Today’s letter – people who are unhappy with fairness

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I was astonished to learn that even the opponents of equality believe “domestic partnership” and marriage are in fact the same things.

Kentucky State Senator Vernie McGaha introduced legislation that would bar state agencies and schools from providing health insurance for the domestic partners of their employees, even when fully paid for by the beneficiaries. Sen. McGaha said that he was concerned about the erosion of the sanctity of marriage by the provision of domestic-partner benefits.

That the bill was defeated in committee was no surprise. State Senator Ernesto Scorsone explained “I think most Kentuckians believe if you are able to pay for the insurance, you ought to be able to buy it.”

What shocked me was that six of the fifteen committee members voted for the legislation, apparently considering simple domestic partnership benefits to be an offensive intrusion by the gays into the world of marriage. These people will not be happy until I am exterminated.

Governor, it is time to choose between encouraging marriage and encouraging intolerance. The voters of this state are on the verge of changing our Constitution to block people like me from forming partnerships. Whether this comes out nine to six or six to nine depends on your support. I wish you would tell the people that you support the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – a bad apple

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I believe it is part of our Governor’s job is to see what happens in other states so the best can be brought to California and the worst left where it is.

Kentucky has turned out to be a pretty perilous place to be gay. Even after a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004, things were looking up when a phone message by Pat Boone could not save the anti-gay Governor Ernie Fletcher from getting booted out of office, and state universities started offering partner benefits to all their employees – not just the ones who are allowed to marry.

But a bad tree bears bad fruit: Kentucky’s state Senate passed a bill 30-5 late last month to bar state agencies, including public universities, from granting any benefits for the partners of their lesbian and gay employees.

University presidents from eight Universities including the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and University of Louisville opposed the bill because they say it hurts recruitment efforts for researchers and professors. “If you want to compete with the best universities and the best corporations, you need to be able to offer the same types of benefits they offer,” according University of Louisville spokesman John Drees.

You must know and understand the cost of discrimination, Governor. If our Senate had brought a bill to your desk to specially exclude some people from our society and our economy because of what they are or what they believe, I have no doubt you would veto that. So why do you stop short of supporting the freedom to marry?

Please, Governor, leave the rotten apples in Kentucky and bring us into the 21st century with the most basic freedom: the freedom to marry.

Yours,

Today’s letter – not all Republicans hate gay people

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

I started out writing this letter intending to point out that there were a lot of Republicans who would let me get married to my partner of ten years.

We all know about Vice President Dick Cheney saying ”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.”

But then the trail ran dry. With all of the Congressmen and Governors who trust their careers to lesbian and gay staffers; all who attend official ceremonies where gay couples are treated as married people; all who talk about compassion, freedom and the value of the family – with all those people, I would think there would be more than three that support the freedom to marry over the oppression of a minority’s basic human rights.

I guess the kind of people that truly believe “freedom means freedom for everyone” either don’t become Republicans, or conveniently forget about their personal convictions when they step onto the campaign trail.

I wish that you would remember why you became a Republican – “free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military” – and like Mr. Cheney, Mr. McCain and Mr. Sanders, let me get married.

Yours,

Today’s letter – What’s Wrong with San Francisco?

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a Californian who is proud of his state, I am embarrassed by what happened in Kentucky. In a last-ditch effort to get their candidate re-elected, The Republican Party paid Pat Boone to record a warning that if the Democrat nominee is elected Governor, the state will become an awful place, “like San Francisco.”

Of course, Kentucky could be so lucky as to have the thriving economy, tourism and world-class reputation of San Francisco, but Ernie Fletcher’s reelection campaign makes it sound otherwise.

In the recorded message, sent to registered Republicans by telephone, Mr. Boone explains that “Ernie Fletcher is a typical Kentuckian, he’s worked long and hard for the state, its people, and its traditions … and now he faces a man who wants his job who has consistently supported every homosexual cause: same-sex marriage, gay adoption, special rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual, even transgender individuals. … you [don’t] want a governor who’d like Kentucky to be like another San Francisco. Please reelect Ernie Fletcher.”

I don’t know why, in 2007, people still seem to think that personal liberty is a bad thing, or that equal rights are special rights, but San Francisco deserves better.

As a fellow Governor and Republican, could you have a chat with Ernie Fletcher? Maybe you could explain if he didn’t bash minorities and focused on what he could do for the people instead of against the people, he would not have lost by a landslide. In contrast, Ernie’s apparent nemesis, Mayor Gavin Newsom, even survived a major scandal and was reelected.

Perhaps the next time your Republican Party consultants want you to go negative on the homosexuals, you might remind them of what happens when people go anti-gay. We wouldn’t want San Francisco to become a Kentucky.

Faithfully Yours,