended to veto the Council resolution. As late as yesterday afternoon, that was my position.
“The arrival of the resolution, to sign or veto, in my office late last night forced me to reflect and search my soul for the right thing to do. I have decided to lead with my heart, to do what I think is right, and to take a stand on behalf of equality and social justice. The right thing for me to do is to sign this resolution.
“For three decades, I have worked to bring enlightenment, justice and equality to all parts of our community. As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night, I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage, than anyone else — simply because of their sexual orientation.

“A decision to veto this resolution would have been inconsistent with the values I have embraced over the past 30 years. I do believe that times have changed. And with changing time, and new life experiences, come different opinions. I think that’s natural, and certainly it is true in my case.

“Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative. Those beliefs, in my case, have since changed. The concept of a “separate but equal” institution is not something that I can support.

“I acknowledge that not all members of our community will agree or perhaps even understand my decision today. All I can offer them is that I am trying to do what I believe is right. I have close family members and friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. Those folks include my daughter Lisa, as well as members of my personal staff. I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones, for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back, someone with whom they can grow old together and share life’s experiences. And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I couldn’t look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships — their very lives — were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana. Thank you.”

Letter to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas – Civil Sameness

Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

April 2, 2009

RE: Civil marriage bill S.115

Dear Governor Douglas,

You have said that Vermont’s civil union law has extended the same state rights, responsibilities and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples.

I invite you to dissolve your marriage with Dorothy and replace it with a Civil Union.

If that is unappealing to you then I suggest that you “do unto others” and sign S. 115 to end marriage apartheid in Vermont.

Sincerely,