Open Letter Response to Senator Leno and SR7

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Senator Leno,

In a recent letter to one of your constituents, you made a case for the reasoning behind authoring SR7 in direct violation of the public’s trust.  With all due respect, your office has some explaining to do to the Republic of California, for betraying that trust.  Our Constitution, which you are sworn to protect and uphold begins with this opening statement:

“We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.”

Our Constitution was established by the people of California.  The Legislature was established by the people of California, as was the Governorship and the Judiciary.  This government was entirely established by the people, and as the Constitution itself states:

“All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.”

Your duty and honor as an elected member of the Legislative body is to act as an agent for the voice of the people.  You are trusted with the responsibility not only to enact law on behalf of the people, but to also respect law duly enacted by the voice of the people, yet you, in connection with your cohorts in the Legislature, have instead continued to seek to thwart the will of the people, while unscrupulously claiming to uphold it.   In your letter, you wrote that proposition 8 was

“…a structural change to the Constitution, rather than an amendment…”

yet you know full well that a revision requires a “substantial change” to the “underlying principles” of the entire constitution.  Applying the historic definition for marriage to all citizens equally constitutes a valid amendment.  Article 2, Section 8 of the state Constitution clearly sets forth the initiative process as a valid means of amending the Constitution. Codifying the definition of marriage via Proposition 8 was a proper amendment to our state Constitution.

Proposition 8, which supports marriage for all legal adults regardless of distinction, grants access to the institution of marriage for all citizens equally, yet you write that Proposition 8 is not an equal law, but seeks to:

“…eliminate the fundamental right of marriage for a particular minority group on the basis of a suspect classification – sexual orientation….”

This twisted and divisive language attempts to inflame raw emotion rather than expose actual truth.  The definition of marriage is applied to all citizens, regardless of race, color or any other division.  Just as same-sex individuals may not call their relationship marriage, so heterosexuals may not engage in polygamous relationships and call them marriage.  There has never been a fundamental right to change the definition of any word, including marriage.

Claiming that proposition 8 violates, rather than upholds “Equal Protection” for all citizens, you wrote that it

…would substantially alter our basic governmental plan by eliminating equal protection as a structural check on the exercise of majority power…by permitting majorities to force groups defined by suspect classifications to fight to protect their fundamental rights under the California Constitution…”

You imply that some minority is under attack, yet you know that Proposition 8’s amendment applies the definition of marriage equally, to heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals and all legal adults.  All groups have equal access to marriage regardless of sexual orientation.

To be clear:  ANY adult in California can be married regardless of sexual orientation. NO adult in California may call a relationship marriage unless it is an exclusive relationship with another adult of the opposite sex who is not a close relative. Defining marriage does not exclude any group of people, it applies equally for all groups.

Equal Protection under the Constitution requires laws be applied regardless of an individual’s characteristics or situation, just as justice is administered blindly.  A modification of the definition of the word marriage to include the actions of one special interest group subverts the idea of equal protection.   Proposition 8 as it is written is actually the perfect example of a law that applies equally to all citizens.

In this case, you have not only failed to uphold your oath to the people and the people’s Constitution, but your actions have gone beyond your jurisdiction to even encourage other branches of the government to act in collusion with you in order to thwart the twice declared will of the people.  You write that your proposed resolution (SR7) would:

“…put the Senate on record that Proposition 8 did not follow the proper process and should be overturned as an invalid revision to the California Constitution. SR 7 would safeguard the integrity of our constitutionally required checks and balances…”

Far from safeguarding the integrity of our system, in a clear violation of the separation of powers, you are asking the Legislature to tell the Judiciary how to rule.  Is attempting to influence the Judiciary “proper process” Senator?  This is not in support of the separation of powers, it is in direct violation of the separation of powers; powers given to you by the very people you seek to forcefully disenfranchise with this bill.

This effort is a slap in the face of millions of California’s citizens.  Democracy is watching, Senator.

Using this issue to inflame divisions in our state for your own political benefit, witnesses to your closing remarks in the SR7 hearing reported that you went so far as to liken your state’s voters to Germans who supported the Nazi regime prior to World War II!

“It is stunning to hear a California senator compare good, decent Californians to Nazis,” stated Karen England, President of Capitol Resource Institute, who was present at the hearing. “How dare an arrogant senator compare the political battle over homosexual marriage to the horrors of Nazi Germany. Senator Leno should apologize to the millions of voters who supported Proposition 8. And he should stop using such inflammatory, hateful language.

