Thursday, November 29, 2012

Question of the Week

What gift would you like to receive this holiday season?

Avoiding Gay-Nup Slip-Ups

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat explores the brave new world of the Washington marriage license.  I assume officials in Maine and Maryland are likewise struggling.

You May Now Kiss the Applicant

by Danny Westneat

Skip Moore is trying his damnedest not to offend anyone.

"You know what that means," he says. "That means I'm probably going to offend everyone."

Moore is the Chelan County auditor, in Wenatchee. Like all keepers of official records around the state right now, he is fretting over how best to update a document that hasn't been changed much in his lifetime: the marriage license.

Gone from the official form, tentatively, are the words "groom" and "bride." Gender-specific terms won't necessarily work as of next Thursday, when same-sex marriage becomes legal here.

But what to replace them with? That seems as elusive as true love.

The state Department of Health has come out with its suggestion: "Spouse A" and "Spouse B."

Which sounds more like a divorce proceeding than a wedding.

"It drains the romance right out of it, doesn't it?" Moore said.

Other counties are trying other words. Spokane County is going with Applicant A and Applicant B, with check boxes for gender. Snohomish County is using Party A and Party B — which at least makes it sound like a good time.

But who wants to be a lesser B to someone else's lofty A? Maybe this will become a sort of marriage fitness test. Couples that can fill out the new form without getting into a bitter power struggle are a match.

About a week out from the change, though, most counties still are using the old forms. With one section marked Groom, the other Bride.

That blew up on New York City last year. On the first day gays and lesbians could apply for licenses, two lesbians were told they had to choose who would be the bride and who, awkwardly, the groom. A local tabloid dubbed it the "Gay-nup slip-up."

"We're all struggling with how to do this, without a bunch of generic, government bureaucratese," said Chelan County's Moore.

Chelan County is more traditional than most with its wedding forms. Its application is color-coded in blue and pink.

Since 2001, it has given out commemorative certificates with a seal and a Bible verse — the one about the husband cleaving to his wife and the twain becoming one flesh.

"The pink, the Bible verse — that's all obviously got to go, for some couples," Moore said.

The county is keeping the old certificates for heterosexual couples who want them.

It's printing new ones that drop titles such as Mr. and Mrs. and use descriptions amorphous enough so as not to trouble anyone, of any sexuality or politics. Hopefully.

"I was in the Navy, so I know there are plenty of men who don't even like to be called 'spouse,' " Moore said.

Auditors also worry that licenses such as New York City's — which now shows every possible permutation, "Bride/Groom/Spouse A" — may irk some more conservative couples.

"We're honored that we get to sell some of the first marriage licenses to couples of the same gender," Moore said. "But that doesn't mean we've figured out what everybody wants to be called."

"It's a mine field."

Potato, potahto. Let's call the whole thing off?

Leave it to the public to come up with a better idea. The state is hearing input on its Spouse A, Spouse B proposal, and one citizen noted the whole point of the new marriage-equality law was to stop categorizing love and family. So why impose new categories?

"Please do not bastardize the English language where nothing is necessary," wrote Jim Fox, of Bellingham. "No Spouse-1, Partner-B, Sig-Other-X. Just eliminate them. Provide two blank lines for two people to sign, in whatever order they wish."

That's essentially what King County is doing.

Genius. We'll call each other what we please anyway. So, government, call us by no name.

They could have figured this out by looking to marriage itself.

Anyone who's married knows that when you can't think of the right way to say it, it's usually better to say nothing at all.

Double Entendre of the Day

Not in Stock at L.L.Bean

From Gay Marriage Oregon

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You Never Know When You'll Need One

From Have A Gay Day

This Week's Quote

There is going to be a big bunch of weddings on the 9th at City Hall. It is so cool, even snarky me likes it. I am thinking of buying a marriage license just in case by the 9th I find someone to marry. Can you fill in the blanks later?
Sally-Anne Sadler on the city of Seattle inviting gay couples to wed at City Hall on the first day it's legal
Source:  Facebook

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Now That's a Welcoming Church

From Believe Out Loud

This Week's Quote

I suddenly had this really mad desire to have an affair with a woman. I was divorced. I was childless. I figured there's got to be one more way to really tick off my mom.

Carol Leifer


Nov. 20

A Permanent Whoops

From Humor Train

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tomorrow is Transgender Day of Remembrance

From Wipe Out Homophobia

A Yuletide Announcement, Via Gay Apparel

In this post, pilfered from the parenting blog of The New York Times, Maureen Salamon realizes coming out as a family this holiday season is mundanely marvelous.

Coming Out by Christmas Card 

by Maureen Salamon

Holiday cards that really catch my eye, either for their brilliance or buffoonery, tend to be trying too hard. My sin, on the other hand, is not trying hard enough. I either don’t send out a card at all, producing a low-grade guilt that dogs me into the New Year, or slap together a family picture on Thanksgiving weekend, my kids’ grins matching the forced lineup. What does our card convey? Merely that I’ve gotten it done.

But our holiday greetings this year may reveal quite a bit more. I figured I was ahead of the game as I scanned a small cache of professional photos taken last summer on our Disney vacation, relieved it could produce at least one (highly unoriginal) Christmas card contender. But even though my four kids range from 12 to 20, it’s still tricky to find an image in which their eyes are all open, they’re actually facing the camera and they’re not subtly torturing one another. Quickly I noticed that the best prospects also display the bright purple shirt sported by my eldest, its Lambda Legal logo splashed across his chest.

