Life after gay marriage: what happens now that gay and lesbian couples can get hitched in San Francisco and Massachusetts? The political backlash has already begun, but the battle for equality may be won in the newlyweds' everyday lives.It may be hard to imagine in the midst Adv. 1. in the midst - the middle or central part or point; "in the midst of the forest"; "could he walk out in the midst of his piece?"
midmost of the same-sex marriage Noun 1. same-sex marriage - two people of the same sex who live together as a family; "the legal status of same-sex marriages has been hotly debated"
couple, twosome, duet, duo - a pair who associate with one another; "the engaged couple"; "an inseparable firestorm fire·storm
1. A fire of great size and intensity that generates and is fed by strong inrushing winds from all sides: the firestorm that leveled Hiroshima after the atomic blast.
2. that's engulfing the country, but if the people who predict public opinion are correct, in another two decades gay men and lesbians will likely live in a world that won't think twice about their weddings. By then, newspapers won't be interested in reporting on whether ceremonies feature cakes topped by two grooms, two brides, or a bride and a groom. Planners who cater to same-sex weddings will be a dime a dozen.
In 20 years or so, the spring of 2004 will seem just a momentous blip in the history of America's progress toward equal rights. It all started, history will tell us, in 2003, just months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws. In November the highest court in Massachusetts ruled that same-sex couples had an equal right to marry under that state's constitution. On February 4 the court reaffirmed its decision, asserting that civil unions or domestic partnerships were not enough, that separate did not mean equal for gay people.
By then, the trickle of historic events around same-sex marriage trod trod
Past tense and a past participle of tread.
the past tense and a past participle of tread
trod, trodden tread become a deluge. The president had come out repeatedly against equal rights; legislators in Massachusetts and numerous other states rushed to debate whether the tide of equality could be stopped. At press time, that debate remained unresolved in Massachusetts, where in February legislators voted down three constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage but scheduled additional debate for March--although no legislative action can delay the court's order to allow same-sex weddings no later than mid May.
History books will no doubt focus on more upbeat moments, such as snapshots showing beaming gay men and lesbians signing marriage licenses in San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden on February 12--where new mayor Gavin Newsom This article or section contains information about one or more candidates in an upcoming or ongoing election.
Content may change as the election approaches. ordered that the city allow same-sex unions despite a California statute outlawing gay marriage--and in Massachusetts on May 17--the first day in U.S. history that same-sex marriages will be fully and unquestionably un·ques·tion·a·ble
Beyond question or doubt. See Synonyms at authentic.
un·question·a·bil legal. Our kids will study these days in school.
Yes, they'll also read about the bizarre plan by the right-wing chunk of the country to stop gay marriage at any cost: to amend state constitutions to deny marriage to certain citizens, to target for defeat politicians who favor equality, to rally again and again at churches and state capitols across the country to shout their religious beliefs and pro-discrimination slogans. These are the Anita Bryants of the new millennium, the people heartened by President George W. Bush's $1.5 billion plan to promote marriage for straight people.
The history of American equality is not likely to be kind to the people pressuring Washington lawmakers to add a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban access to marriage for gays and lesbians. The amendment would be the first ever to mandate discrimination against one group of Americans and the first constitutional decree of second-class citizenship since the end of slavery. Nor will history make heroes of the Republicans who rant against gay marriage to fire up the party's conservative base, nor even of Democrats like presidential front-runner John Kerry Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. , who asserts his absolute opposition to equal marriage rights while insisting he favors equality for gays.
"I think we will look back--in not that many years front now--and will marvel at what people were saying," says Cheryl Jacques Cheryl Ann Jacques (b. February 17, 1962) is a United States politician who, beginning in January 2004, served for 11 months as president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, advocacy organization. , executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group. "Every single time a majority of people decide that someone is different because of race, religion, skin color, or who they love, they say they're not worthy of equal rights. Every time we've looked back with horror on the fact that one group of people had treated another group of people this way."
On a more personal level, gay and lesbian couples will remember the exact moment they decided to tie the knot. After years of gay marriage existing only as a subject for political debate, it actually arrives as an extremely personal conversation between two people about planning a ceremony in Boston or P-town. After bruising battles in Hawaii in the mid 1990s and Vermont later in the decade (culminating in the nation's first civil union law in 2000), gay men and lesbians are finally on the cusp of achieving the security that married couples take for granted. They are finally going to have to settle the issue of who walks whom down the aisle, if they want a band or a DJ, and if Crate and Barrel is a good place to register for gifts.
Provincetown residents Bob Anderson
Bob Anderson (b. 19 May 1931, Hendon, London - d. 14 August 1967, Northampton) was a Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and racecar driver from England. , 46, and Michael MacIntyre, 48, will hold their ceremony during Memorial Day weekend at the historic inn they own. They've been together for 12 years, which "is probably a lot longer than some marriages, definitely longer than Britney Spears's wedding," quips Anderson. Next year they plan to allow guests to book the inn for weekend weddings.
