The WEDLOCK Project
Part One: ENGAGEMENT
Part Two: PDA (Public Displays of Acceptance)
Part Three: MATRIMONY

Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

Jul 5 2011

Legal in NY – the Times Questions Monogamy:

This article in the New York Times Magazine was a 7-page spread:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/03/magazine/infidelity-will-keep-us-together.html

Believe it or not I tend to agree with Dan Savage – on a lot of things, besides non-monogamy! And if more of us were honest about it in our culture, people like Anthony Weiner would not lose their jobs over it. Thank you Mark Oppenheimer for cracking this into a million pieces all coming back to COMMUNICATION!

Another publication – The Huffington Post, allowed this piece of op-ed bias to run in response to Oppenheimer’s NYT article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-shmuley-boteach/the-new-york-times-questi_b_890114.html

 

Feb 17 2011

Second Class in Indiana and Limbo in California

It seems like the cauldron of dissention against same-sex marriage is reaching a boil again in our nation. This week marked the announcement in California that the Supreme court would decide whether opponents of same-sex marriage in that state have a valid case to bring to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals with regard to Prop 8. You can read more here on the San Francisco Chronicle site.

In another interesting twist in this already over complicated case, the judge who wrote the latest statement regarding the consideration of appeal, Justice Stephen Reinhardt, is married to the executive director of the ACLU. He has so far denied motions for his removal from the case. Read more at the Merced Sun Star.

Tuesday House lawmakers in Indiana voted to change that state’s constitution to include the wording ‘any relationship “substantially similar”’ in their ban on same-sex marriage. (sources 365gay.com and the Indy Star). Though the amendment still has years to go and several votes in both houses of congress in Indiana before it is put to a final vote, the mere fact that it is even being considered is disturbing, not to mention confusing. It closes any possibility for protections for same-sex partners to be legally recognized. Further speculation might interpret the wording as making the mere act of living together for same-sex couples in Indiana illegal.

And rounding out the pro discrimination party this week: lawmakers in New Hampshire are scheduled to vote on whether or not to repeal their legal recognition of same-sex marriage. (Boston Globe), while Wyoming, already defining marriage as between one man and one woman, passed a law nullifying out of state same-sex marriages.

On the flip side.. Maryland legislators will most likely add that state to the list of same-sex marriage friendly states. Hawaii just voted in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples and is waiting for the governor to sign that bill into law.

Stay informed. Peace.

Aug 9 2010

A union of equals

From the website: religiondispatches.org

In his ruling striking down Prop. 8 as unconstitutional, Judge Vaughn Walker takes a mighty axe to that gnarled tree of marital gender roles and brings it down in just a few chops.

“Marriage between a man and a woman,” he writes in his findings of fact, “was traditionally organized based on presumptions of division of labor along gender lines. Men were seen as suited for certain types of work and women for others.”

Later, in his conclusion of law, he writes that over time marriage has moved away from a gendered institution into a union of equals and “toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles.” Such a move, he writes, “reflects an evolution of the understanding of gender rather than a change in marriage.”

To read Judge Vaughn’s entire ruling, please click thru to the following link:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2010/08/proposition-8-overturned.html

May 20 2010

14 Years for Love

In Malawi, today Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20 were sentenced to 14 years in jail for openly celebrating their commitment to one another in a ceremony last December. The BBC and other news agencies are just now reporting the case as the two men are hauled off to jail.

A friend on Facebook commented “Now aren’t we supposed to find the judge, or the prosecutor exiting the airport with a rentboy. Isn’t that how these things work.” As flip as that comment may be there is a kernel of truth in it. That being – that if these men had kept everything quiet and led lives that kept their love hidden from everyone they would be free. They would have gotten married to women, had “normal” lives and secreted their love away from the world.

Instead they chose to publicly declare their love for one another. They went against everything their society told them was “right” and did what they felt was RIGHT in their guts. They knew the right thing to do – for them. And now they are doing time in prison for an act that in all actuality would probably not have had much of an impact on anyone in their city, village or family. In imprisoning them the government of Malawi has done two things – On the one hand they have given us a new pair of faces in the global argument for same-sex equal rights. (We all know how the West, America especially likes to have a foreign, preferably third world face to personalize an issue in our own home territory). On the other, Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa has delivered a stern message to homosexual population of that country and other countries in Africa with similar legislation on the books. Besides the inhumane treatment of HUMAN beings, these backwards laws regarding morality, sexuality, and civil rights have been what UNICEF and other charitable groups around the globe have pegged as one of the reasons for the explosion of HIV/AIDS on the continent.

