Posts Tagged ‘Marriage Equality’

Insisting I get back to “normal,” I found myself on a bike at the gym reading the New Yorker. It’s the latest issue and the extremely long, entangled article titled, “Are You My Mother?” (a gay couple, an adoption plan, and a brutal custody battle) by Ian Parker held my interest; so much so that I would have never have left the bike if not for my aching back! New York family law was in the midst of defining what makes a parent for same sex couples – biology, adoption, support, intent? After all, it is a bit tricky.

Still I had two mothers long before it was even possible with open adoptions, LGBT rights, and the latest in reproductive wizardry. My mothers had made an arrangement in 1949; Nell would care for me while the Flapper was recuperating from her injuries. My biological mother couldn’t afford to pay her and she didn’t offer. I found out later the Flapper was receiving a small stipend from the state of PA as a widow with children, but my foster parents never asked for money. No papers had been signed, only an oral contract asking Nell NOT to adopt me.

In this Brooklyn case of two mothers (Hamilton v Gunn) there was also no contract signed. Two women were a couple who had planned to adopt, it was an international adoption and so one had to “pretend” to be a single heterosexual woman, only before the adoption became final these women broke up. Pure and simple – they were no longer a couple, yet the one woman, Hamilton, who had begun the process of adoption still wanted a child. And so she continued and brought home a boy from Ethiopia. They had never married, though one claimed they’d been engaged.

For years the previously romantic couple continued their friendship, naming the other woman, Gunn, the boy’s Godmother, To complicate matters, this other woman continued to help financially and also to babysit at times. It wasn’t until Hamilton decided to return to Great Britain where she would be able to find work and be close to her family that Gunn sought out a lawyer, thereby striking new territory in parent equality cases – many times while reading this article I thought to myself, if this had been between a man and a woman what would have happened? Why is a same sex couple treated differently by the courts?

In most family law cases it comes down to this: what is the best decision for the child! This best-interests rule is dubious at best. Hillary Clinton wrote in 1973 that the rule is used as “…a rationalization by decision-makers justifying their judgements about a child’s future, like an empty vessel into which adult perceptions and prejudices are poured.”   http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/22/what-makes-a-parent

Who will be able to afford the best schools, the better vacations, etc and most commonly it was the marginalized parent without resources who would inevitably lose. The women’s movement gave us some freedom, but made mothers who traditionally hadn’t developed a career outside the home, more vulnerable in family custody hearings by granting more rights to fathers. Remember the movie Kramer vs Kramer? That scenario scarred me for life.

In the end, Gunn lost her case because the judge said that their plan to adopt had terminated – that it had not “continued unabated.” The little boy would get his passport back, but since Gunn has appealed the ruling, there will be no flying away to England in the foreseeable future. So the lawyers get richer and the child is stuck in limbo.

In cases like these, I am always drawn to the Biblical story involving two mothers and the sound Judgement of Solomon. I want to believe the real mother would naturally give up her child in the end, would never allow a sword to be used, even in the metaphorical sense. Maybe that’s because I was always going back and forth, between two mothers, two states, two very different temperaments. With Nell and Daddy Jim I had the unconditional love of two parents, and for that reason the Flapper never insisted I return to her. She worked hard, she moved to NJ, and she waited, until it was my decision.

And in my opinion, love, like the definition of family, is expanding all the time.





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Kinda makes up for that Supreme Court decision that gave Bush a second term, doesn’t it? Just when we think politics is all smoke and mirrors, something like this comes along, and renews my faith in our old republic. Confederate flags are coming down, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay, and love in all shapes, sizes and genders wins! To honor the SCOTUS decision on #MarriageEquality, Facebook friends turned their profiles into one long stream of colorful rainbows.

And an old friend posted this lovely sidebar:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/26/justice-scalia-suggests-asking-a-hippie-about-gay-marriage-heres-how-to-find-one-near-you/ It’s funny because the only person who still talks about Hippies in my life is Ada, and now it’s more of a funny, wistful look back at her life raising three sons in the 60s.

Leave it to Chief Justice Tony Scalia to make this analogy, and I’m trying to decipher his meaning here, about Justice Kennedy’s albeit sentimental ruling. We should just ask a “Hippie” what he thinks about the ‘freedom of intimacy” or in other words, in Scaliaworld of Hippie-past, we should all just have us some free love.

He first quoted the majority opinion, which said that “‘the nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality.” Then, he added, “Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage.” “Ask,” he added, “the nearest hippie.”

