Thursday, August 12, 2010

Denied Marriage, SHE and I Ended up the News

     The Los Angeles Times reports:
     Bruce Mayhall and Tom Rastrelli were the first in line Thursday morning at the Beverly Hills Courthouse, ready to get a marriage license if good news came down from Judge Vaughn Walker.  They dressed in matching pink shirts and waited.

     As the hours passed, they watched heterosexual couple after heterosexual couple -- decked out in suits and white dresses -- pass them in line to get married. They waited off to the side for their turn. CLICK HERE FOR THE REST
     Here's a short interview of SHE and I after we were denied a chance to get a marriage licence today. The interview was done by Phillip of Unite the Fight, and will be part of an article on LGBT POV.

Judge Walker Lifts Stay, but Imposes a New Temporary Stay -- WTF?

     This morning, SHE and I went to the Beverly Hills Municipal Court building in hopes of getting married.  We arrived shortly before 9:00 and were the first same sex couple in line awaiting Judge Walker's promised announcement (between nine and noon) that would possibly lift the stay from enforcement of California Proposition 8.  If he lifted the stay, as Governor Schwarzenegger (Republican) and Attorney General Brown (Democrat) proposed, there was the possibility that a window would be opened in which same sex couples in California could be legally married.  The question was how long the window would remain open before a ruling from a higher court slammed it shut.  SHE and I weren't going to miss a possible chance to marry.

     We sat and waited, while an endless stream of opposite sex couples passed us, approached the clerk's window, and received their marriage licenses within a matter of minutes.  After an hour of waiting for Judge Walker's decision, we'd watched about four or five opposite sex couples be whisked off into a private room by a justice of the peace and emerge less than ten minutes later happily married.  The clerks were kind and supportive of us as we waited, constantly pushing refresh on our smart phone's Google search "Judge Walker Stay."  County workers hopped on and off the elevators across the waiting area, smiling and giving us thumbs up, hoping for the best.

     More same sex couples arrived, each hoping to have their unions recognized by the state as marriages, hoping to have their loving commitments affirmed and backed up by the law.  The news media arrived.  First just a few stations, then the newspapers and more networks all wanting interviews.  SHE and I were dressed in khaki shorts and matching pink t-shirts.  We hadn't thought ahead about the possibility of being on the news when we were getting dressed.  We just wanted to get a marriage license so we could be married.  Now, I was wishing I had on a tie or at least a button down shirt and a nice pair of jeans, thankfully I'd taken the time to shave and trim my nose hair. (Having been on the road for the past month, the trim was much needed.)

     The news interviews began in full force.  ABC, CBS, NPR, LA Times, LA Weekly, NBC, LGBT POV, KMX 1070, etc.  FOX was absent.  

     The questions were similar:  "Why now?"  "First in line, you must really want to get married?"  "Why not wait until you can have a large wedding with family and friends?" "Why not wait until you are sure that your marriage won't be declared invalid by a higher court?"  "What does marriage mean to you?"  Etc.

     Our answers followed:  "We don't want to miss a window, if there is to be one."  "Time is not a luxury.  If the opportunity to be married arises, we're going to take it before the other side has a chance to take it away again."  "We're getting married because that's what two people who love each other do."  Etc.

     More same sex couples arrived, sat on the bench or leaned against walls, eyes fixed to their Google searches, hoping for the chance to be married.  More opposite sex couples arrived, walked up to the windows, got their marriage licenses, and left to be married.

     As tensions mounted in the same sex couples, news reporters, and courthouse staff, adrenaline pumped through my body, the physical manifestation of my emotions, my hope for the chance to marry the man that I love.  The small waiting area overflowed with same sex couples as opposite sex couples navigated the crowd to get their licenses.  

     11:00.  Nothing. 11:15.  Nothing.  11:45.  Still nothing.  11:55.  Nada.  12:00.  I felt like I was going to vomit.  12:01.  Still no news on the internet.  12:03.  Couples squeezed into the waiting space, wall to wall.  12:05.  News reporters asked us if we'd heard anything yet. 12:10.  The courthouse staff apologized that they had no information yet.  Then the news: on the cell phone of couple dressed in white named Tim and Floyd, Logo News reported that Judge Walker had denied the stay.   

     The room erupted in cheers.  Couples embraced one another and then split to hug the strangers next to them.  The news reporters' cameras flashed, pressed against the windows from outside.  We lined up, ready to join into the succession of opposite sex couples that had been receiving their marriage licenses.  SHE and I were first in line.  Smiles.  Tears.  Exhales.  EQUALITY!  This was the moment we'd been waiting for since November 2008.  More news reports flashed on smart phone screens informing us that Judge Walker had denied the stay.

     We stood and waited.  And waited.  The court workers apologized.  There was still no official word from the county.  Then, a text message on someone's phone informed us that Judge Walker had issued another temporary stay.  Jovana Lara (who BTW is absolutely gorgeous and a sweetheart to boot.  Ryan Owens is very hot.) sadly relayed the news from her smart phone that the AP was reporting that Judge Walker released the stay but then issued an additional temporary stay.  There were to be no marriages for our kind today.

     Shoulders dropped.  Tears fell.  Couples embraced.  We all stood.  Depleted.  Motionless.  At a loss.  

     Then, one of the clerks asked all of us to move to the back of the waiting room, so that the opposite sex couples could come to the front of the line to receive their marriage licenses.  We surrendered our spots in line.

     Same sex couples trickled out, quietly.  Reporters asked for reactions, comments.  More TV cameras, flashes, confusion, anger, loss, sadness...  

     Opposite sex couples trickled in, some in tuxedos and white dresses.

     SHE and I were the first couple to arrive and we were the last to leave.  We arrived with hopes of equality.  We left those hopes still in tact, but hit once again in the gut with the reality that we are still second class citizens.

SHE and I at the Beverly Hills Municipal Court awaiting the announcement.

American Family Association and Other Right Wing Religious Groups Call for a National Ban on the Building of Mosques

     The American Family Association and other Christian-American groups are calling for a ban on the building of any new mosques in the United States.  What part of the freedom of religion on which our nation was founded do they not get?

     You might remember that a few months ago, the AFA blamed Hitler and the Holocaust on the the gays.

     In addition to an elementary school civics lesson, these hypocrites also need a refresher course in their Jesus' golden rule.

     Here's Keith Olbermann's report on these Republican Christian's hatred for Muslims.

President Obama Continues to Enforce Don't Ask Don't Tell as More Stellar Soldiers' Careers Are Ended

     Did President Obama flat out lie to Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach when he promised to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

     It appears that way, as Lt. Col. Fehrenbach's career in the military is likely over and will be fired by the Commander in Chief any day now for being gay.

     The careers of  veteran Captain Jonathan Hopkins and West Point Cadet-Sgt. Katherine Miller have ended under Obama's rule.  When will the discrimination end?

     Here are Rachel Maddow's interviews with the aforementioned victims of DADT.

NPR's Report on Religious Protests of Judge Walker's Prop 8 Ruling

     NPR reports:
     In Atlanta, about 20 people gathered outside the state capitol building Saturday to protest same-sex marriage. It was the most recent stop on a 17-state bus tourput together by the National Organization for Marriage. Brian Brown, the president of the group, blasted the ruling last week by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker overturning Proposition 8. [I wonder if they've read it.]
     "There is something wrong when one judge with the stroke of a pen can strike down your civil right to vote," Brown said.  The handful of attendees was outnumbered tenfold by counterprotesters across the street.
     Did these people not learn their civics and government lessons in middle and high school?  Do they not understand the system of checks and balances between the three branches of the U.S. government?  

     Here's the full NPR report: