Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gone Smithin' - Class of '99

10 year college reunion = good memories. The many traditions of Smith College are the backbone of the school and whenever I return to campus they are the things that really stand out to me. I usually forget about them until I step foot on the beautiful grounds and begin to think about all the powerful and influential women who are Smithies. The school, the women, the faculty, the students, the programs, the feeling of Smith - it is all very inspiring.

It was appropriate for me to be there for a long weekend because I really needed it. I needed the inspiration, the love and the feeling of home. I've recently been dealing with failure and insecurity and a little bit of worthlessness that creeps into my consciousness every once in awhile. As much as the acomplishments of some Smithies can be daunting I find that the sense of community overcomes all inferiorities. To me, Smithies inspire.


The Ivy Day Parade -

Class of '44:

Class of '59

Class of '84

Class of '99

Commencement -

That's the commemcement speaker Tammy Baldwin '84 - First openly gay WI Congresswoman (see her WAY up there...our zoom is broken, sigh)

Hot Tubbing (ok, well, that's our new tradition) -

Illumination Night -

Class Photo -

We had such a good time that by the end B was an honorary alumna and she took the role very seriously.

Journal of a Smithie

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Breaking (my heart) News

Yesterday the California Supreme Court decided that my marriage was OK for the State of California but that that's enough - no more of this same-sex marrying stuff. So, the fight continues! We will continue to expel myths perpetrated by opponents, we will continue to live as out and proud gay persons, we will continue to be responsible, repectful and hardworking citizens, and we will continue to love each other even if we are not allowed to call our relationships a marriage.

Albany had a small but effective Day of Decision Rally yesterday. We stood in front of City Hall with our LGBT allies and friends and encouraged each other to get involved - the fight continues in California and it continues in New York.

A small snipit of what B and I actually said:

(uhhhh, technical difficulties - I'll post the news clip when I learn how to embed code)

Journal of a very important fight

Thursday, May 21, 2009


My little nephew Silas likes to play poker.

Innocently he grabs the cards and chips and nonchalantly gurgles "let's play poker, folks":

Everyone wants to join in and pretty soon Silas has just two chips left (covered in drool, of course), but his grin tells us he's got something up his sleeve:

Unbeknownst to us, Silas is a chip hoarder and has a secret stash in his illicit game cabinet:

But, soon enough he has distracted us all from his cheating ways when he wows the crowd with his rendition of Yankee Doodle:


Journal of an auntie who knows just what he's thinking...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Equality and Justice Day 2009

April 28, 2009 arrived with excitement levels high as close to 2,000 people descended on Albany for Equality and Justice Day, Empire State Pride Agenda’s annual day of lobbying. Busses and carloads of LGBT people and allies traveled from across New York State to have their voices heard by State Senators and Assembly members.

Equality and Justice Day is an opportunity for constituents to speak to their elected officials about legislation affecting the LGBT community. This year constituents met with their Senators and Assembly members to discuss three pieces of legislation. GENDA (the gender expression non-discrimination act) prohibits transgender discrimination in housing, employment, education, credit and public accommodations. The NYS Assembly passed GENDA in 2008, 108-34.

The Dignity for All Students Act creates a statewide public school policy prohibiting harassment and bullying based on race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The Assembly passed the bill in 2009 by an overwhelmingly positive vote of 131-5.

The Marriage Equality bill legalizes civil marriage for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage is now legal in Maine, Iowa and three states bordering New York - Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts, as well as Canada. Supporters of marriage equality hope to join their neighbors soon by allowing same-sex couples access to marriage and the 1, 324 New York rights and responsibilities that come with the designation of civil marriage. The Assembly passed marriage equality legislation in 2007 by a vote of 85-61.

After the well executed morning registration process participants gathered in the Albany Convention Center for the welcome breakfast featuring Governor David Paterson, Executive Director of Empire State Pride Agenda Alan Van Capelle, Senator Tom Duane and Assemblymen Daniel O’Donnell and Richard Gottfried.

Van Capelle, a rousing and inspirational speaker excited the crowd with news that this is the first Equality and Justice Day to be sold out. He went on to introduce the Governor who stepped up to the podium amidst shouts of David! David! David! Paterson, a popular advocate for LGBT rights proclaimed that “we are going to change the law and change the culture of the way people treat each other”. In the first 1 ½ months of his administration Governor Paterson mandated that NYS recognize marriages performed outside of the state and now, in the first month of his second year he “wants to sign the marriage equality bill!” Paterson has introduced a marriage equality bill similar to the one introduced in 2007, which passed the Assembly but never got to the Senate.

Senator Duane, the first openly gay man to serve in the NYS Legislature, encouraged people to tell their stories to their elected officials as he energized the crowd with the chant “It’s not if, it’s when, we demand it now,” referencing the three pieces of legislation at the center of Equality and Justice Day. O’Donnell, the Assembly sponsor of the Marriage Equality Bill, shouted out that we need to remind religious leaders that there is separation of church and state. The Assembly sponsor of GENDA, Richard Gottfried, pointed out how embarrassing it is that many states and cities are ahead of New York when it comes to protections for students, gender expression protections and marriage equality.