Keeping this case in mind and the lives of other GLBTQ peoples around the globe in African countries and elsewhere with strict anti-gay laws, let’s bring it back to our own country. The goold ol’ USA, where, you remember, we are FREE. That’s right. You remember that right. George W. Bush and everyone on God’s green American earth has been telling us that vehemently for years now. Free.. and not only that but we must protect that freedom at all costs! Well here is another case where the USA and other countries can hold up a newspaper article, a picture, a court-ruling, and say, “Look! Look at those poor bastards. If only they lived here. They can’t even get married and love one another in their own way there. They are not free.”

But this is where it gets a little muddled, a little hazy and confusing. The US State Department condemned the decision and the Malawi legislation that led to the ruling. But this is where we have to look back at ourselves and ask – how can we condemn a country for doing what we also do, maybe not in such a formal and harsh way, but in a way that is just as oppressive in it’s intent.

No-we may not throw queer people in prison for loving one another, but we surely do not make it easy for them to live here. I remind you that as of today…only six states in the country allow same sex marriages, another three recognize those marriages from other jurisdictions. Two states that had the laws on the books repealed them. And beyond that our country has a nebulous record in protecting it’s queer citizens against hate crimes, discrimination and equal opportunity.

It is important to pay attention to the case of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga. In doing so let’s not lose sight of what continues to happen right here in our own country, where we are not yet free to be equal citizens.

Mar 16 2010

Gay Marriage in Nepal?

According to an article on the Huffington Post, the “new” Nepal is seeking gay tourists! Nepal has also begun to issue “third gender” identity cards and is considering legalizing equality for gay and lesbian citizens in it’s new constitution.

Amazing…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/15/nepal-seeks-gay-tourists_n_499062.html

Feb 18 2010

It’s Still Okay to Discriminate In Virginia

In news this week, the legislature in Virginia began the process to vote a new (and some might say older) version of the anti-discrimination protections bill into law for workers of the state. The reason that the question is even on the table for the lawmakers in Virginia is due to the fact that Gov. McDonnell recently repealed anti-discrimination protections for GLBTQ state employees.

According to sources at the Washington Post, McDonnell’s stance is that, “his predecessors had overstepped their executive authority by including sexual orientation protections in the orders and has not renewed them. He said the issue would be properly decided by the General Assembly.” This seems to be more of the same argument that many lawmakers, and states are using to remove existing protections for queer citizens with regard to marriage equality in places like California and Maine.

The new-old bill on the floor of the General Assembly in Virginia has passed the largely Democratic House, but it is expected to be killed by lawmakers in the more conservative Senate. More on the Governor’s stance and possible motives can be found here.

My question is, when did we become America’s pariahs? Last year it took tacking a hate crimes bill onto a defense bill for the federal government to even consider GLBTQ people in that lawmaking decision, and even then it still didn’t pass. Living in a country where defense spending tops EVERYTHING in the Federal Government, it is astonishing that my sexuality could play such a huge roll in one bill. It has prompted states to take away rights of marriage equality that had already existed, again creating a second class of citizens, and in some cases even third. Now Governor McDonnell has taken away his own states employees rights against discrimination which could lead to good, hardworking people being fired for who they love, in an already tight job market.

All of this with the argument that executive and judicial powers are being abused when laws are instituted outside the legislative process- laws that are meant to equalize and protect EVERYONE!

I didn’t see any of these guys raising a stink when the Supreme Court recently sold our election process to the highest corporate bidders.

Think.

Feb 3 2010

Wow, the world is changing….

This morning I woke up to read this news article online (see link below).  The headline stated that defense officials are ready to lift the ban on gays in the military. Despite strong opposition from Republican leaders (particularly John McCain) both Defense Secretary Roberts Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen believe the ban should be lifted. They have asked for a year to review the impact and to prepare for this change in military policy. Ultimately, it is Congress that must pass a new law to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100203/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_military_gays

Jan 19 2010

California, What is My Status?

