Category Archives: marriage

prop 8 ruling

The California Supreme Court announced today that it will uphold Prop 8’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. After hearing the rather dismal oral arguments, I wasn’t surprised, but it’s still a blow, still disappointing. I suppose the silver lining here is that our marriage still stands, and the marriages of those others who married before election day still stand, but that is little consolation for those who have yet to meet and fall in love or those who were unable to marry for other reasons. It feels strange to be part of this small exception.

Neither J nor I have the energy to fight now, and frankly, there is nothing to be done until we get this on the ballot again. For now, we’re choosing to be selfish, choosing to focus on our family and our stability. Sometimes, we just can’t be activists.

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Filed under marriage, Prop 8

don’t divorce us

Don't divorce us!

Don't divorce us!

I haven’t mentioned the Prop 8 mess in awhile. We had to keep our distance for some time in order to attend to life, but the Supreme Court will soon be hearing oral arguments–March 5th, in fact.

While Prop 8 stopped any future marriages from happening in California, it didn’t succeed in nullifying the marriages occurring before election day. Now, Ken Starr is heading efforts to make sure that our marriages are indeed nullified. They want to divorce us.

In response to these efforts, the Courage Campaign has produced the following amazing video. Warning: It may make you cry.

After watching the video, consider signing the Courage Campaign’s petition here. (The video is also available there if you can’t, for some reason, watch it here.)

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Filed under marriage, Prop 8

as promised–a rally story, with pictures

img_1896On Saturday, J and I got up and drove to Sacramento in the morning to go to what was hoped to be a rather large rally on the steps of the state capitol building. I spent a good deal of my teenage years hanging out and causing trouble in downtown Sacramento, so I looked forward to sharing my old stomping grounds with J. In fact, once I skipped class and attended a Gulf War protest at the capitol. These were my early days of “activism,” my desire to be part of some cool hippie movement. I honestly had no idea what I was doing.

But now we’ve got the real thing, so J and I booked a hotel room, selected a bunch of gay musicians for the drive, made some food, and loaded up the car. We were ready to go. Arrival was simple. The hotel let us check in three hours early, which allowed us time to deposit our things and go for a little walk over to the capitol to scope things out and see if anyone was there yet. 

On our way back, we walked through this beautiful alleyway.

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We stopped for coffee and encountered all kinds of gay couples fueling themselves up for the rally. There were also wonderful leaves all over the ground and topping the outdoor tables. It was some sort of urban autumn wonderland. I am a lover of fall, and I was in heaven.

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At this point, we were closing in on 1:00, and we wanted to get down to the rally early enough to find a little slice of lawn, so we grabbed some snacks, picked up our new and improved rally signs, changed into the t-shirts I made for us (complete with a rainbow fist on the front and our wedding date on the back), and walked on down to the capitol again. By then, people were starting to gather. We set up our blanket near another lesbian couple, and rested for a bit.

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As we sat there, people were starting to gather. One woman had an altar of sorts set up amidst the steps of img_1910the capitol, and she was burning sage, drumming from time to time, and playing a didgeridoo. She started playing the thing around the outskirts of the forming crowd, and came and blew it at our backs. I can’t say that I have had that experience before. As she was wrapping things up, the crowd was starting to form. It was great watching people walk by. Kids were carrying “I love my moms” signs; parents had signs about how much they loved their gay kids. It was really touching.

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Every once in awhile, someone would stop to photograph us, and occasionally, we would get up to photograph someone. It was that sort of day. Everyone wanted to document every moment of the event. People were cheerful, festive, and I think as mesmerized as we were by the huge crowd of people like us.

As we waited for the speakers to start, J encouraged me to get up and go for a walk. I encountered all kinds of people:

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img_1936No one can accuse us of being a drab community, now can they?

Soon it was time for the speakers to begin, and the crowd had grown quite huge. We picked up our blanket and joined the throngs. We were relatively close to the podium, but with everyone’s signs, it was difficult to see.

As the speakers started, there were many people milling about offering stickers for Day without a Gay and the like as well as white knots, black wristbands, flyers with coupons for drink specials at the after parties at the gay clubs downtown. It was almost festive with hints of both awe that we were all amongst our tribe and sadness that this is what it took to bring us together.