Other couples--such as Christopher Sieber Christopher Sieber (born February 18, 1969 in St. Paul, Minnesota) is an American actor and musical theatre performer. Christopher's middle name is Luvern afer his maternal grandfather. Luvern is also a city in Minnesota, which could have prompted such a family name. , who plays a fictional gay dad on the ABC ABC
in full American Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. television network. It began when the expanding national radio network NBC split into the separate Red and Blue networks in 1928. sitcom It's All Relative It's All Relative is an ABC sitcom about a man who dates the adoptive daughter of a gay couple, which forces their very different families to learn to coexist. Overview , and his real-life partner, Kevin Burrows--will celebrate the arrival of equal marriage rights without heading immediately to Massachusetts. Not that they don't think marriage is a great step toward equality--and a boost to the economy. "On Saturday Night Live This article is about the American television series. For the show related to Big Brother (UK), see Saturday Night Live (UK).
Saturday Night Live (SNL , Tina Fey Elizabeth Stamatina "Tina" Fey (born May 18, 1970) is an Emmy-winning American writer, comedian and actress. Fey currently co-produces, writes and stars in the television program 30 Rock, a sitcom loosely based on her experiences at Saturday Night Live. went off about gay marriage and how much it's going to boost the economy because they're going to pump millions into these weddings," Burrows says with a laugh. "She said, 'How call you not vote for Kerry, when the economy is just going to be saved by that alone?'"
Burrows and Sieber met at a mutual friend's birthday party a few years back. They became friends while both were in The Lion King on Broadway and started dating when Burrows left to play a part in The Full Monty.
Three years into the relationship, the pair are busy commuting cross-country to see each other. Sieber--who tapes episodes of It's All Relative in Los Angeles--is grateful for a flexible schedule that allows him one week off after every three weeks of work. But does that leave them enough time for a marriage ceremony? "I think we've had more of a discussion about where we'll have the marriage than actually the ceremony itself," Burrows says. "We have a great house that's on an island in New Jersey that would just be the most fabulous place for a ceremony that you could imagine."
Adds Sieber, who terms the couple's relationship easy and comfortable: "For everyone who knows us, it would be kind of redundant to get married at this point. We're not going anywhere. We're not looking anywhere else. We're done."
Burrows and Sieber marvel at the speed with which gay marriage is progressing through the country. It seems like only yesterday they heard the news that the Supreme Court had overturned all remaining sodomy laws. "We were on an Atlantis Cruise," Sieber remembers. "Here we were at sea on the bigger, gayest cruise ever and they got on the public address system on the boat and they said, 'Lady and gentlemen ...' and announced that sodomy laws had been abolished across the nation. You'd never heard so much screaming. It was very funny."
The main benefit they see to getting married is ensuring the legal and financial protections afforded everyone else, says Burrows, who is in the process of getting his will in order. Adds Sieber: "Marriage is all about getting certain rights in everyday life that straight couples who are in terrible marriages still have. Some [straight] people have these crappy crap·py
adj. crap·pi·er, crap·pi·est Vulgar Slang
1. Inferior; worthless.
2. Miserable; poorly.
3. Mean; contemptible. marriages, yet there are thousands of gay men and women out there who love each other desperately and they've been together for decades and they don't have those stone rights."
And don't get him started on divorce. "I think we have a responsibility that if you're going to get married, you should mean it, because the divorce rate in this country is insane," he says. "Gay people have never been able to make this kind of commitment to somebody. I think we'll have a better track record."
By 2024 perhaps most gays and lesbians will have forgotten about the bitter conflagration that the Massachusetts ruling is currently fueling across the country. Religious conservatives have turned gay marriage into their most unifying issue--and the biggest boon for fund-raising--in years. In Massachusetts, for example, gay-marriage opponents have formed the intentionally misnamed mis·name
tr.v. mis·named, mis·nam·ing, mis·names
To call by a wrong name.
having an inappropriate or misleading name: Coalition for Marriage, while supporters have countered with the formation of Mass Equality, with the slogan "No discrimination in the constitution."
So-called defense of marriage movements have rocked statehouses from Rhode Island Rhode Island, island, United States
Rhode Island, island, 15 mi (24 km) long and 5 mi (8 km) wide, S R.I., at the entrance to Narragansett Bay. It is the largest island in the state, with steep cliffs and excellent beaches. to Georgia to Utah. On February 6, Ohio's Republican governor, Robert Taft, signed into law one of the nation's strictest same-sex marriage bans, forbidding even health benefits for state employees' unmarried partners.