Well first of all Tony, I think that spirituality kinda means religion, for those of us not tied to a church. The Post article was so hysterical, I had to share it with my very own Hippie-in-Residence, Bob. His first response was that old Tony is “…an asshole.” His second response was, “Did you see where Hippies live?”

Oh yeah, The data Estately used to round-up their Hippies was based on these variables: “The number of communes and intentional communities per capita in each state, the number of food co-opers per capita in each state, the number of local Etsy stores per capita selling hemp, patchouli and tie-dye products; and the percentage of Facebook users who express interest in the Grateful Dead, Phish, cannabis, tie-dye, peace, LSD, Bob Dylan or hippies.” 

And of course, my Old Woodstock alum mentioned that Vermont was the number one state to find a Hippie! And it just so happens the Rocker will be playing the Friendly Gathering festival in Timber Ridge, Vermont tonight on the Wood Stage with The Parlor Mob http://www.frendlygathering.com/#about

So for all you reformed ex-Hippies, new-age Hipsters, and just plain folks looking to rock out hard, why not take a road trip to the Green Mountains and get your Mob on? http://www.parlormob.comparlor-mob

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What d’ya know! We actually did get a foot and a half of snow just in time for Valentine’s Day, and the next day it was sunny and melting. Unfortunately, I gave away my beloved cross country skis a long time ago, the pair I had kept in a sacred shrine in a NJ garage. In the Berkshires, I would just strap them on and take off into the trails behind our farmhouse at the edge of a bird sanctuary. Eventually, I gave up hope. We just never got enough snow at the Shore to matter, and I figured that moving to VA would be the end of my snow sporting days. Little did I know.

We do have a small ski resort here in Central VA. Really, I was surprised too. Wintergreen is where some people will go for the weekend with their kids and snowshoes and skates. It’s one county over, and a few miles higher in elevation, a short car ride although we’ve never been. I guess when you come from a landscape that was filled with snow and winter activities, the idea of actually paying for fun in the snow – snow that was mostly manufactured anyway – just wasn’t the same. And let’s face it, our knees are a bit rusty too. Still, watching athletes compete in Sochi…

I have to ask, what makes somebody want to hurtle themselves down an icy track at 60 miles per hour, face-down on a sled the size of an old iPad? The Skeleton, kinda crazy right? But it was one of those events, like car accidents, you can’t seem to stop watching. And the US beating Russia in Ice Hockey, brilliant! But Figure Skating left me switching over to House of Cards on Netflix. Now that was a rush, holey moley. Frank Underwood is the newest Soprano-like villain; a man you love to hate.  

I celebrated Valentine’s Day last night with my man, since he was working on Cupid’s night. He shoveled a path to the grill and we had an amazing dinner; some surf and turf, some cauliflower gobi with sourdough bread and of course Ben and Jerry played a supporting role at the end. We Virginians also celebrated a major victory in marriage equality. Our 2006 ban on same-sex marriage was struck down by a woman judge on Valentine’s eve: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/02/virginia-same-sex-marriage-ban-ruled-unconstitutional.html For a state that was supposed to be “For Lovers” and made its name in history by finally ruling that interracial marriage was in fact, constitutional, it was poetic justice.

Judge Allen began her opinion by quoting Mildred Loving, the plaintiff in the famous Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which declared bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional, and went on to quote Abraham Lincoln, who said, “It can not have failed to strike you that these men ask for just … the same thing—fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.” She then applied his message to same-sex couples: “The men and women, and the children too, whose voices join in noble harmony with Plaintiffs today, also ask for fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as it is in this Court’s power, they and all others shall have.”  

Thank you Judge Arenda Allen! VA joins the progressive march to freedom for lovers everywhere. Proving it’s not who you sleep with, but the slow, sleepwalking pace of justice that will win in the end. So there you go Putin.  



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And I say “Hell no!” My indignation this morning has nothing to do with the five, count ’em, 5 weddings we’ve been invited to this year. I’m actually glad our friend’s children and our children’s friends have decided to tie the knot. I’m equally ecstatic that my niece in MN is finally allowed to marry her partner.

What gets my Irish up is our Republican candidate for Governor – Ken Cuccinelli. If you think our current ultrasound Governor, who will hopefully be indicted soon for accepting boatloads of gifts from a political donor who presumably expected payback https://mountainmornings.net/2013/08/04/a-gift-horse/, was bad, you won’t believe what kind of religious zealot Cuccinelli is; he would like to take us back to the past, long before “irreconcilable differences” became grounds for a divorce .

