Thank you Edith

Edith Windsor 6/20/1929-9/12/2017

Edith is a hero of mine. Edith will be missed but never forgotten. It was her Supreme Court Case that struck down the Defense of Marriage act in 2013 thus causing the federal government to recognize my legal marriage in California from 2008.

I read that a quote of hers was “Don’t Postpone Joy”. I haven’t been able to personally verify this quote as hers, but I think it fitting.

Thank you Edith for helping humanity get just a little better one step at a time.

With a love that’s true…Always

A dear Blogger friend married his Someone of 20 years today in Palm Springs. We, Fearsome and I, were honored to have been able to attend. The wedding was kept secret, for the most part, to keep it a simple quiet occasion at the Riverside County administration offices. Fearsome was a last minute Best Man, Larry & Tim were the handy witnesses, Ron was the spur of the moment photographer and Pat was the official accidental visiting foreign dignitary.

The added bonus was that the dearest blogger friend was asked to witness a wedding for a couple that was there all alone just the two of them who were obviously very much in love.

I’m verklempt.

Michael & David AKA UrSpo & Harper's Keeper

Michael & David
AKA UrSpo & Harper’s Keeper

David & Fearsome photobombed by Michael

David & Fearsome photobombed by Michael

The rings

The rings

The wedding party

The wedding party

Thanks Edith!

I remember growing up with Archie Bunker. The grumpy bigoted white man who somehow could grow and change outside of his narrow minded views. He usually had the help of his wife Edith, his liberal long haired son in law or his black neighbors. Archie was a character that showed change, evolution and even growth was possible.

All in the Family was a ground breaking show for the 1970s. I remember it breaking into otherwise taboo social subjects of the era, notably race. It did occasionally touch on homosexuality but I somehow missed this episode that Matt Baum brings to us today. Giving credit where credit is due I found this clip on Joe.My.God this morning before I found it on Matt’s YouTube channel.

This episode actually touches on gay marriage. The show was originally aired in 1977. From Matt’s clip, the episode appears very well done. Now I want to find the whole episode. In the mean time check out this clip. I will post an update if I find the whole episode in a format I can embed here on this here blog thingy. I believe it’s important to know some of what changed our history and helped our culture to evolve on such social issues.

UPDATE: full episode was an easy find.

Marriage, it’s legal.

My last post went up minutes before the U.S. Supreme Court validated our relationships nationwide.

Congratulations to all!

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We, a married couple, in front of U.S. Supreme Court in April 2015 just before our 25th anniversary. Today that court validated all Gay and Lesbian relationships as equal and validated us for who we are, who we love.

And what about marriage?

Growing up I never dreamed that I would marry. In fact when I came out to my parents at age 16 my mother cried. She said she was crying not that I was gay, but that I would never be married, have a life long love or children. The children part didn’t bother me but the life long love and equal partner did.

I was gay and if that meant I would never marry then I was going to have to learn to live a single life. I would hope to meet a partner one day that would stay with me. We would live a life together without a legal contract. We would be subject to others making health care decisions for us. Others having rights to what we had built together if something happened. We would have to make our wishes known and protect what we could through trusts, contracts and wills. We could love but we would be different. We would never be able to marry or be recognized equally and legally.

Today I live a life that was never even on my radar. We have been together 25 years. We were able to marry here in California in 2008. In 2013 our marriage was recognized nationally. We now can make healthcare decisions for the other should we need to and our estate that we built together is ours. We are equal. Our life, ourselves to its core at the deepest level, is validated. It means more to me than I could ever begin to conceive that day when my mother cried.

I write this as we wait for the decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Many couples like ourselves wait to see if they too can be recognized as we are…Equal & Validated. I sit in anticipation that hopefully my brothers and sisters, who like me were born with a same sex attraction, will all finally be able to choose to marry if they wish.

Love, it’s a four letter word, a good one.

Same Love

Love, an emotion that is Part of our human experience.