Gloria Allred was the first speaker. She was great and led us in some call and response thanking the Supreme Court. She was encouraging about the upcoming court battle and was generally good to listen to. Unfortunately, although we were close to the stage, we couldn’t see more than the occasional speck of anyone speaking because of the ever-changing sea of signs in front of us.

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Honestly, all of the speakers were good, but the highlight of the day was hearing Margaret Cho talk. Before she showed up, the Dykes on Bikes had been circling the block on which the capitol sits, and it turns out she was just as enamored of them as we were. Here’s her talk and her song if you’re interested (I know, this post is embarrassingly multi-media):

The speakers kept coming, and we kept standing and yelling, and shaking our signs. Occasionally, I had to step away to get a sense for the size of the crowd, and to take photos. This one attempts to show just how big it was from the street:

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 By the time the speakers were finished, we had been standing in one place for a few hours, and we were ready to move. Luckily, it was time to march. The march took place around the State Capitol Park. img_1983We were toward the front of the group. Each time we rounded a corner and caught a glimpse of the crowd behind us, it was breathtaking. Unfortunately, none of the photos really does it justice, but we wound around the entire Capitol Park–all 5000 of us.

There were all kinds of law enforcement, following us in squad cars, lining the interior of the park on horses and bikes. Others were simply standing there. Many of us thanked them as we passed. It was somehow reassuring to have them there. We knew they were there to protect us just as much as they were there to enforce the law.

Upon returning to the start point, J and I stopped and watched everyone filter back in to the West Side of the Capitol building.

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Drivers were honking for us, and the crowd was electric. Dance music was playing over the huge speakers as we came back in, and people started dancing on the steps of the Capitol. J joined them.

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The energy was wonderful. People danced and cheered. Didgeridoo lady started drumming (she was multi-talented).

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And soon the MC called it all to a close, inviting all of us to come down to gay town and buy her shots of tequila.

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We were tuckered out, but energized. We said goodbye to the Capitol, grabbed our signs, and headed back to our hotel. As we sat in the lobby enjoying a beer (yes, I did have a beer, the bad TTCer that I am), several different gay folk walked by giving us thumbs up or cheering. It seemed the whole of downtown Sacramento had turned into gay town with people driving by waving rainbow flags from their cars.

It was a remarkable time, and I am forgetting to include so much here, but there is really only so much I can say. It is not a day I will soon forget, and sadly, there will have to be more days like these in the months and years to come. We are glad to be a part of history, glad to have joined our tribe to celebrate and mourn and stand in solidarity fighting for our marriage rights.

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 If you made it this far, and you haven’t yet seen enough photos, there are more to be seen on my Flickr account to the left. It was really a beautiful event to photograph.

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Filed under marriage, Politics, rallies

we’re here. we’re queer.

J and I woke up this morning feeling a little ambivalent about driving forty minutes to go to a Join the Impact rally. It would mean we would have to hop out of bed and into the shower without coffee or tea or making signs. She grabbed my computer for me and told me to think about it as I lay in bed sipping tea. We could always show up late. We didn’t have to stay, but at the same time, I was still sick. We were leaning toward staying home.

But then we hopped onto the Join the Impact website, and lo and behold, our little town was suddenly joining in as well. We decided we could easily stop to get some poster board and head to our city hall. In fact, because there were only three of us out holding signs on election day, we figured the crowd here would be tiny and that we had an obligation to add to the numbers.

So we left for downtown, grabbed sign-making supplies, and set up shop on a bench for a few moments.

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Within moments, the signs were complete, and we were ready to join the growing group of people.

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So far, there were only about ten of us, but ten was better than nothing. Before long, though, people were showing up with flags (rainbow, HRC, American, queer American, etc.) and signs and dogs and children. Our little group grew to a crowd of over a hundred! I honestly had expected no more than a dozen, and I was glad to be proven wrong.

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The atmosphere was great. People were excited to be there. All of us were pissed off but positive. There were plenty of straight people there. One straight family was there with their little boy, and they were trying to explain to him that everyone deserves the right to be married. We had many people honking and waving as they drove by, and there were very few people out spreading any hate–a few–but not enough to affect us in the least.

