Edie and Thea in the 1960s
A few of you have asked what I was going to write about Edie Windsor, so I thought I'd go ahead and post what I wrote, even though it's kind of incomplete.
The day before the Supreme Court arguments, I dreamed about them. For some reason, they were taking place in a high school gymnasium. And one of my biggest heroes (who was involved in the case, but didn't actually argue it) was arguing on behalf of Windsor. My parents were in the audience for some reason, and so was I, but I didn't seem to have a seat, and kept darting about the folding chairs to get a better view.
If you follow the case at all, you probably know some of the details: Edith Windsor's 40-year relationship with Thea Spyer, her longtime care of Thea after Thea was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and the financial blow dealt to her after Thea died (because their marriage--in NY and Canada--was not recognized by the federal government).
Edie and Thea in the 2000s
When I think about how hard it was for me to come out in the 2000s, and how much anti-gay rhetoric I heard as a kid, I'm especially amazed by women like Edie and Thea, who were out and proud when it was much harder to be.
Regardless of how the case comes down, I'm overwhelmed by my gratitude to Edie Windsor and the many others, young and old, who have been fighting this battle for a long, long time.
Butch Wonders is teaming up with the Campaign for Southern Equality and a few other folks to host a March Madness NCAA tournament for charity! Here are some deets:
So what I need from you is a suggestion for a great LGBTQ organization this tourney could benefit. Please put your suggestion, and your reason for thinking the charity is awesome, in the comments.
On Monday, I'll post a poll based on your suggestions, and BW readers will get to vote on which charity we'll support!
More details to follow. I'm looking forward to your suggestions! (And if you feel compelled to tweet this, which I hope you will, use #mad4equality.)
Big news: the Supreme Court just agreed to take on two BIG gay rights cases this term:
Case #1 involves the so-called "Defense of Marriage" Act (or DOMA), which is the federal law that says that even if your state allows gays to marry, married gays don't get federal benefits like Social Security or the ability to file joint tax returns. This case isn't about whether states have to legalize gay marriage--it's about whether if a state recognizes a gay marriage, the federal government has to play along.
Case #2 comes out of California (see my previous post explaining gay marriage in California for background). It deals with Prop 8, the ballot initiative whereby those lily-livered California liberals voted to amend their state constitution to take away same-sex couples' right to marry. In this case, the Supremes could hand down many possible rulings, some of which would affect only California, some of which would affect the whole country, and some of which would kick issues back down to the lower courts.
Neither of these cases necessarily has national implications for gay marriage (though they could--#2 especially), but they are still both Very Big Deals, particularly if you share my belief that gay rights isn't "just another issue."
I'll wrap it up here and write more later, as this all develops. Here are some links to media coverage of the issue:
What do you think about the Court's decision, dear readers? Are you optimistic?
Grand Island, Nebraska is home to about 50,000 Nebraskans and a steaming pile of homo-hatred. The city council recently rejected an ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Not only that, but they rejected a proposal that would have put the decision in front of the voters, instead voting 8-2 that denying someone a promotion because of who they love is a-OK.
As if that wasn't bad enough, one of the council members explained that he didn't want Grand Island to become "gay-friendly." Riiiight. Like all the queers were suddenly going to flock to Nebraska if this thing passed.
So I have an idea. I would LOVE to mess with them by showing them how doggone gay Grand Island can be. If you're in Nebraska (or anywhere near it), I would LOVE for you to drive to Grand Island and do or put something super gay and rainbow-y in front of their stupid-looking "welcome" sign.
In fact, I would love to do this for ANY city that's passed anti-gay ordinances, or that has refused to pass laws giving --gasp!--equal rights to LGBTQ folks. I'm sure there are a whole bunch of other cities we can target. What are they? And should we plot to get back at them by fomenting a big ol' pro-gay movement with them at the center of it? E.g., Grand Island is for (Gay) Lovers? What do you think?
"Sure, I'm for gay rights, but I'm voting for Romney."
"I don't agree with him on gay marriage, but overall, I agree with his values."
"Gay rights is just one issue; I'm looking at the whole picture."
Each time I hear a statement like this, it irks me anew. But why? Do I really think my right to get married is more important than homelessness, health care, or the economy? Geez, I don't think so. But even if I didn't disagree with Romney on these issues, I'd have a hard time voting for him.
The crux of the problem is that for me, gay rights isn't "another issue," but a prior question--that is, a question that has to be answered before another one can be asked. For example, if I ask, "What kind of cookies should we make?" I've already answered (or implied the answer to) the prior question of: "are we going to make cookies?"
To discuss issues with someone, I have prior questions. A central one is: are we equals? I am using "equals" in the sense of people who see each other as people, discussing and exchanging ideas--in the "all people are created equal" sense. Does the person value me and consider me valid as a human?
To me, someone who does not believe in equal rights for gays and lesbians sees me (and/or my behavior) as subhuman. They do not believe that my full, real self is equal to their full, real self. They do not see me and my life the same way they see themselves and their lives. For this reason, the answer to the prior question of whether this is a person with whom I can engage in rational debate is "no." If you don't see me as your equal in terms of the human rights I deserve, it's very, very difficult for me to think you're worthwhile to engage with about anything else.
This doesn't mean that someone needs to think I'm awesome, or love my choices. I think some people make terrible choices or are cruel people. But this doesn't mean I think they deserve fewer rights than I do. I dislike people who objectify women, but I would not favor a constitutional amendment that denied them the right to get married or prevented their partners from getting health care.
And this, dear readers, is why gay rights isn't "just another issue" for me. Is it for you? Have you ever heard people say the things I quoted at the beginning of this post? How did you respond?