"This backlash was inevitable," says Michael Adams
Michael Adams (born November 17, 1971 in Truro, Cornwall, England) is an International Grandmaster of chess. , director of education and public affairs Those public information, command information, and community relations activities directed toward both the external and internal publics with interest in the Department of Defense. Also called PA. See also command information; community relations; public information. for the Lambda Legal Lambda Legal (Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund) is a United States civil rights organization that focuses on gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. Defense and Education Fund, based in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. . "The reality is that if we're a civil rights movement--and what we're trying to do is to win equality for ourselves and our relationships--you get to a tipping point The point in time in which a technology, procedure, service or philosophy has reached critical mass and becomes mainstream. See network effect. See also tip and ring. where you're getting close to winning. We've gotten to that point. It's a great thing, but we also have to deal with the backlash."
Evan Wolfson Evan Wolfson (b. February 4, 1957) is a prominent American civil rights attorney and advocate. He is the founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry, a national non-profit organization working for marriage equality between gay and straight couples. , executive director of Freedom to Marry, compares the out rage over gay marriage to the cases against interracial marriage Interracial marriage occurs when two people of differing races marry. This is a form of exogamy (marrying outside of one's social group) and can be seen in the broader context of miscegenation (mixing of different races in marriage, cohabitation, or sexual relations). , which started to crumble in the 1940s. Back then, protesters told courts they had no business redefining traditional marriage, that public opinion sided with the ban, that interracial in·ter·ra·cial
Relating to, involving, or representing different races: interracial fellowship; an interracial neighborhood. couples were inferior, and that allowing such marriages would create a legal quagmire.
"It wasn't until 1948 that the California supreme court became the first to say that race discrimination [in marriage] was wrong," Wolfson says. "It then took another 19 years for the U.S. Supreme Court to strike it down. During those 19 years, some states moved in the direction of equality while other states discriminated until the very end."
Wolfson said the right wing's campaign is a last-ditch effort: "Momentum is on our side, and they're going to throw everything at us to try and stop that, so we have to engage this in all 50 states."
For gay and lesbian couples who marry in Massachusetts, the ceremony will be the easy part. They will then return home to face changing even the most mundane realities of their daily life, from filling out health club memberships to ordering new checks, from seeking employee benefits to updating emergency contact information at their children's schools. And as they reorganize their lives, the people around them will gradually adjust to the reality of same-sex couples who are legally married.
Whether they live inside or outside of Massachusetts, "I think the best advice for people who get married and come back is to operate as one unit," says Matt Coles, director of the the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian, Gay Rights, and AIDS projects. "Ask your employer, business, church, and neighbors to recognize the marriage, and I think a lot of people will."
The federal Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, may prohibit gay and lesbian couples from receiving an estimated 1,049 benefits that federal laws automatically give to married couples, but it has no power in the private sector, where real social change often takes hold. For example, Coles says, "already an increasing number of private companies are quietly offering equal insurance benefits to gay and lesbian couples who were married in Canada--same-sex weddings are currently legally in Ontario and British Columbia--without any public changes in their employment policies.
This is the quiet revolution that the far right most fears: daily acceptance of gay couples as equal to straight couples. William Woods--a founder of Hawaii's gay marriage movement more than a decade ago--and his partner, Lance Bateman, were married in the Canadian city of Vancouver in August 2003. Woods remembers bracing for people back home to protest their marriage, but the couple experienced the opposite. They received co-memberships to the AARP AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan national organization dedicated to "enriching the experience of aging"; membership is open to people age 50 or older. Founded in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus as American Association of Retired Persons, AARP now has over 30 million without hassle, sign one immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. customs form for trips abroad, and were offered the option to get joint health insurance. They couldn't legally get the same kind of property ownership rights afforded to married couples, but, Woods says, "the title and insurance companies really tried to facilitate us being recognized as married."
Woods knows firsthand how nasty the fight over equal marriage rights will be for same-sex couples in the coming year. In the 1980s he began trying to convince a state court that gays and lesbians had the legal right to marry. In May 1993, Hawaii's supreme court ruled that denying marriage licenses to gay couples was unconstitutional unless the state could prove a compelling public interest. That sparked fierce protests and a bitter public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most battle from both sides. The legislature panicked and passed a constitutional amendment, later approved in a statewide referendum, defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The Hawaii supreme court, then declared Woods's lawsuit dead; the state would not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. No gay or lesbian couple has ever been legally married in Hawaii.
