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,

Letter to John Kanaley – Truth in Advertising and Opposition to Equality

Dear Mr. Kanaley:

I know that you have a lot to worry about with your election on Tuesday but you seem to have been quite critical of your opponents support of AB 43, the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act” without apparently understanding what the bill is about. It would be quite sad if voters elected somebody who opposed their freedom based on incomplete information.

I found this statement about AB 43 on your stump page http://www.lbreport.com/ads/37cong/kan2.htm where you said:

“This past June California Assembly members voted to legalize homosexual marriage, completely and arrogantly ignoring the will of California voters who, in March of 2000, passed Prop. 22 with 61.4% of the vote. That initiative called for the state to recognize marriage as only being between one man and one woman. 101 of 120 legislative districts voted for this initiative.”

The truth is a little bit complicated, but so is being an effective legislator:

Proposition 22 did not call for the state to recognize marriage as only being between one man and one woman. Our Family Code already did that in Section 300, which was changed from “persons” to “man and woman” by the legislature in 1977 and signed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Proposition 22 was designed and sold to prevent California from recognizing gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions. That’s what the campaign was about, and that’s what the voters passed. It enhanced section 308 which says we recognize marriages from other states and countries, to limit that recognition to heterosexual marriages.

As a Republican, you ought to support full marriage equality in fact and in name, since it not only reduces duplicative laws and entitlement programs, but also gets government out of restricting our freedom.

If you had read AB 43 you would know that it doesn’t conflict with Proposition 22 one single bit. I think Californians deserve a candidate who reads laws before criticizing them at least as much as they deserve representatives who are not opposed to equality.

Sincerely,

Today’s letter – States’ Rights

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

We passed Proposition 22 so we could make our own decisions about marriage.

It is time to exercise that right, and go where the Federal government won’t: when you get AB 43 , please sign it so same-sex couples can have all of the privileges of marriage – in fact and in name.

Sincerely,

What is AB 43?

AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, is a bill that would bring us one step closer to ending the special exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in California and providing freedom to churches who wish to perform the ceremonies.

The bill restores Sections 300 and 302 of the California Family Code to their pre-1977 language without touching Section 308.5 blocking foreign marriages that was installed by Proposition 22.

AB 43 is supported by more than 250 civil rights and professional groups, 46 of our 80 Assembly members and 22 of our 37 Senators.

The bill is on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk. He must sign or veto the bill before October 14, or it will pass into law on its own. If the bill becomes law, there will probably be an injunction pending the outcome of the marriage cases before the State Supreme Court.

He has vetoed a similar bill, AB 849, and has promised to veto this one too. His arguments have not changed: (1) the people voted for discrimination through Proposition 22 in 2000 and he cannot overturn the will of the people (2) the judiciary and the people need to work this out without the legislature (3) the bill is ineffective because of the pending cases in the Supreme Court.

I don’t believe these arguments hold up. Proposition 22 was about states rights and did nothing to change gay marriage in California. It was seven years ago and does not reflect the will of the voters that set up our Constitution and twice elected the legislature that passed AB 43. Finally, the bill may be ineffective at changing the law, however a signature will send a powerfully effective message about fairness.

The Governor has to know that his excuses are pretty lame. I guess he thinks a veto will win favor with his most active donors and the current crop of gay-haters in Washington, and by distracting people with Proposition 22 and “the will of the people” he can avoid doing what is right for the people in favor of what is right for himself.

It is embarrassing to have California come just a penstroke away from providing all their couples with the same rights. Overcoming prejudice was in California’s history, but now that mantle belongs to Massachusetts, Canada and Spain. It is horrible to have a Republican advocate higher taxes and additional government interference with individual lives. It is demeaning to have one person messing around with my family’s legal status to suit his political agenda.

I hope that I can change Governor Schwarzenegger’s mind, but even if I can only touch the minds and hearts of people who read my letters, I will have accomplished my goal.