I’ll admit it: I love Edie Windsor, the woman who is standing up in the Supreme Court on behalf of same-sex marriage. So I’d want to call your attention to another article about her no matter what (especially one that has a spiffy new picture of her!).
But what struck me even more about this article is how it shows how committed Edie is to continuing to learn and grow. It ends with this exchange:
“Did you participate in the Dyke March the day before gay pride?”
“Well, I loved it, I thought it was great. I sang with them. Some went topless. I used to wish they would put on clothes. I was once saying something about disliking some of the extreme stuff to a straight friend, and she said, ‘Edie, somebody has to keep pushing the envelope.’ I said: ‘I think you’re right. I apologize for everything I thought.”
You can read the whole interview at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/magazine/edith-windsor-takes-back-what-she-said-about-topless-gay-activists.html?ref=magazine&_r=0
They met in 1965, when David Richard was assigned as a student teacher to Del Thusius in Portage, Wisconsin. It was love at first sight.
Their life partnership ended on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court was debating gay marriage, when Thusius died in a Plainwell nursing home at the age of 85. In between, they loved, taught in the same school district, lived together…and entered places separately. “One of us would go in and the other would stand behind the door for a minute and then walk in,” Reichard recalled.
They also evolved. For much of his life, Thusius struggled with his sexual orientation. Yet on Reichard’s most recent birthday, Thusius gave him a very special gift: a wedding ring.
You can read more at http://www.mlive.com/opinion/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2013/03/julie_mack_love_story_of_two_r.html
“They are in their mid-60s now — about the average age of a Supreme Court justice.”
So begins a USA Today article (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/03/10/supreme-court-gay-marriage-stonewall-inn-obama/1964933/) on how the Stonewall Generation views same-sex marriage, a topic the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up next week. As makes sense in as diverse a community as ours, there is little consensus. Some have decided getting married is a good thing, while others are marrying only because they must to keep benefits they had under previous arrangements when marriage wasn’t an option.
The article also discusses chronological age may impact one’s politics and priorities. As one person who was 20 in 1969 put it, “I was forced to meet people in bars that were owned by the Mafia. I was basically pushed into a criminal environment. Society pushed us underground. All I would have told you is that ‘I want to get back in the bar and dance.’ I wasn’t aware of what I didn’t have.” Now he says of the potential Supreme Court decision: “If the court denies me my basic rights, they will probably this time see a bigger riot on their hands than they did that night at Stonewall.”
They’re not all of older couples, but the title of the collection is right on: “20 Photos That Could Change Someone’s Mind About Gay Marriage.”
Surf over to http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/20-photos-that-could-change-someones-mind-on-gay-marriage to get your smile on.
Gay Marriage? That’s so 1960s….
Same-sex couples have been getting married for decades. The law may not have considered their marriages legitimate, but the couples that married certainly did. Ben Klassen, a young, queer research assistant studying same-sex marriage and union blessings before 1980 under the supervision of a professor at Simon Fraser University, is seeking interviewees.
“If you ever heard of or participated in such an event, or if you considered yourself married to your same-sex partner but did not have a ceremony, I would very much like to hear from you. I am also interested to hear from trans folks who, at the time, thought of their marriage as a ‘same-sex’ marriage. Finally, if you are lesbian, gay or trans and objected to same-sex marriages in the pre-1980s period for political or other reasons, please drop me a line.”
“Your contribution, no matter how small, is really important. By sharing your story and knowledge, you can help me document this lesser-known aspect of American history. You can provide information anonymously, or, if you choose, you can be identified by name as a contributor in any publication that includes information provided by you.”
“If you can spare a little time and have information to share, please contact me by email at bjk8 [at] sfu [dot] ca. Thank you!”
At 83, carefully coiffed, impeccably turned out, sunny, and very much in love, Edie Windsor is going to be our representative before the Supreme Court on March 27 when it hears her case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Unfortunately, Edie will go without her beloved Thea Spyer, her partner since the early 60s, who died in 2009. It was her death that brought Edie face-to-face with DOMA. Although Edie and Thea married in Canada in 2007, the U.S. federal government said they were legal strangers, and charged Edie 50% tax on everything Thea had given her over 40 years. The bill came to over $350,000, and Edie sued. It is her case the Supreme Court chose when asked to choose among multiple cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA.
“The idea that I might be a piece of history blows my mind. I think it’s kind of wonderful that I’m getting my chance to really ask for justice, and I suspect I’ll get it. I’m still that little kid from the civics class. And I think they’re going to rule in our favor because I think that’s just.”
For a long article on Edie and Thea, including how their story illustrates and intersects with LGBT history in this country, go to http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/meet-the-hero-of-the-marriage-equality-movement
Edith Windsor, 83, widow of Thea Spyer, this week defeated the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
When her partner of 42 years died in 2009, two years after the two had married in Canada, the federal government, citing DOMA, billed her $363,053. New York State followed suit, requiring taxes of $200,000. Much of the “inheritance” Ms. Windsor was paying taxes on were the house she and Thea had bought for $35,000 and the apartment they’d bought for $300,000: both had grown considerably in their worth in the decades they’d owned them. Had she and Thea been a heterosexual married couple, she would have been allowed to take full posession of their homes without paying a dime in taxes.
This week, in one of several cases nationwide challenging the constitutionality of DOMA, Ms. Windsor won her case. It is expected that the Supreme Court will be asked to review one or all of those lower court decisions that DOMA is unconstitutional. To read more about Ms. Windsor, you can see a New York Times article at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/nyregion/woman-says-same-sex-marriage-bias-cost-her-over-500000.html?_r=3&smid=fb-share
Looking for a quick video that makes the case for Social Security survivor benefits for same-sex couples? Alice might be who you’re looking for.
Alice Herman, age 76, was interviewed by ABC News on the day President Obama announced his support of same-sex marriage. In the video, which includes many pictures of her 45 years with her late spouse, she talks about the pain of being denied Social Secuirty death benefits for her. The video is available at http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/A-Widow-Celebrates-President-Obamas-Change-of-Heart-151051855.html
Researchers associated with the Williams Institute have just published more nuanced research on how older gay men are affected by minority stress, and what they use to counter these negative influences.
The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, examined 202 gay men between the ages of 44 and 75. They found that ”[b]oth sexual minority stress (perceived gay-related stigma, excessive HIV bereavements) and aging-related stress (independence and fiscal concerns) appeared to have been detrimental to mental health.” A sense of “mastery” helped mediate that stress, and being legally married helped more than simply being partnered. Counter to some assumptions, “[e]ducation, HIV status, and race/ethnicity had no significant effects.” To learn more about the study, go to http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2011.300384