Proposition 8 promotes clarity and equality as a valid constitutional amendment, duly voted in according to law and democratic process.  It is not a sleight of hand or twist of semantics aimed at any one group, major or minor.  It is an explicit affirmation of marriage as an institution, equally applicable to all Californians regardless of distinctions.

We as Californians are outraged that our lawmakers continue to muddy the issues with inflammatory and inaccurate dramatics, crafted to enrage, divide, and subvert the people’s will in choosing how they are governed.  We call on you and all other esteemed lawmakers entrusted with governing our great state, to uphold and support the law of the people.

With All Sincerity,

The People of California

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10 Comments

  1. ruby said,

    February 26, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    great letter, thank you.

  2. beetlebabee said,

    February 26, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I just molded together everyone’s statements from yesterday’s thread. It’s kind of like everyone’s letter. That’s why I didn’t sign it from me. You guys did a great job with it yesterday.

  3. Allia M. said,

    February 26, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    He really said that with the whole Nazi thing? Good grief!

  4. James R. said,

    February 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I like this:

    “Proposition 8’s amendment applies the definition of marriage equally, to heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals and all legal adults. All groups have equal access to marriage regardless of sexual orientation.”

    That kind of nails the whole emotional “It’s all about ME!!!” argument, and I think the idea that the majority is tyrannizing a minority was well addressed. Marriage excludes no one, you can choose to exclude yourself, but that’s your choice.

  5. February 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    They key here is to remember that the word marriage has a meaning. By defining a word you necessarily say what it is and what it is not, you divide the world into two parts – those parts that are included in the name and those parts that are excluded in the name. The process of definition is the process of exclusion. Just as “childbirth” excludes adoption, “marriage” excludes same sex civil unions, it’s just not the meaning of the word.

  6. Clay A. Sacramento said,

    February 26, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Great letter. Marriage is not a “right”. It is my understanding is that is a privilege, granted by the state yet performed by religious authority or a Justice of the peace. The state getting involved in changing the definition of marriage sounds like a violation of church and state to me.

    the ONLY reason the homosexual community wants the “right” to call their civil unions by the name marriage is to legitimize the behavior. They are FREE to do whatever they want to do, and call things what ever they want. I do not hate anyone. What they CANNOT do is force me to condone the behavior, or force my children to be taught to do the same. And certainly not with my taxpayer money.

    I can respect for the gay community to live, and practice and believe whatever they want. That is a right to all granted by the federal and state constitutions. And the very foundation of our democracy. They however cannot take away my rights by forcing me to accept their behavior or lifestyle (Which in itself implies choice) as acceptable

  7. February 26, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    […] Babee posted this letter to her site last night in response to the letter her friend received from Senator Leno’s office […]

  8. James P. said,

    February 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    As a member of that second largest group to be exterminated during the Nazi reign of terror, I have to say that watching you all descend on Sacto and on our representatives with such glee to deprive others of equal rights under the law, however you mask your arguments, is not at all comparable to the lack of action by German citizens to defend and protect their countrymen – they say back and let it happen, whereas you people actively campaign to hurt your fellow citizens.

    But let me ask you this, will you sit quietly by when the word marriage is removed altogether from the legal lexicon?

    And will you sit by quietly the next time this issue makes it to the ballot and your hateful discrimination is overturned?

    At least own your despicable actions, and call them what they are … or is it that you know deep down that in a few more years you and your movement will be remembered by another generation with the same disbelief we view the opponents of past civil rights struggles …

  9. beetlebabee said,

    February 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    James, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to smilingly disagree with you here. There is nothing in what you have to say that makes me think that you have families’ best interests in mind whatsoever. The fact that a group has enemies doesn’t make it right. I have enemies, you have enemies, we all do. So what? I don’t wear it as a badge with my hand out asking for special protections or privileges. Why do you?

  10. OhGoddess said,

    June 3, 2009 at 10:05 am

    WELL SAID JAMES P!!
    “At least own your despicable actions, and call them what they are … or is it that you know deep down that in a few more years you and your movement will be remembered by another generation with the same disbelief we view the opponents of past civil rights struggles …”

    They are already being looked at this way by current generations, and will be by future generations, who are appalled and embarrassed by such blatant and despicable intolerance and thirst for oppression. But they, like most oppressors, can’t see beyond their own blinders and narrow point of view. It is up to us to keep the fight for equality and justice for all going, in just the same way others have done before us and will continue to after us for as long as oppression exists.

    This heterosexual stands up with her glbt friends, neighbors, citizens and strangers for equal rights for all, and we will prevail, because progress and equality always wins out in the end. They can prolong inequality but they won’t be able to make it stick in the end.


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