His record as AG and Senator is indicative of his extreme ideology; he would like to regulate ” who you marry, what kind of contraception you use, and when you can end a bad marriage.”                email20130918.jpg

Luckily, most polls show that his opponent, Terry McAuliffe, is ahead. Not surprisingly, we women really like Terry; “Cuccinelli has a 7-point lead among men, while McAuliffe has a 14-point lead among women in the poll.”
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/ken-cuccinelli-terry-mcauliffe-virginia-governor-2013-poll-96976.html#ixzz2fLhhOlAS So get out there ladies, we’ve got just a few weeks left, October will be here and gone before you know it!

Besides the GOP stand or “war on women,” as adjuncts to men, you know made out of a piece of rib or something, my dander is severely raised when they try to deny science. Because this too is personal. Over the past year, three cousins and a friend have been diagnosed with cancer. They are fighting the good fight, with surgery, chemo and radiation, and I’d like to believe that our legislators will continue to fund evidence-based research at our esteemed public universities. My love and a casserole or a prayer shawl are with them all.  And my vote, for Terry.

I’d like to believe that every marriage will last forever, that every child will have two loving parents of any gender that can afford the time and money to raise them, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/can-smart-economics-turn-us-into-better-parents/279695/ and that cancer will be eradicated in my lifetime. I’d like to believe that love is all you need.


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Let’s raise our glasses, or our coffee cups, to the French! Today Marriage Equality is de rigeur in this predominantly Catholic country. Legalizing same-sex unions wasn’t easy, even though the mayor of Paris is openly gay. In fact it’s the biggest shift in policy since abolishing the death penalty in 1981…I wonder if SCOTUS is listening? I am ecstatic, and hoping for a complete overhaul of the wedding industry, which could use a touch of LGBT creativity.

But it’s not just the business of getting married that may be overhauled as state after state grants gays the right to marry. A recent article in The Atlantic posits that we heteros may learn a thing or two from gay marriage.


“Same-sex spouses, who cannot divide their labor based on preexisting gender norms, must approach marriage differently than their heterosexual peers.”

Liza Mundy has gathered most of the data from around the world on the sociological complications of straight vs gay marriage. Who will pay the mortgage? Who will run the kids from school to tennis? Who cooks and who will do the laundry? There is even a study where researchers threw a bunch of toys out on the floor with a child and its parents to see how parents interact during play…sure enough, it was the hetero dads who played lincoln logs in the corner by themselves.

I was in a bank line that wasn’t moving the other day, so I struck up a conversation with the dad and a stroller directly in front of me. I told him about my Love Bug, and he told me all about the same age baby girl he was caring for, his daughter, who was happily smiling at me whenever I looked at her. By way of explanation he said she was getting fussy so he thought he’d venture out. Then he volunteered that his wife was finishing a fellowship at UVA and they were moving to Seattle in just a few weeks. I said that must be exciting, and told him about my son-in-law’s fellowship in Nashville. But he didn’t seem very excited about moving cross country, and then the line started to move and he was gone.

I didn’t ask him “What do you do,” as I know some others might have done to try and pigeonhole his motives for staying at home to care for his daughter. I could see very well what he did, he had a clean, smiling, happy baby with him. I love to see young men caring for their children, during the week, when it is obvious this is their role for now, while the wife earns the money. Religious zealots, who fear gay marriage for whatever reasons, should take heart to learn that gay men are just as likely to denote one partner to stay-at-home (“specialize”) in their marriage as heterosexual partners. According to the latest Census:

“32 percent of married heterosexual couples with children have only one parent in the labor force, compared with 33 percent of gay-male couples with children. (Lesbians also specialize, but not at such high rates, perhaps because they are so devoted to equality, or perhaps because their earnings are lower—women’s median wage is 81 percent that of men—and not working is an unaffordable luxury.)”

Maybe this fact alone should put an end to the “mommy wars?” My friend Lee was an assistant DA in MA, a high powered attorney. She found a wonderful nanny, from France in fact, and had a very supportive husband with more reasonable working hours. It never occurred to us, both feminists, that we might be at war because I chose to stay at home!

So look out all you newly married heterosexual couples. Gay marriage just may have a profound effect on our culture, in a very good way. The old playing field is getting some brand new sod, and everything you may have once thought was traditionally your duty in marriage, is up for debate. Now, Bob, about that cooking class in Italy…

First French gay couple wed

Meet the first French couple – Vincent Autin, left, and his partner Bruno Boileau sign a document during their marriage in Montpellier, southern France, on May 29, 2013

Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/05/29/meet-frances-first-married-gay-couple/#ixzz2UmudbzoC

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