An Open Letter to Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

As a politically active, college educated member of California’s gay community (the largest in the United States, I might add), it is with great frustration and sadness that I feel compelled to write you today with regard to AB 849, the bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

It is my sincerest hope that, prior to vetoing a bill that would dramatically impact the lives of millions of gay Americans, you are compelled to read the words of those this bill directly affects. Not the millions of straight Americans who feel legalized same-sex marriage weakens the potency and sanctity of marriage. Not politicians who throw their voice behind one side of the argument or another as a form of political role play. Rather the millions of gay Americans who are reminded daily by our government that even in a land where all men are created equal, we are still widely regarded as less.

While I understand and support your theory that our court system is an ideal forum to decide many issues facing the American people, in this instance, I must digress. Marriage is not a privilege America should afford those who are straight, in love and longing to tie the knot. It’s not an added bonus straight couples should automatically receive for crossing the threshold into adulthood and happening upon love.

Time and again, we’ve seen couples enter the sanctity of marriage for convenience, family pressure, unexpected pregnancy, tax benefits… the list continues. With the divorce rate sky high and thousands of Americas opting for common law relationships to avoid the so called “protections of marriage,” to remind gay Americans that legally, this is still a “privilege” they are not afforded is but one more in a life-long string of slaps in the face.

I am not in a relationship. I am not in love, nor do I even plan to marry in the near future. But should love come knocking at my door any time soon, I would like to think that my right and option as an American to pursue a relationship with the person of my choosing would not be limited by law and government.

This is a bill that affects gay Americans only. No straight relationship with suffer or wither for allowing same-sex marriage to flourish. It’s a moment in time, much like the Civil War, Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall, when politicians like San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Assemblyman Mark Leno are expected to rise to the occasion and add their list to a legacy of Americans who have changed this great nation for the better. It is with sincere hope that my future children will look back on this time and remember your name as an American who made a difference.

As I write this, I am reading preliminary reports that you are expected to veto this historic bill come afternoon, a mere 36 hours after it was passed. Out of respect to the great many for whom this bill is a life-affirming event, I urge you to please step back and think about how you want to be remembered – as a man who pioneered civil rights for a vocal, active and eager community or one who shied away from challenge and controversy at the expense of his own dignity.

With high hopes –

Ross von Metzke, N. Hollywood, CA