As you all know we were legally married in Massachusetts in August of 2009. In preparing questions for a radio interview this Friday, we wrote down – “What would you do if you moved to a state where your marriage was not recognized?” Though we don’t have an answer prepared for that one yet what brought the question to mind was the state of California. Not only has it been in the news with the Prop 8 hearings, but we are planning a move and that is our destination. On our most recent trip to San Francisco, we were reminded that as of January 1, 2010 our marriage is recognized by California law.

The same can be said in New York, Rhode Island, New Mexico and Washington, DC. All of these places deny same-sex marriage to their residents, but honor the legal standing of marriages from other states, like Massachusetts. The two tier rights system established by the open denial of marriage equality in these places has now become even more convoluted. A third class of citizen has been created, of which I am a part and in some ways ashamed to say has more rights than my brothers and sisters who have been battling for equality in these states.

The state of affairs regarding same-sex marriage in California is particularly interesting to me. Not only can residents no longer get married there, and my marriage is recognized, but the 18,000 marriages performed before Proposition 8 was voted in remain legally binding too. That means that the “second-class” gay and lesbian citizens in the state who cannot be married legally there, now also have the “option” to travel elsewhere, get legally married in one of the states where they are allowed to and bring that home to California with them. Talk about confusion!!

It was only a matter of time before the quagmire in the West could no longer be contained. The California Federal Court battle that is now taking place and aims to remove Proposition 8, will undoubtedly have national ramifications. I don’t see any immediate lasting resolution in this case, but that by no means spells disaster for those of us supporting and making a case for equality among GLBT people. In fact, as the future of appeals and arguments could continue for this case and the issue of same-sex marriage at large, this could be the very thing we need to positively bring same-sex marriage equality to the national stage.

In the meantime, Michael and I are fortunate enough to live in Massachusetts, where we will continue to be grateful for the freedom we have to exercise our rights. And while we do that – we will also continue to make work through this project that asks YOU to think about where you stand.

Nov 23 2009

A Ten Year Old Boy Gets It…

Will Phillips, a ten year-old boy from Arkansas last week began a sort of “Pledge of Allegiance” strike, saying that he will not say the Pledge until there is truly “liberty and justice for all.” For Will, that includes the ability for same-sex couples to get married. There is a little snippet about it in the Huffington Post including a video.

After reading the article and watching the video, it is apparent that this kid gets it. By that I don’t mean – he gets the reason why marriage is such a hot button issue, why it can be an important piece of a larger puzzle on the road to equality. He evidently does; he has thought long and hard about it. More importantly he gets the “thinking” part.

What a refreshing thing to see.. on mainstream media no less! Even more refreshing was Phillips’ father, who said that after having a reaction to the subtitute teacher’s side of the story, he put his anger away so that he could talk with his son. I don’t know about you, but where I come from until you are well into your teens there is no-one who wants to hear your opinion, thoughts, etc. On the contrary the very idea of doing something so radical as to exercise your constitutional rights for what you truly believe in is often seen as unpatriotic, seditious and deviant – and not only when you are a child. Three cheers to the Phillips family for giving their son the room to be a dynamic individual with his own thoughts and beliefs, even if they are other than those around him.

Will understands as many of us probably understood at his age and earlier, that when you think for yourself, when you really take the time to chew on a question and come up with your own valid opinions, convictions and beliefs – it ultimately benefits everyone. Why? Because it takes the filters and background noise away and allows us to see others as they truly are. If I concern myself with being the best I can be – from my heart, I will always want that to be the experience for everyone.

Nov 4 2009

It feels strange to be in the minority of a minority…

Wow…just read the news about the defeat of gay-marriage law in Maine. Do we really live in such a conservative country? Is it really not possible for people to “live and let live”? TT and I have been married for over two months now and not a single Catholic or Mormon church has collapsed. I’m having a hard time trying to understand the rationale behind denying two adult Americans the right to get married. Tim and I are now in the minority of a minority and it feels strange to think that most gay / lesbian Americans can not get married freely. I still believe that change is coming. And I feel even more committed to using The WEDLOCK Project as a vehicle for strategic alliance and social change! I am really looking forward to PDAs (Public Displays of Acceptance) and the impact that will have.