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DD Day (Death of Doma) and forward

June 28, 2013

To Marry or not to Marry...
An interesting question after DD Day (Death of DOMA)

As of this past Wednesday, June 26, 2013, thirteen states of the United States of America (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington), the District of Columbia and five Native American tribes (The Coquille Indian Tribe, the Suquamish tribe, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, and the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel) have independently legalized same-sex marriage. World wide: The Netherlands in 2001 was the first country to legalize same-sex marriages, with the first marriages performed in the Amsterdam city hall on 1 April 2001. Since then, same-sex marriages have been performed legally by Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2003 - in some provinces; 2005 - nationally), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010), Denmark (2012), Brazil (2013), France (2013), Uruguay (eff. August 1, 2013), and in New Zealand (eff. August 19, 2013).

In the US, the tenth amendment to the Bill of Rights declares that Individual states have the rights to develop their own rules of law when they fall outside of federal legal guidelines and decisions as written in the original US constitution. The act of contracting a marriage is considered a state’s right because it is not in the original federal document.

With the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, a marriage was explicitly defined by congress as a union of one man and one woman. This vote fell in opposition to the original signed constitution. DOMA lasted until 2013 with the Supreme Court’s decision that DOMA goes against the original federally declared guide-lines; states do have the right to allow for same-sex/trans-gendered marriage if they so choose. By accepting this the court also stated that the federal government must recognize these state’s marriage contracts from the states where ‘marriage equality’ is legal.

Here too, within equal protection under the law (the Fourteenth Amendment) where marriage affords ‘federal’ benefits and responsibilities, a different state should not be able to restrict this originally designated federal guideline. (If one state has a federally recognized law than all states must too recognize those of other states.) However, this question has not yet been challenged and set fourth before the Court.

“Same-sex marriages can be performed in a secular civil ceremony or in a religious setting. Various faith communities around the world support allowing same-sex couples to marry or conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies; for example: Church of Sweden, Quakers, U.S. Episcopalians, the Metropolitan Community Church, the United Church of Christ, the United Church of Canada, Buddhism in Australia, Reform and Conservative Jews, Wiccans, Druids, Unitarian Universalists, and Native American religions with a two-spirit tradition, as well as various progressive and modern Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish groups and various minor religions and other denominations.” Note: I am an ordained member of the Clergy by the Universal Life Church since 2010.

That is the end of all the legal and social points of this discussion. Now, should you get married in those states and countries where it can be done?

1) You should only marry someone who is a best friend. We already know that more than fifty percent of Gay relationships are agreed and declared as open ones. (cheating, ie: sneaking ‘a little something on the side’ is probably the same in gay and straight relationships.) My rule has always been, “It is not who you go to bed with, it is who you want to wake up with every morning that counts.” If it is only for the reason of easy access to a good fuck that you want to be contracted to a person... perhaps it might be a wiser decision to just cohabit. Wait until you both can see if living together is the same as living a life together. If your taste in sex changes independently from each other, is that going to change your feelings for your spouse? If so, DO NOT DO IT! Consider this fact... Nature is most likely not going to treat the two of you equally.

2) If you both think that you want a child then it is no longer about you. Do Get Married... That is if you both will have the guts to stick it out for the object of your marriage and by doing so grow closer. There are plenty of messed up kids from straight broken households. Don’t add to that statistic as a gay broken household. If you find yourself having to justify this, remember “It is about the child... deal with it or don’t do it.”

3) Additional reasons of inheritance: It is not at all unusual for a daddy and his boy to live a life, unevenly bonded together- to gain spirit from the other, to learn, to serve each other, to take care of the first who naturally departs- then to let go in time and go on. Here the younger carries the love of the loved one who has passed and passes that love and advantages to yet another. This should be a part of the first reason to marry. It is a very special case that is found much, much more often with gay families than with straight families. Like the staggered bricks that make up a wall- it can be very strong and ongoing.

It is really simple: Will the problems you will definitely need to share make you closer and make ‘home’ the place you want to go ‘to rest’ or will it make that the place you need to escape from? Now, multiply that over a lifetime.

We in those places mentioned have the right to get legally married... Let’s use this tool of justice wisely. For those who live in places where this right is not afforded... We’re all working on that. This is not a time to grumble and cave in. This is a time to celebrate and march ‘gayly’ forward. The first steps took a long time to achieve. Lets use the inertia to move us onward. There is no perfect. To expect that is to fail before one starts. The last thing we as a group wants is to do is be like the religious right... kick others down while crying that we are victims... I’m no victim and I will only kick others out of my way who are depriving me of my rightful place. Be grateful, be happy, and lets fight together to make federal recognition of the marriage contract universal. The imperfection will be that, like some people, some states will not change for generations. Sometimes one has to move out of a bad situation or one winds up accepting the bad as the normal. I know it is not easy... but how do you think our parents, or grand parents, or great grandparents got to this country? They could have stayed where they came from.

June 30, 2013

...And We Go On.

Today, Sunday we were again in the West Village like this past Wednesday, June 26, again in Sheridan Square, again across from 53 Christopher Street- The Stonewall Inn- ”Where Pride Began.” It is where New York City‘s (or rather Manhattan’s) Gay Pride Parade is at it’s most narrow. But like the narrows of a river... there is a powerful swell of rapids making all the rainbow flags churn... almost dancing to the music on the floats of men and women. It’s a festive scene of commonalty with color; and spangles; and feathers; and glitter; and beautiful male bodies who must have been to the gym for hours early this morning; and drags who must have been in the process of being sewn into their costumes early this morning; and Lesbians, and gays of every shape and variety; and baby carriages pushed by two mothers, or two fathers, or a father and mother; and couples of men, and of women, and of men and women; young couples with all their lives ahead of them; and older couples with life still to be spent... and me and Andy who will celebrate twenty-four years together (You can read my blog here ‘We are a family’). I am taking pictures at a great location, but I don’t put my camera down even for a moment. Andy looks up at me while as I am stabilizing myself on to the fence that is fastened into a low foundation wall that I am standing on. He puts his arm around me for support. No, I won’t fall. I am crying. He knew I would be and he is my support by just being there.

This is a crossroad of our gay history where I remember the friends connected with the eighteen AIDS quilt panels I made just in the first year. It is where I think of my entire family of closest friends from the Mineshaft of whom I am the sole survivor. I think of how I locked myself in for years in fear. I see how fortunate I am to have found two men in succession, fifteen years apart, whom I still have and love. One I will call this evening and describe the parade to and my spouse who is taking a nap following the parade just feet away from me now.

This is the first year in eight that we are here at this time and not elsewhere working. It is our first NYC pride parade as a legal couple having been married in Canada in 2005. We have been a married couple in New York as a result of that for a few years now and in the United States as of DD Day this past week.

The last two blocks West on Christopher Street is where all the people and floats disperse. Parades have beginnings, middles, and ends. We celebrate and we go on after to do the things we need to do. I’ll shortly awaken Andy with the smell of fresh coffee that we‘ll share and have some biscotti that he baked the other day. I’ll then start dinner...... We celebrate, we grieve, we remember, and we go on to finish what needs to be done. This is... and we are... we all are... a part of the natural order of things.