Attraction, a tendency that is inate in us.

Equality, an ideal that is a quality that most believe in and strive for.

Respect, a quality of charachter.

Ireland made history yesterday. The Irish public, a mostly Catholic nation, voted overwhelmingly to write Marriage Equality into their constitution. Of eligible Irish voters 60.52% turned out to vote in the referendum. Of those going to the polls yesterday, 1,201,607 voted Yes for writing Marriage Equality into the constitution and 734,300 voted against the referendum. All political parties endorsed voting Yes.

A majority of the Irish understand the value of respect. They understand validation. They respect Love. They honor relationships.

I am moved. I am validated. I am respected. I am accepted. I am equal. I tip my top hat in honor of a nation that has evolved, a nation that has grown, a nation that is human.

I’ve known that I was attracted to my own sex since I was a very young boy, as long as I can even remember. I was taught to hide it, be ashamed of it and deny myself actually being myself. I and millions of others. Fortunately I was not one to follow the crowd or the message I was being given. I came out to my family and at school when I was but sixteen.

My world opened up. My family accepted me, my real friends in my high school stuck by me. I never even dreamed that one day, one day I would be respected enough by society at large to have my love accepted. My soul, my being, my love, my attraction, my expression, my self to the deepest core of me accepted and respected as equal. I thought I would always be lesser. I’m not.

Our Supreme Court of The United States will soon be handing down a decision. We hope the decision is just and respectful. We hope it will confirm the majority of states that have Marriage Equality and give Marriage Equality nationwide. Our national polls now show a majority of Americans support Marriage Equality. But witnessing a nation, a Christian Catholic nation, giving equality through a non-disputable majority vote… That moves me deeply.

We have a long way to go on many fronts as a human race inhabiting one world, to bring equality to each and every one of us on every necessary level. Yesterday Ireland took us a step in the right direction. I thank them. I honor them. I am humbled by them.

I have an Irish heritage. I have an Irish first and last name. I’ve always considered myself an American of Irish decent. I’m proud to call myself that today.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are Fearsome. I encourage you to enjoy their message and music. Love is just that, Love.

I was a single man

Twenty five years ago today I was on vacation in Key West. I was there with my roommate Scott and a good friend named Bobby. We were staying at Alexander’s Guest House on Fleming Street. I was in room number 2, a wonderful room on the front of the 1880s Victorian house that was Alexander’s.

That week we spent our days lounging in the sun, recovering from the night before,  roaming the quaint streets, eating and shopping. At night we were always out on the town in and out of the numerous bars of Duval street. Every night ending up at The Copa, a converted 1920’s Art Deco movie palace that was now (1990) one of the hottest discos in the states.

At that time in my life I frequented Key West. All through the late 1980’s I made the trek to Key West about 4 times per year. So much so the doorman at The Copa asked me if  I had a place there. The Copa was a special place for me. In my world I made it the disco that I had fantasized about in the late 1970’s that I was too young to experience. As the seasons changed The Copa did as well. There was always a new theme, new dance hit premiers, guest DJs, guest performers, as well as never ending loops of porn at the balcony bar. Yes the movie palace had a balcony which was now a place to catch a moment away and watch the dance floor below.

Yes I was Lola from Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana”. Twenty five years ago tonight I did not know that Rico was about to enter my life. The difference between Lola and I is that my Rico wasn’t killed, and I’m not still on that barstool with faded feathers in my hair and unfortunately The Copa burned to the ground a few years later.

On that Saturday Night 25 years ago, with my traveling companions Scott & Bobby in tow, we made our way into The Copa probably around our usual 11:30 pm as the crescendo was building. Somewhere after midnight with the energy building the whole place went black and silent. Unusual for this club. Suddenly, with the first thump of a song, cobalt blue pin spotlights hit dancers on the boxes, bars and old stage. This unfamiliar tune that was pumping through the speakers into our bones was entrancing. The dancers started to move, but they were posing not actually dancing. Then the video hit the big screen, yes it may have had a dance floor but it was a movie theatre before and the big screen was still there. It was the premier of Madonna’s Vogue. The freaking place exploded.

