“Couples, such as Plaintiffs, who are otherwise qualified to marry one another may not be denied licenses to marry or certificates of marriage or in any other way prevented from entering into a civil marriage…by reason of the fact that both persons compromising such a couple are of the same sex.”
-- Judge Robert B. Hanson
An Iowa district court handed down a decision acknowledging that the right to marry is a right that extends to all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation. They also acknowledged taht Iowa's current law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is unconstitutional. Kudos to the justices who deliberated on this case and I hope that Iowa Supreme Court will also uphold this basic human right.
The Polk County recorder has already begun issuing marriage licenses to couples and of course the plaintiffs were amongst the first to fill out an application.
CNN, Windy City Times, and Post-Bulletin report.
A Brief Introduction
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
"Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs--to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. [...] He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles."
from C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters
Thursday, August 23, 2007
As I sat at my desk this morning, reading over the stacks of paper required of new employees and signing off on countless agreements, guidelines, handbooks, and policies, I was struck with something I wasn't expecting to find at 11:00am, thirty-two stories above New York City: marriage equality really matters.
After I read through the distinctions between part-time and full-time employees and the amount of paid vacation alloted per year, I got to the section on bereavement leave:
The policy covers the death of the employee's spouse, child(ren), parents, parents-in-law, brothers, sisters, and grandparents.If I were to have a husband someday soon (and I hope to have one!), under existing laws he wouldn't legally be considered my husband. Would I have to work those days or worry about losing my job?
But full equality goes beyond creating and enforcing laws, what really matters is creating a society that honors and respects all its citizens. When I got to the sections describing how hiring and promotion decisions are based solely on merit and not prejudicial characteristics, I felt a pit in my stomach as I read over the non-discrimination policy:
race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any otherI gave a sigh of relief to know that in New York state, sexual orientation is protected in employment non-discrimination (and gender identity too!), but not only did I feel as if the company was only including me because they were compelled by law to do so, I also realize realize that my work has offices and stations around the country in places that don't have protective legislation. What about those people?
characterstic protected by law.
I'm sure that today will be only one of many days when I will come face-to-face with the very real differences between my rights and responsiblities and those of my straight American counterparts. I look forward to the day when such occurences are memories of the distant past, but they won't become a part of the past unless we work in the present to change things.
As a queer person, I can only do so much. Which is why I'm excited by Soulforce's latest campaign, Seven Straight Nights For Equal Rights, which empowers and emboldens straight Americans to take up the banner of LGBT equality, knowing that freedom and equality must mean freedom and equality for all. So far, activities are being planned in 11 states and you can volunteer to plan one in your state!
It will only be one night and is as easy as standing vigil outside a state capital building or attending a public gathering. It's a way that you can stand up and say, my gay and transgender friends matter to me and I want them to be honored and respected. You can use the Get Involved form to sign up or you can email me and I'll make sure someone contacts you (or you can do both!). And of coures, as Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights is a Soulforce and Atticus Circle campaign, any contributions to this grassroots non-profit organizing effort go a long way (You can make a general donation or sponsor a state).
But seriously, why donate when you can stand up yourself ... it's so easy.
I'm excited for you to stand with me!
Monday, August 20, 2007
Even though qubo was gracious enough to give me five-weeks off after stopping work in LA and resuming work in New York City, I managed to consume all but a few days of that with the Right to Marry Campaign, my Epic Journey Into Adulthood across the country with Meilee, my cousin's wedding, and of course catching up with all of the Potomac crew.
I was able to get a studio in a beautiful building in Long Island City, but unfortunately the lease doesn't begin in until September 7. An old friend from USC has an extra room in her apartment in Brooklyn which I was planning on moving into for interim until some friends in the new building found out last minute they'd be able to let me crash there.
As I went back to the Brooklyn apartment near Prospect Park, some 45 minutes from my Manhattan, to fetch my belongings I couldn't help but feel a sense of privilege. I was lucky enough to have friends in nice neighborhoods where I could stay. I didn't have to shop in stores where the cashiers are in the back to help prevent robbery. I didn't have to live where cabs won't drive. I'm sure a lot of people in this neighborhood are there because they want to be there. It's a heavily Jamican area and I felt a strong sense of community. In fact, I got more "hello"s and "how are you doing"s from strangers in the short times I was there than the rest of my time in Manhattan. Still, graffiti and stalled cars line the alley while buildings sit in disarray. It's not the way I would want to live ... and I got out. It seemed like I was running away.
As I travel about the city via subway, I'm reminded of what Amy B-M once said. That to truly experience a city you can't just drive around in it, you have to walk, take buses, and ride the subway. This is the first time I've lived in a place where I have been able to do that. I already understand what she means. I wonder what I would've learned if I stayed in Brookyln for those three weeks. But at the same time, would I just be paying understanding lip-service? With a degree from USC under my belt, a home in Potomac only a few hour away, and friends with posh apartments who could come fetch me, would I ever really understand?
I don't know, but I'd like to find out. I'd like to do understand not so I can pat myself on the back for a job well done or so I'll have a good story to tell around the dining room table. But so I can learn something I didn't know before. I've already learned that it's not that hard to ask a stranger how they are and really mean it, I wonder what else is waiting for me to learn out there.
More on qubo, the apartment, adventures with new friends, and of course the Epic Journey later. For now, I'm going to fall asleep listening to Rufus Wainwright, looking at the Manhattan skyline from across the river, and digesting my tofu stir fry. It was a good day.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Meilee and I made it across the country successfully with minimal disasters. Our attempts at video blogging from the road failed miserably but we did manage to grab lots of fun footage along the way which hopefully one day will manifest itself into an Epic Video of our Epic Journey. Time will tell I suppose.
In the meantime, I'm running errands, visiting with friends, dropping in on relatives, and beginning to let the panic of not having a place in NYC to live set in. Ahhh moving...
Thursday, August 02, 2007
I could try to write some eloquent introduction for this video but I could not possibly do it justice. Thank-you Milfred for your contribution to our country, your state, and this important conversation.