Posts Tagged ‘gay marriage’

8against8: Clare and Jack

October 27, 2008  |  essays, miscellany  |  2 Comments

Clare & Jack, September 2008.

Says Clare: “I am wearing a vintage dress and hat from the 30′s (note the vintage strappy heels as well ;), my daughter is wearing a vintage dress from the 50′s and Jack in wearing a super-fly new suit (yum!) . We have some domestic partner benefits here, and we creep closer and closer to legalization every year In Washington state, but we are not legal yet. Hopefully it will move up the coast from California.”

8against8: Holden and Femme

October 27, 2008  |  essays, miscellany  |  5 Comments

Femme is my Gender and Holden from Packing Vocals

Says Femme: “It was August 21st 2004, and getting married? It was (and is) fucking fabulous! The best day EVER. We had a churchful of family and friends cheering us on which was incredibly special. The public statement was infinitely more important than either of us had realised it would be. We would (and will) do it again in a heartbeat. Of course, it would be wonderful to be able to do it legally.”

8against8: Did we vote on YOUR marriage?

October 26, 2008  |  essays  |  No Comments

From the creator:

This is a personal video I made showcasing some of the best video clips and images since gay marriage became legal in California.

In May of 2008, the Supreme Court of California ruled the state was unconstitutionally discriminating against same-sex couples by denying them the “fundamental right to form of a family relationship”: i.e. MARRIAGE.

However, in November 3 states, including California and Arizona will be voting on amending their state constitutions to ban same-sex marriage. Florida’s ban would go further, and threaten domestic partnerships for unmarried couples, even if they’re heterosexual.

All of the images and video clips were from California… however, gay rights groups in either of the 3 states would surely appreciate any donation possible.

8 Against 8: 8 lesbian bloggers – 8 days – raising as much money as we can to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote NO on Prop 8!

8against8: Saving Marriage (documentary)

October 25, 2008  |  essays, reviews  |  No Comments

Saving Marriage film trailer:

About the film, from Saving Marriage (the movie) website:

Masschusetts is First

In a historic decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court makes that state the first in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

That puts Massachusetts at the front lines in a war now raging throughout America. On one side are those who believe marriage is a civil right that all couple should have. On the other are people who believe it is a sacred institution reserved for a man and a woman.

Both sides believe they are right. And both sides believe they are saving marriage.

The Political Firestorm

The court ruling allowing gay marriage causes a public outcry that pushes legislators to propose a constitutional amendment that would override the decision and take gay marriage away. Suddenly, the lawmakers find themselves enmeshed in a passionate debate pitting civil rights against tradition.

On the day of the vote, just a few feet from the legislative chamber, thousands of demonstrators from both sides pack the Statehouse to capacity, screaming and singing until they have no voices left. Thousands more spill outside.

At midnight, when legislators cast their vote, the gay marriage advocates suffer a crushing defeat, as the amendment is approved by a razor-thin margin. Gay marriage is one step closer to being made illegal again.

The Fight Continues

But there is still hope. To become law, the amendment must withstand a second vote in eighteen months. For everyday people, the political has become personal, and they intensify their efforts to defeat the amendment.

Two months later, and many months before the second vote is held, the court’s decision goes into effect. Gay and lesbian couples begin marrying all over Massachusetts, even though the pending amendment means their legal status remains in jeopardy.

Overnight, married gay couples become a reality, and people in this small New England state begin to re-examine how they view same-sex relationships.


I haven’t actually seen this film – if you’ve seen it, please do leave a comment and what you thought about it, or write it up on your blog and leave a link.

8 Against 8: 8 lesbian bloggers – 8 days – raising as much as it takes to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote NO on Proposition 8!

8against8: Tying the Knot (documentary)

October 25, 2008  |  essays  |  No Comments

This is part a series (2 of 3) of trailers & write-ups about documentary films about gay marriage.

Watch the trailer for the Tying the Knot documentary:

Reprinted from the Tying the Knot website:

When a bank robber’s bullet ends the life of police officer Lois Marrero, her wife of thirteen years, Mickie, is honored as her surviving spouse but denied all pension benefits. When Sam, an Oklahoma rancher, loses his beloved husband of 22 years, long-estranged cousins of his late spouse try to lay claim to everything Sam has. As Mickie and Sam’s lives are put on trial, they are forced to confront the tragic reality that in the eyes of the law their marriages mean nothing. From an historical trip to the Middle Ages, to gay hippies storming the Manhattan marriage bureau in 1971, Tying the Knot digs deeply into the past and present to uncover the meaning of civil marriage in America today.

TYING THE KNOT is a journey through 5,000 years of history with marriage in mind. Didn’t princes and princesses used to live happily ever after? Author EJ Graff corrects some myths and fairy tales that the Extreme Right has been spinning as of late.

For example, did you know:
• Marriage has been a constant battleground and has changed many times to reflect the values of society?
• Marriage had no religious significance even in the Catholic Church until the Middle Ages?
• Protestant churches have split a number of times over issues related to marriage?