We danced the night away, drank more than our fair share and each found a gentleman to take back to our rooms to “keep us warm”. After all the next day was Sunday, we were in Key West on vacation, we were in our twenties, gay, single and we didn’t have to do anything until time for Tea Dance the next afternoon.

Sunday came. I can’t tell you much about the day other than I’m sure we shared our stories from the night before and raved about the experience of Madonna’s Vogue premier. Sunday afternoon we made our way to La Te Da ( La Terazza De Marti’) for afternoon Tea Dance, a Key West must. From there we would go to Tea By The Sea at Atlantic Shores and onto Duval Street and The Copa for yet another night of three single guys on vacation debauchery. Little did I know my world was about to change.

I drifted away from Scott and Bobby at Tea Dance. I wanted quiet to think. I made my way to the top of La Te Da. A widows walk about four stories up. A small observation deck where you could watch the dance floor below. I chose to look out the other side, over Key West Victorian rooftops to the Sea. I became calm. I made a decision. I decided that I didn’t need another man, a relationship to make me whole. I let go of the pain from the break up six months before. I made peace. I decided that my own happiness and security was up to me, not someone else. I felt calm.

At that very moment that I made peace within me I heard a voice from beside me say hello. I had no way of knowing that the face I was about to look into was my soul mates face. I had no way of knowing that when I turned to respond that I would soon be moving 3000 miles to live with that man. I had no way of knowing that I would fall in love with him, I just turned said hello and a conversation started.

Today that man is my better half, my legal husband. Legal husband? In 1990 that was not even a fantasy. We have a home, six dogs, a wonderful family on both sides that loves us and supports us. We have careers, retirement plans, investment properties and most of all we love each other, care for each other, support each other and we laugh… A lot.

Twenty Five years ago, two young men who met at Tea Dance.

Twenty Five years ago, two young men who met at Tea Dance.

Last week in front of The Supreme Court of The United States, two legally married men about to celebrate 25 years together.

Last week in front of The Supreme Court of The United States, two legally married men about to celebrate 25 years together.

Happy Anniversary babe! I’m so glad you said hello.

Anniversaries

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We have 3 of them.

Being a gay couple together for many years now we have 3 anniversaries.

The day we met 24 years ago it was instant. April 1990. We started a long distance relationship as I lived in Virginia and he in Seattle. After six months of that it was move or part. We definitely did not want to part so I moved to Seattle October 1990. We always have celebrated the April date because we felt we connected immediately.

Then there’s the wedding date. July 9, 2008. Yes 6 years ago today we married legally in California before prop 8 passed. Prop 8 did not invalidate our marriage but only prevented same sex couples from marrying after it’s passage. Those that were married stayed married in the eyes of the state of California.

We had been together 18 years at that point and did not think that marriage would change our relationship. It did. Marriage made us stronger. Our families really got into it, suddenly our siblings were really, legally in laws. We were legally family. It made a difference. We were legally bound and could make decisions for the other if needed. It was actually reaffirming. Strange but true.

We were married at the county administration office by a clerk with both straight and gay couples watching and all were supportive. We saw straight couples marry right there with us and were witnesses for our close friends John & Tim. We were the same. I hope those couples are as happy and secure as we are.

Afterwards we called friends from the car (we had not told anyone but the restaurant we were going to) and told friends one by one we had just married and that we were going to be at Paesano’s on 30 th st and if they could stop by for pizza beer and wine it was on us. Sixty people showed up with a moments notice to celebrate. It was a perfect day. We then called our families as most are out of town and shared the news. The love and joy that surrounded us I will never forget and will always be grateful for.

We still celebrate April 29 as our anniversary, but we don’t forget July 9 and celebrate it too.

So happy anniversary to my Fearsome Better Half!