Hmm. I’ve known for nearly four years that my son is gay. It was something I wondered about, curious but unalarmed, as Sean grew, not because he looked at other boys with special interest but because he never looked at girls. A bookish, introverted child, Sean kept mainly to himself, drawing, reading and absorbing everything imaginable about his beloved commercial jets. Girls were simply his classmates and playmates, fun to conspire with and ride bikes alongside. But there was never a gleam in his eye as he did these things with any girl — a sparkle I noticed early on, and with definite intensity, in his two younger brothers.

Learning his sexual orientation, then, didn’t rock our world; it barely nudged it. For exactly one afternoon, I mourned the family life I’d envisioned for him, the one that would now look different than I’d imagined, if it happened at all. Sean had come out to friends at his small, socially progressive high school before he’d even told his father and me, so we followed his lead, washing marriage equality T-shirts along with the rest of the kids’ laundry, walking the Castro in San Francisco during college visits and attending Gay Pride rallies in New York City.

I think this makes us a more interesting family than we’d otherwise be, my husband mused. And a piece of me is thrilled that my gender-lopsided family, with three boys and one girl, may someday end up with equal sets of sons- and daughters-in-law.

So why the hesitation over our summer photos? Because while Sean is out among his siblings, peers, friends and some of our extended family, my husband and I have scarcely told anyone else. Our casual policy has been that it is Sean’s news to tell, something he should do in his own time and space. But our family Christmas photo, such as it is, goes out to a much wider group: to many good friends as well as seldom-seen neighbors, far-flung high school and college chums, church acquaintances and families we mingle with at Scout picnics and on sports fields. I may joke to my kids about how much our clan resembles “Modern Family,” minus the Colombian stepmother but with adoption and blended family thrown in, but is this how I want people we’ve known for years to get in on the joke?

You may be thinking: “Nice job, lady. To heck with the holiday photo, now you’ve told everyone.” But in talking with Sean recently, I learned that even our loose and deferential policy seemed somewhat stiff and formal to him, lacking the organic quality of casual conversation where mentioning that my son is gay comes up somewhere between comparing the cost of braces and debating presidential politics. He recognizes, like the brightest civil rights trailblazers, that true progress is made not only in grand gestures, but in mundane moments that almost imperceptibly telegraph the many versions of normal we should all embrace.

Like a family photo with a gay kid in it.

Now You Know

Friday, November 16, 2012

Getting Used to Equality

Church was mighty interesting last Sunday.  I can’t recall a thing the minister said in his sermon, but I remember the straight folks coming up to my partner and me to ask, “When are you getting married?”  Several invited themselves to our happy event.

We hadn’t had marriage equality a week in Washington, and my theoretical wedding was already busting the budget.

Some of the gay couples were giddy.  One guy chirped to a lesbian, “I’ll invite you to my mine if you’ll invite me to yours!”

I guess I was on the giddy side, too.  I warned a straight man that he and his fiancĂ©e now officially had competition for the chapel and the minister.

Somebody suggested that, with the new glut of couples wanting to marry, the church should put in a bidding system for the choicest days.  I like that this would earn the church more money, but I don’t like that this could result in Anne and me getting married on a Tuesday morning in February.

Before the election, I didn’t allow myself to think about wedding particulars, no doubt steeling myself for possible defeat.  Now that we’ve won, I . . . have a lot to think about.

So do others.  Another gal in our church has been with her partner for decades, and they had no plans to marry.  But now their children and grandchildren are putting pressure on them to get legally hitched.

Welcome to the mainstream.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This Week's Quote

If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater . . . suggest that he wear a tail.

Fran Lebowitz

Source:  Social Studies

It Must Be Somewhere

From Have A Gay Day

Friday, November 9, 2012

Karen's a Tad Anxious

From The White Room

Still Celebrating . . .

 . . . and still in shock that we went four for four.  I'm not used to so much blazing success.  But I'm sure I could get used to it.

 From Equality Arkansas

Message from the President

From Don't Forget How America Got Screwed Up

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Question of the Week

Ready for the 2016 presidential campaign?


Or are reports of its death premature?

From George Bakan

What Not to Do

The Washington state ballot included measures to legalize same-sex marriage and marijuana.  Both passed.  Seattle lawyer Kris Anderson shared on her Facebook page her thoughts regarding when the new laws will take effect: "So apparently Washingtonians can get stoned out of their heads on Dec. 6 and get married on Dec. 9 before they sober up and realize what hit them."

A Four-Square Start to Our Future

Until Tuesday, our record in statewide votes on marriage equality was 0 wins and 32 losses.  We are emphatically off the shnide.

Looking Back on the Crusade in Washington

How many slices of pizza does it take to win a referendum on same-sex marriage?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This Week's Quote

Now, I am well aware that I will have the honor of being Wisconsin's first woman senator. And I am well aware that I will be the first openly gay member.  But I didn't run to make history. I ran to make a difference.

Tammy Baldwin

Source:  ABC News

Friday, November 2, 2012

Or Vote Earlier--I'm Not Fussy

I Can Do United

When it gets down to what really matters, Americans are still capable of coming together.  President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Christie proved that this week with their unified response to Superstorm Sandy.

Now it's my turn.  In the service of a critical cause, marriage equality, I reach out my hand to my enemies by running this photo of Bates College students, who just voted for same-sex marriage rights in Maine.  Bates is a rival of my alma mater, Colby.  At a time like this, I must be big.

But don't expect me to run any Bowdoin pictures.

From Mainers United for Marriage

Weather Report

From I bet this turkey can get more fans than NOM