Thursday, February 16, 2012

Victories large and small

I've been speaking out for gay rights and working for marriage equality for "oh these many years," and I want to take this moment to celebrate a big victory and a little one.

The big victory is that Washington's governor, Christine Gregoire, signed legislation on Monday to make marriage in our state "a civil contract between two persons who have each attained the age of eighteen years, and who are otherwise capable." Until it gets held up in the inevitable referendum process, we can all celebrate the fact that any consenting adult can marry the person whom they love.

Just to clarify, I am honestly not that stuck on the idea of marriage. In fact, I would prefer it if the government would get out of the marriage business altogether and strike the 1,110-some rights and responsibilities that are linked to the institution. But THAT would be much more costly and time-consuming and will never happen, so we have to commit ourselves before God and everyone - including the state.

With contributions from my fellow reporters Marcy Stamper and Ann McCreary, I wrote a story about how marriage equality will affect gays and lesbians in the Methow Valley. I am proud of the reporting work on the story; I learned a lot in the process of interviewing people and putting the story together; and I am happy to be able to share it with the world. Please click on Marriage Equality to read the entire piece on the Methow Valley News website.

The little victory is that I was invited to an impromptu celebration of the marriage equality law tonight at Carlos 1800 restaurant in Winthrop. The gay network sent out texts and emails to all the valley queer folk, and when I walked in, they occupied a good portion of the otherwise empty, bar/restaurant. I estimate around 50 to 60 people were there and I was the only straight person! I was welcomed with hugs and smiles and pats on the back and lots of thank yous. I met some new people, learned that one person (who wasn't there) is gay, and had a fun time laughing and talking with a very cool segment of our little community.

Thomas (front left) and Tony (front right) will be unable to live together in the United States until the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed. They are making their way through life, on their own terms, but when will they be able to settle down?

Here are my thoughts on marriage equality from a previous post - almost a year ago - on the same subject.

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