J and I stood together for most of the rally holding a sign that read, “We want our marriage back!”

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We made others too, including “<3 +<3 = marriage,” “End H8 Politics Now,” and “Bigotry Sucks! Ask me how I know.” We were glad to have extras because various people came and joined the rally and wanted signs. One old woman who could barely walk with the assistance of her walker came to join us. Teenaged girls came and held signs. It was pretty remarkable.

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There was at least one local newsperson there–a photographer. We don’t know which paper she was from, but she took many photos of J and I, so we anticipate appearing in a local paper again tomorrow. That’s fine. We can do that.

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Ultimately, while I’m exhausted and in desperate need of a nap, I’m so glad we went. We’re already planning a trip to Sacramento for next Saturday’s giant rally because it feels a hell of a lot better to go scream with others than it does to sit on the sofa pissed off.

And the best part of the day? When we got home, a sperm tank was waiting by our front door. This is going to be a better week.

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Filed under marriage, Marriage Equality Resources, Prop 8

on california boycotts

I have had a couple of comments here urging me to boycott California products and services or urging me to buy products in Massachusetts instead of my home state. And while I respect those who are making such suggestions and the fact that they want to make a difference, these are, unfortunately, highly problematic suggestions for a few reasons:

1. I live in California. To purchase products and services in other states is virtually impossible. Am I to send my car to Massachusetts to have it smogged? Am I to fly to Connecticut for my next haircut? Should I take a train to Canada to shop for groceries? I’m sorry folks, but those of us living in California need to buy local products for many reasons, one of those being simple practicality. It is not practical–or even rational–for me to boycott products in my hometown and state. 

2. Considering how much travelling and shipping I would have to do, buying goods and services outside of my state would be incredibly ecologically irresponsible. I am not willing to increase my carbon footprint for the very minimal statement my purchase would make.

3. If I were to boycott local goods and services from my state, I would be hurting my already ailing local and state economy. Our state is in a major budget crisis. As Californians, our schools are in trouble; our hospitals, fire departments, and all social services department are hurting. Our businesses are hurting. We as individuals are hurting. When people stop buying our goods and services, no statement is made about same-sex marriage. Instead, we citizens are just made to suffer more.

4. Many business owners in California are gay or gay friendly. I am proud to support these businesses and others should be too. Many of these business owners gave a significant amount of money to the No on 8 campaign, and many of these people continue to fight for our rights. Our hairstylist talked numerous people into voting No on 8. She’s not gay, but she does support us. Some of my favorite bars, restaurants, and wineries are owned or operated by gay people. I’m not about to punish them for something they fought against. No way.

5. Nearly fifty percent of Californians voted no on Prop 8. There are others who support our cause who did not vote for one reason or another. I am not willing to harm those of us who were against this initiative to make a statement, and I would urge others to avoid hurting them as well. When boycotting California goods and services, how are you to know what the business-owner’s politics or sexual orientation may be? This is just too risky.

6. Such a boycott is misdirected. Boycotting goods and services in California won’t do a thing to help our cause. It will harm individuals; it will harm our state social services, but how are businesses to know that you’re boycotting them because you support same-sex marriage? It’s just not a reasonable response.

There is other talk about boycotts. Boycotting businesses owned and operated by the LDS church may help a bit more than trying to punish 52% of Californians the way they did; working to repeal the LDS church’s tax-exempt status (see the link under Activism on the right) may be even more effective. John Aravosis over at Americablog is suggesting we boycott tourism in Utah, but this too may hurt those many families who may have had nothing to do with this.

All of this is problematic. I guess I’m not much of a punitive activist because I don’t see it working to make change. The major funding behind Yes on 8 came from the LDS church, but there were church members who quietly opposed this, even wards who opposed what the church was asking them to do. So do we hurt everyone who is LDS because we are angry and hurt?

I’m inclined to say that we need to work this from a positive perspective. What can we do to change people’s hearts? I know, for one, that we could use more exposure. So many people think of gay folks and images from pride parades flood their brains. They think about drag queens and people in leather, and while I don’t have any sort of problem with drag or leather, I do think that these images are unusual and even scary to people who don’t know any gay people. Perhaps if they saw that the majority of us are relatively normal people, they would begin to shift. I know that when Gavin Newsome began issuing marriage licenses in San Francisco in 2004, people were so surprised to see the gay couples on TV. I heard people say, “They’re so normal!” “Wow, they have kids like we do!” and so many other comments that led me to believe these people just don’t have regular exposure to queer folk.