Are these quotes from the 2004 Republican National Convention?
• “This sort of marriage is not in the best interest of children.”
• “God has a plan for marriage and this isn’t it.”
• “Allowing this kind of marriage will pave the way for all sorts of moral depravity.”

In fact, these arguments were made about marriage between a man and a woman. In TYING THE KNOT civil rights attorney Evan Wolfson tells the love story of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, who fought a long battle with the Commonwealth of Virginia for the right to marry. The year was 1962. Mildred was black and Richard was white, but their loving lives together were anything but simple.


I haven’t actually seen this film – if you’ve seen it, please do leave a comment and what you thought about it, or write it up on your blog and leave a link.

8 Against 8: 8 lesbian bloggers – 8 days – raising as much as it takes to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote NO on Proposition 8!

8against8: I Can’t Marry You (documentary)

October 25, 2008  |  essays, reviews  |  No Comments

This is a series (1 of 3) of trailers & write-ups about documentary films about gay marriage. There is a lot of information out there, a lot of activism happening around this issue, so much organizing. I’m getting overwhelmed researching it all. I’m trying to pass on the best stuff during this 8 Against 8 campaign.

I Can’t Marry You film trailer:

From the I Can’t Marry You website:

The 2003 documentary “I Can’t Marry You,” narrated by host Betty DeGeneres, explores same-sex marriage issues through the personal experiences of twenty gay and lesbian couples who have been in long-term relationships of 10-55+ years. Their poignant and powerful testimonies put faces to, and actual examples of, the painful impact of discrimination on our daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, parents, aunts and uncles, loyal friends, coworkers and tax paying neighbors.

This one-hour program features interviews with:
The twenty couples, their parents and children; Evan Wolfson, the prominent civil rights attorney of Freedom to Marry; John J. McNeill, Former Jesuit Priest and author of “The Church and the Homosexual;” Adam Aronson, of Lambda Legal; and the leaders of the New York Christian Coalition.

Filmmaker, Catherine Gray created this documentary to educate her own gay constituency about the importance of having these rights and to show us that gay and lesbian couples can have healthy, committed long-term relationships. She believes that education is the only way to affect change and win this civil right.

Gray shot the film in large and small cities across the country, including: New York City; Saugatuck, Michigan; Asheville, North Carolina; San Francisco; Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida. She felt it was important to represent diverse couples that vary considerably by age, ethnicity, religious and educational backgrounds.

Our film debuted in New York City at the GLBT Community Center to a sellout crowd.

“I Can’t Marry You” would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and organizations who gave their support, including: Human Rights Campaign, GLAD and Marriage Equality. Unfortunately, until the laws in our country change, marriage for same-sex couples is still a dream.

Buy “I Can’t Marry You” at Wolfe Video, top gay/lesbian-owned exclusive LGBT distributor of films, DVDs, and videos.


I haven’t actually seen this film – if you’ve seen it, please do leave a comment and what you thought about it, or write it up on your blog and leave a link.

8 Against 8: 8 lesbian bloggers – 8 days – raising as much as it takes to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote NO on Proposition 8!

Marriage is so gay*

October 24, 2008  |  essays  |  6 Comments

Last week, I dreamt of my future wife.

That’s a strange thing to write down and admit, actually, especially publically; but I thought exactly that when I woke: that was my future wife. I still know exactly how she tasted, smelled, how her waist felt in my arms.

I’m not sure how I feel about marriage, really. My mom has always said I should wait until I’m 30 to get married, and thinks too many people get married too young. I don’t really think the government should have anything to do with my personal relationships, and I don’t think the government should value certain kinds of relationships over others – one man + one woman? What about a triad, a lesbian couple, co-habiting straight men? Who cares how people make a household work, as long as they do?

But: I do believe in commitment, in stating publically that you love someone, in gathering friends & family in a ceremony that celebrates and affirms the difficulty, the support, the community around a relationship.

Since I came to be aware of the inequalities of queer relationships in the eyes of the law in, oh, I don’t know, high school? middle school?, it has just been a given that I couldn’t “actually” get married.

“Whatever,” I told myself. “Like I would get married anyway. Like I want The Church + The State involved in My Relationship.”

And the activist circles I ran in were skeptical of marriage as The Gay Rights Issue: “There is so much to be done!” we argued. “Marriage is such an issue of privilege. What about hate crime legislation, discrimination policies for the workplace, queer homeless youth, AIDS, suicide rates, the drinking/drug problems in the queer communities? What about foster kids and adoption and simply BEING KILLED because of gender and sexual orientation? What about cissexism and trans advocacy?”

Unfortunately, the momentum of queer activism isn’t necessarily in the radical queer youth & college students – it’s with the money. And mostly-white mostly-middle-class homos have already decided what The Gay Issue is: marriage.

It’s a symbol, really: not just a symbol for normalcy, but a symbol for a relationship. And that’s what is at the heart of this movement, the heart of the difference in sexual orientation: the right and ability to choose whom we love, with whom we partner.

While my personal beliefs are still a bit more radical than that, I’ve studied the history of social change enough to know that chnage happens gradually, in pockets, a little bit at a time. I also feel like gay marriage activism is a limited scope – like aiming for the mountaintop instead of the sky – because it still defines marriage as two people, right, we’re still talking about working within the monogamy system here. So while many of our poly friends are going “rah rah gay marriage! And PS, what about us?” the gay marriage activits are kind of saying, “Shhh, we can’t talk about your issues right now.”