Groups then split off to meet with their elected officials and others gathered with their groups to plan a strategy for the afternoon meetings. At lunchtime, participants grabbed boxed lunches and headed to Capitol Park for the highly attended and much anticipated afternoon rally. Hand-made signs pumped up and down and chants rang out supporting GENDA, Dignity and Marriage Equality. Again, Van Capelle rallied the huge crowd before introducing the MC of the rally, Alan Cumming. Cumming, a Broadway, film and television actor, introduced a line of speakers including Jewish and Episcopal leaders, PFLAG member and mother of Anne Hathaway who read a spirited letter written by her daughter, Theresa Sayward, a Republican assemblywoman who voted for marriage equality in 2007, union representatives and an ACLU representative.

Late afternoon workshops and closing remarks brought the day to an end. Weary travelers hopped back onto busses and into cars thinking about how to carry the momentum forward. It was a grand day in the fight for basic human rights.

Journal of (the text of) my first published article

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

NYS Assembly passes marriage bill!

Last night the New York State Assembly passed the marriage equality bill 89-52. B and I were present for the long 4+ hours of discussion and while it was a long evening, it was inspiring and educational. From the notes we took, 6 assemblymembers changed their 2007 vote from no to yes. Most of them spoke about the change of mind they had experienced and to me, their words were the most compelling because it means that we can change the minds of people with our stories.

Our visibility and the stories of our lives are changing the way this nation thinks about equality and humanity. We are all familiar with the constitutional statement that "all men are created equal", but we each have a different interpretation of the statement. In my experience, more and more people are beginning to have the same interpretation, one that leaves religion out of the equation and one that uses the actual definitions of all and equal, not his/her own definitions.

The bill now travels to the Senate, where the majority of votes are still not on our side. B and I met with our senator's aide a few weeks ago and while he wasn't hostile to the issue, he wasn't engaged. This is a problem. If the issue isn't seen as important or pressing or worth the time to read through the material, our stories are not reaching the senators and minds will not be changed.

Being the gay media targets B and I seem to be, we were approached for an interview by the local news. My poor B got totally cut out of the speaking part, but she looked good next to me.

Journal of a citizen doing her part

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Maine Street USA...moving in a new direction

Maine just became the fifth state to allow same-sex marriage! Governor Baldacci has signed the marriage equality bill into law. The law will take effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session in June.

Baldacci's statement:
"I have followed closely the debate on this issue. I have listened to both sides, as they have presented their arguments during the public hearing and on the floor of the Maine Senate and the House of Representatives. I have read many of the notes and letters sent to my office, and I have weighed my decision carefully. I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste. I appreciate the tone brought to this debate by both sides of the issue. This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions. There are good, earnest and honest people on both sides of the question.

In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage. Article I in the Maine Constitution states that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person’s civil rights or be discriminated against.’ This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State. It guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine’s civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government. Even as I sign this important legislation into law, I recognize that this may not be the final word. Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the State belongs to the people. While the good and just people of Maine may determine this issue, my responsibility is to uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I believe that signing this legislation is the right thing to do."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Marriage Equality Album...Join in!

Show America What Marriage Equality Looks Like

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) have created a project to show America what Marriage Equality looks like. Join in!

Five years ago, a revolution started in Massachusetts. On May 17, 2004, the first same-sex couples ever to marry in the United States stood in churches, backyards, and town halls, and said "I do."

Five years later, 16,500 same-sex couples have married in Massachusetts and 3 more states have adopted full marriage equality – Connecticut, Vermont, and Iowa. Marriage equality bills are moving forward in numerous states, and 18,000 couples married in California before Proposition 8 brought marriage equality to a halt there.

Equality means everyone.
GLAD congratulates and celebrates these loving, committed couples – gay and straight – who have joined in marriage in the past five years.

Join the Celebration!
We invite all couples who have married in an equality state — Massachusetts (since May 17, 2004); Connecticut (since November 12, 2008), Iowa (since April 27, 2009), or California (June 16, 2008 – November 4, 2008)* to help us show America what marriage equality looks like.

How to Participate
Email your favorite wedding photo to

Please include your names (only first names will be published) and the date and location of the wedding. Thank you!

Photos will be added throughout the month of May.

Here is the photo that we sent in last night:

Journal of [] what my marriage looks like

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Last weekend marked our 6 month wedding anniversary. We spent it visiting with my grandma and aunt in hot and sunny PA! It was a wonderful ladies only weekend filled with good conversation, food and the viewing of Grey Gardens, the HBO version. Even Luna the cat joined us.

Unfortunately, it was a very short trip b/c the driving part takes 8 hours. Ugggghhh. It was a long time in the car. Luckily my grandma likes to stay up late and so our 6:30 evening arrival time didn't signal her bedtime. We stayed up late discussing what the world will look like without Bea Arthur and Guiding Light. Did you know that Guiding Light is the longest running soap opera? My grandma used to listen to it when it first aired in 1937 as a 15 minute radio program. The show moved to TV in 1952, became a 30 minute program in 1968 and an hour long in 1977. Some may say that the hour long show is about an hour too long, but with a history like that we have to give it a break.

My grandma doesn't get up and go much these days but, dang it, she has been many many places with her friend the internet. When she isn't looking up her stock performance she is facebooking or reading my blog or emailing family members to "send more pictures, please." She reads the local, national and worldwide news and even likes to mess around with the gossip and entertainment sites.

Next time I visit I fully expect her to be sporting the newest in bluetooth technology. I have a lot to learn from her.

Journal of a granddaughter.