What worries a number of gay rights groups is that out-of-state couples will be married in Massachusetts, return home, and file a barrage of lawsuits to get their unions recognized in their home state. All explosion of such lawsuits could shift public opinion and cause additional lawmakers to support "defense of marriage" acts. The backlash could also have a negative impact oil other legal challenges in which gays and lesbians are seeking equal treatment under adoption laws or rules to punish antigay harassment Ask a Lawyer
Country: United States of America
I recently moved to nev.from abut have been going back to ca. every 2 to 3 weeks for med. in schools. "The far right is tired of just throwing grenades at our families, and they are looking to construct nuclear bombs," says David Buckel, a Lambda Legal lawyer. "They need to generate all sorts of anxiety to do that."
Buckel advises gay couples who marry legally to ask for guidance before filing a lawsuit in their home state. "You have to evaluate what the laws look like within that state: What does the court look like? What does the legislature look like? You could win in court and have it ripped away from you. I call it the 100-factor analysis."
But before activists can settle into a methodical, state-by-state battle, the country as a whole must first attend to the national circus that is the 2004 presidential campaign. Same-sex marriage is already a major issue, much to the chagrin of Massachusetts senator Kerry, who is expected to lock up the Democratic nomination for president by some time in March. While Kerry opposes equal marriage fights for same-sex couples, he recently told a crowd during a campaign stop: "I believe and have fought for the principle that we should protect the fundamental rights of gay and lesbian couples--from inheritance to health benefits.... I believe the right answer is civil unions."
Nevertheless, the reelection re·e·lect also re-e·lect
tr.v. re·e·lect·ed, re·e·lect·ing, re·e·lects
To elect again.
re campaign of President Bush is expected to try to link Kerry to the same-sex marriages occurring in his home state, and Bush has already indicated his support for a federal constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage--an amendment that as currently worded could also impose a nationwide ban on civil unions (invalidating in·val·i·date
tr.v. in·val·i·dat·ed, in·val·i·dat·ing, in·val·i·dates
To make invalid; nullify.
in·val those already in existence) and forbid recognition of stone-sex domestic partnerships at any level of government.
"I think the president has misread mis·read
tr.v. mis·read , mis·read·ing, mis·reads
1. To read inaccurately.
2. To misinterpret or misunderstand: misread our friendly concern as prying. the lesson from 1992, when he watched his father lose reelection," says Patrick Guerriero Patrick Guerriero is an American politician.
A gay Republican, Guerriero was the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) from January 1, 2003 to September 1, 2006. , executive director of the gay group Log Cabin Republicans The Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) is a federated gay and lesbian political organization in the United States with state chapters and a national office in Washington, D.C. The group consists of gays and lesbians who are supporters of the Republican Party. . The elder Bush lost to Bill Clinton after a Republican national convention in which rightwing activist Patrick Buchanan called for a cultural war against homosexuals and others. "This race, like most presidential races, is going to get very tight, and if you attempt to get 5 million Christian evangelicals to the polls but you tick off 10 million fair-minded Americans, that's a weird political calculation."
The marriage battle will continue to be fought on many fronts. HRC's national strategy is to fight the Federal Marriage Amendment The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) (also known as the Marriage Protection Amendment) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution which would define marriage in the United States as a union of one man and one woman. , block "defense of marriage" acts, and counter continuing attempts in Massachusetts to pass an amendment to negate the same-sex marriage ruling--and a threat from Republican governor Mitt Romney This article or section contains information about one or more candidates in an upcoming or ongoing election.
Content may change as the election approaches. that he'll prevent same-sex marriage licenses from being issued on May 17 any way he can, with or without an amendment, and perhaps in contradiction to his own highest court's direct order. "One of the things that we learned is that we need to build the political support along with the legal strategy," says Seth Kilbourn, national field director for HRC HRC Human Rights Campaign
HRC Human Rights Council (UN)
HRC Human Rights Commission
HRC Hard Rock Cafe
HRC Hillary Rodham Clinton (democratic senator/presidential candidate; former first lady) .
Adds HRC's Jacques: "In Ohio we learned that the business community has to be there from day one before [the marriage] issue ever gains a level of momentum. And we have to say to elected officials that this is an issue that hurts business, recruitment, and tourism. This isn't good for the states."
As Jacques speaks to The Advocate, the gay-marriage debate is changing at warp speed warp speed
An extremely rapid speed or state of activity: "A young pronghorn antelope teased a yearling wolf, shifting into warp speed and leaving the wolf in the dust when it tried to pursue" . Guerrilla same-sex marriages OK'd by San Francisco's mayor. Hundreds of gay rights supporters and opponents still descending on Boston. New "defense of marriage" bills introduced in different states almost weekly. But through it all, somewhere tuxedos are being rented, dresses are being purchased, and richly frosted cakes are being taste-tested for the big event.
Gays and lesbians should savor all these moments--even the ugly battles over equality inevitable this summer and fall. Twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. from now, we're going to look back at this whirlwind and it'll seem like a quaint, distant memory.