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An open letter to Barbara Boxer

February 20, 2004

Senator Barbara Boxer
1700 Montgomery Street, Suite 240
San Francisco, CA 94111

Dear Senator Boxer:

I am writing to express my extreme anger and disappointment at your position on same-sex marriage, and at your spurious rationalization for this position.

I would like to make it very clear that, contrary to your stated position, domestic partnership does not even come close to providing "the full rights and responsibility of marriage." I don't have space here to give you the entire extensive laundry list of specific rights and responsibilities that marriage affords and domestic partnership does not (although today's Chronicle has an article on exactly this subject, if you still profess ignorance of it). But I feel it's important to remind you of two.

First: My spouse and I (who married on Wednesday after six years of being a committed couple) cannot become domestic partners, since we don't currently choose to live together. There is no law requiring a man and a woman to live together to become husband and wife -- but the domestic parternship law invasively forces same-sex couples into this particular relationship choice if they want their partnerships to be recognized by the state of California.

Second, and more importantly, marriage is recognized in every state in the country, and every country in the world. Domestic partnership is not. My spouse and I cannot move freely about the country and the world and expect to have our partnership legally acknowledged. This is not merely a symbolic issue -- it affects hospital visitation rights, inheritance, insurance, taxes, and much more. Even if my spouse and I could become domestic partners in California, it would do us no good if we were in Mississippi and one of us became sick or injured.

I am even more disappointed and shocked with you given your previously good record on progressive social issues. I have voted for you in every election, and until you took this position, you were one of the last Democrats in the state that I felt I could support wholeheartedly. I find it impossible to believe that your statements on same-sex marriage actually reflect your real beliefs and opinions, and I can only assume that you have taken this position for craven political expedience. I am guessing that, along with many Democrats, you believe that you must take a "centrist" position on this issue in order to avoid alienating moderate voters. But I am telling you today that you are mistaken. It is this cowardly, weak-willed, cynical false pragmatism that has alienated people from the Democratic party, and made many voters and potential voters feel that the party does not represent us and never will.

And I am telling you today that you have permanently lost my vote. I will be giving my vote (and donating money if I can) to your Green Party opponent, in the next election and all future elections, for as long as you continue to oppose same-sex marriage. If you believe that gays and lesbians will continue to support you no matter what, simply because you're a Democrat and we have no choice, I am telling you today that you are gravely mistaken.

Shame on you.

Sincerely,
Greta Christina


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