SACRAMENTO — A California state legislator’s office allegedly replied to a solicitation for signatures on a “marriage protection pledge” with a hand-written note in capital letters: “You will burn in hell! See you there.”
The pledge, drafted by Campaign for California Families, was faxed on Dec. 11 to all 118 state legislators in both houses. Three days later, CCF’s courier hand-delivered the pledge, requiring a signature to confirm receipt. Every office signed to receive the delivery except 10, which rejected it. According to Randy Thomasson, executive director of the non-profit organization, a few offices that refused to sign told the courier they had received phone calls telling them not to sign the pledge.
On Dec. 15, CCF’s Director of Field Operations Andrea Franklin sent the pledge and an accompanying letter to the 10 legislators at their Capitol offices via certified mail.
“This is the first time in the history of CCF that Andrea Franklin had used her name in conjunction with CCF and our P.O. Box 782, Sacramento, CA 95812. Andrea’s name was the sender on all the certified mail cards,” Thomasson explained.
The certified mail arrived at the State Capitol and was signed for on Dec. 18. Then, on Dec. 28, an unmarked envelope from Sacramento, with a postmark matching other State Capitol postmarks, came to Andrea Franklin at CCF’s Sacramento address.
Addressed to “Herr Andrea Franklin” of the “California Nazi Party,” the note stunned CCF.
“This message of venom against families could have come from only 10 offices,” said Thomasson. “I’m not going to accuse any of sending this. However, the only way for any of these legislators to come clean and wash their hands of this hate mail is by signing the marriage protection pledge. If you’re against marriage between a man and woman, it’s only natural to want to send a message that is as full of sulfur as this one was.”
The marriage protection pledge states in part: “I, (legislator’s name), hereby pledge to protect and defend the institution of marriage in California. I pledge to support marriage and oppose all counterfeits to marriage with my votes in the California State Legislature.”
The 10 offices suspected of sending the hate mail reply are, in alphabetical order: Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Redondo Beach; Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn, D-Silicon Valley; Assemblyman Manny Diaz, D-San Jose; Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Los Angeles; Assemblyman Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach; Assemblywoman Sally Havice, D-Bellflower; Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach; Assemblywoman Barbara Matthews, D-Stockton; Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills; Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes, D-Fresno.
WorldNetDaily contacted each of the 10 offices, asking if they had sent the hate mail. Chris Forsythe, chief of staff to freshman member Diaz, denied that his office composed the note and said the response sounded like something Escutia would say.
“She’s got the personality,” he said, to send off the controversial note. Escutia is known in the capitol for her fiery responses and forceful attitude. “She could care less what those folks thought,” Forsythe added, referring to CCF.
Escutia’s office, however, denies sending the note. An aide commented that people in that office are “not that stupid.”
Likewise, Lowenthal’s spokesman John Casey denied the response came from his office. Lowenthal will not sign the pledge because it is “not along his ideological lines,” said Casey. “But it’s also not along his ideological lines to do that (send the hate mail.).” The assemblyman opposed Proposition 22, a state initiative defining marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. The measure passed with more than 61 percent of the vote last year.
On the record, all 10 offices denied being responsible for the inflammatory note. In fact, all but one office sounded genuinely surprised that the note was written. The one exception was Reyes’ office. WND’s call was answered using a speakerphone, and laughter could be heard in the background. The laughter continued until mention of CCF was made. At that point, background noise died down, and an aide said she would transfer the call to Reyes’ press secretary in the member’s district office. WND quickly stated the matter was specific to the Capitol office as it related to a piece of certified mail sent to that address. Nevertheless, WND was cut off and the transfer began, but the call was disconnected.
WND immediately called back, and the call was answered by an aide not employing a speakerphone. After WND described the note CCF received, the aide made no response indicating shock or surprise. Instead, the aide said she did not receive the certified mail.
“That wasn’t us,” she remarked. Then the aide said she was on vacation at the time the pledge had been sent and that the person handling mail while she was gone reported not receiving the certified letter.
The aide then said, “I can assure you we would not respond.” Asked how she could make such a claim when she had just said she was not even aware the office had received the mailing in question, she replied, “We would not respond negatively.”
The response of Reyes’ office, though puzzling, appears to be consistent with Thomasson’s encounters with the legislator and her staff. The activist recalled a conversation with Reyes’ staff on the last night of session in August.
“It was right in the middle of her Capitol office where I confronted her staff that Reyes had cast the deciding vote for homosexual curriculum. Her staff was very sarcastic and claimed that the bill had nothing to do with curriculum,” said Thomasson, who noted the bill in question was AB 1785. “It was leading up to a shouting match. They were not willing to study the bill. We pointed out that it affects curriculum, and they denied it. Reyes’ office certainly knows about us, and they certainly don’t like us. They don’t like the pro-family community.”
As reported by WND, CCF purchased seven full-page newspaper ads last session in Reyes’ Central Valley district, detailing her votes in favor of homosexual curricula. The ads were seen by newspaper readers among her constituency, generating negative response by voters. Proposition 22 passed in Fresno County by 76 percent and in Tulare County by 81 percent, both of which are in Reyes’ district.
CCF has proved a formidable opponent to legislators supporting pro-homosexual bills. The group embarked on a statewide tour last year, hosting rallies in which guest speakers and family activists called on Gov. Gray Davis to veto such legislation.
“We have not yet begun to fight,” said Thomasson. “We are calling on every Californian to demand that their state assembly representative and state senator sign the marriage protection pledge or else risk being labeled as anti-marriage,” Thomasson commented, adding that Democrats are not the only legislators being watched. “If there are Republicans who don’t sign this, they will be exposed.”
In the meantime, Franklin is dealing with what could classify as a hate crime.
“I was absolutely shocked,” she said. “So now I’m the woman from hell? I felt personally attacked and felt that everyone who supports marriage between a man and a woman is being told they’re going to hell, too. This hate-filled letter is an outrageous attack against marriage. The intolerance and hatred of the homosexual activists and their political friends has been revealed. This is too ugly for words.”