One action J and I have taken is to be publicly out–with our students, with our community. We’ve never been particularly closeted, but there have been so many times when we have wanted to hold hands in public but haven’t. Now we do. We have both taught so many classes, avoiding any mention of a pronoun in reference to our partners; no more. J actually brought our wedding album to share with her students on Thursday just to give them a face to place on this initiative. My students on Wednesday, after I came out to them Monday, offered their condolensces and expressed their disappointment in fellow Californians. Visibility is important, and it’s something we never had through the No on 8 campaign.

There are so many more actions we can take. Please, feel free to share any positive actions you have taken or positive actions you would suggest taking to help work toward same-sex marriage and adoption rights throughout our country.

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Filed under marriage, Marriage Equality Resources, Politics

it’s official. hate and intolerance won.

Thank you for all of the warm and caring responses on the last post. This is a rough time, and it’s helpful to see these words of yours, to feel the intention behind them. You all are really lovely people.

I received an email from the No on 8 campaign that states, “[W]hile the election was close, and millions of votes still remain uncounted, it has become apparent that we lost.”

We knew that was coming, but it hits even harder now that it’s here. I cannot believe our state has done this. My mom called me last night in tears, just devastated for us, hurting for us. She told me all kinds of scary stories–how one supporter of 8 on television declared, “I’m votin’ YES, ’cause I don’t want them to make me marry a man!” I apparently didn’t get the memo that same-sex marriage was the law of the land once it was legalized. We have a lot of really ignorant people in this state. I am sad to know that they have so much power.

J and I are still struggling today. We don’t know what to do with this. We have two weddings to attend in the coming year, and one of these weddings, I am to officiate. They are heterosexual weddings. I never thought I would find it difficult to attend a heterosexual wedding, but it’s hard to think about these. We’ll still go through with them of course–one is my brother’s wedding and the other is the wedding of two of our best friends–but the knowledge that these are coming up is difficult to handle. It may very well turn out that I will be marrying my friends when my marriage has been made illegal. I never imagined that would happen, and I just can’t think about that right now.

We are hearing so many conflicting comments about the status of our own marriage. For now, it’s safe, but it may not be for long. The supporters of Prop 8 fully intended to nullify any marriages that took place between June 16th and now, so it is expected that they will challenge the Attorney General soon to make sure that we don’t have our marriages. These people aren’t gong to stop until they have stripped us of this right completely. Hell, at this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if they went after domestic partnership too. It makes me sick, utterly sick to even write this out, but they find us that reprehensible, that inhuman.

I don’t know how we move on from this. We can’t afford attorneys to fight this. Essentially, we have to sit back and watch, and that is not something I’m comfortable with. Instead, I think we’ve both decided to block out the world a little and focus on ourselves and making our family. We’ll work on the health front, the job front, all of the things that need to be better and that we can actually do something about. And maybe we’ll find in a few months that the state Supreme Court has once again secured our marriage.

In the meantime, we’ll still be here.

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Filed under bigots, marriage, Prop 8

insult, meet injury

So much for that trifecta. Not only does it still appear that 8 is passing, but I’m also decidedly not pregnant.

I started spotting yesterday, tested this morning, and my period has definitely arrived. Nice.

As for Prop 8, it still hasn’t been called. The No on Prop 8 website states that the race is still too close to call, that the “Yes” side is about 400,000 votes ahead. They state that there are also between three and four million absentee and provisional ballots that have yet to be counted. They have no idea what the demographics of those voters might be. I don’t know. The realist in me tells me to brace for the worst. I don’t know what will happen to our marriage. I just don’t know.

I’m saddened, too, by the hate-filled initiatives that were passed in other states: Both Florida and Arizona passed amendments to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and Arkansas has banned adoption and foster parenting by anyone but married people (they obviously don’t allow same-sex marriage).

Our nation made great strides last night toward racial equality, but we still have so very far to go.

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Filed under marriage, negatives, Politics