But then again, it’s easier to go little-by-little than to overhaul the whole system. It’s a classic social change model conflict – after observing a system of oppression, do we a) work from within it to attempt to change it, or b) throw it out completely and start over? My radicalism wants marriage to be thrown out. I mean really, what good is it? But I feel the same way about other institutions that seem to matter to some feminist theorists and reclaimists, such as Christianity. I don’t personally have any investment in the system of Christianity, so I can’t imagine going inside of it to fix and change the oppression and hierarchical marginalizing structures that are in place – but others do have that investment, and are doing the work to include women in clergy, to research the history of more women saints, of queer history in the church, etc. Lesbian and feminist priests and nuns and churchgoers – what they find in the practice must be worth the work of reclaiming and rebuilding, for them.

Actually, I can draw a parallel here: for me, it is language. I am a poet at heart and never cannot be. People ask me why I use language they deem offensive – dyke, fag, pussy, cunt, slut, butch, femme, queer – and I try to explain it is because I love these words. As if they were delicate glass boxes filled with mud, I pick them up from being buried in the compost heap and wash them, dig the dirt from their creases, make their silver shine, make them see-through again. I am invested in the system of language, even though within it -built into the very makeup – is a hierarchy that says certain people are better, best.

Which brings me to my next point: words. Of course “marriage” is not the same thing as “civil union” or “domestic partnership” – the words are different. “Beautiful” is not the same thing as “cute” or “gorgeous” or “attractive” or “stunning” or “elegant” or “handsome,” right? Those all have slightly different connotations, even if their definitions are overlapping and very similar.

I am a poet. I’ve worked hard to say that sentence. I eat words for breakfast and fall asleep with book after book open on my pillow. I theorize language and meaning and definitions and semantics, revive words that are suffering, influse love and equality and value where I can.

It doesn’t matter how many rights there are in a “civil union” or “domestic partnership,” they will never be marriage, because they are not the same word.

Period.

Mark Twain wrote, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

It is the difference between fire, and a firefly.

Words are not some static, fixed thing. They are living, they have lives and evolutions, they are manifestations of the culture from where they come, in which they are used. We can change them. They do change and evolve and grow to suit the needs of culture – they reflect a culture, but they also shape a culture. A new concept, term, or phrase can define a movement, a change, activism.

Researching all this information about the state of gay marriage in my country recently has really got me thinking about my own future. I don’t come from a very traditional family, I’ve never thought I would have a very traditional wedding – bridesmaids, groomsmen, white dress, any of that. I’ve received some amazing, beautiful, moving photographs from queers over the last few days, and I find a part of me is craving to have some beautiful party, some celebration, where my love and I can costume up and wear cool clothes and be surrounded by our friends looking dashing.

So I have some ideas forming about what I’d do for my own ceremony. No real dealbreakers, just ideas that I like. Although I am really attached to the idea that our first dance would be choreographed – let’s hope my future wife knows how to swing. (Let’s also hope next time I’ll dream her phone number or URL, so I’ll figure out how to contact her.)


* I hate this common use of “gay” and not infrequently call people on it when I hear them say it. But the tension in this sentence – calling marriage “gay” – cracks me up. Kind of like the bumper sticker I saw at Little Sister’s Bookstore in Vancouver, BC many years ago, which read, “Straight people are so gay.” Hah!

8 Against 8: 8 bloggers – 8 days – as much money as we can raise to defeat Proposition 8 in California. Vote no on Prop 8!

8against8: Teri & Lisa

October 23, 2008  |  essays, miscellany  |  2 Comments


Ceremony wide, originally uploaded by mbax.

Teri and Lisa, in celebration of our love. Oct ’08

8against8: Ariel and Amy

October 23, 2008  |  essays, miscellany  |  No Comments

A couple photos from Ariel Levy’s wedding to Amy Norquist, as published in New York Magazine.

The accompanying article is The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook by Ariel Levy, and discusses Ariel’s process going up to the wedding, especially in buying the wedding dress.

And yes, this is kind of gratuitous eye candy, but I just adore that photograph of Ariel & Amy, they look so happy and so beautiful. (I also really love the idea of wearing a white suit at my own wedding.)

8against8 – 8 bloggers, 8 days, $8,000 – Vote NO on Proposition 8

8against8: Julie and Nikola

October 22, 2008  |  essays, miscellany  |  3 Comments

Your musical interlude during this week of activism against Proposition 8 is Comedian Julie Goldman’s music video “Commitment Ceremony.”

This so cracks me up. So clever, and such a subtle way to point out how commitment ceremonies are inherently unequal.

Comedian Julie Goldman married Nikola Smith in 2005 in Massachusetts, which, aside from California and Connecticut, also grants same-sex marriage rights.

(photo from Go Magazine)

… If you think Julie is hot and funny (and, uh, who wouldn’t?), also check out a great clip of her stand-up routine where she talks about shopping for her wedding.