I married a Savage!

Columnist Dan Savage and his lesbian co-worker, Amy, get hitched in Seattle (Hat tip: Sully).
Amy Jennings lives with her girlfriend, Sonia, and I live with my boyfriend, Terry. Last Friday I accompanied Amy and Sonia to room 403, the licensing division, at the King County Administration Building. When Amy and Sonia asked the clerk for a marriage license, the clerk turned white. You could see, "Oh my God, the gay activists are here!" running through her head. County clerks in the marriage license office had been warned to expect gay couples sooner or later, but I guess this particular clerk didn't expect us to show up five minutes before closing on Friday.

The clerk called over her manager, a nice older white man, who explained that Amy and Sonia couldn't have a marriage license. So I asked if Amy and I could have one - even though I'm gay and live with my boyfriend, and Amy's a lesbian and lives with her girlfriend. We emphasized to the clerk and her manager that Amy and I don't live together, we don't love each other, we don't plan to have kids together, and we're going to go on living and sleeping with our same-sex partners after we get married. So could we still get a marriage license?

"Sure," the manager said, "If you've got $54, you have a marriage license."

It's not the marriage license I'd like to have, of course. But, still, let me count my blessings: I have a 10-year relationship (but not the marriage license), a house (but not the marriage license), a kid (but not the marriage license), and my boyfriend's credit-card bills (but not the marriage license). I don't know what a guy has to do around here to get the marriage license.

But I guess it's some consolation that I can get a meaningless one anytime I like, just so long as I bring along a woman I don't love and my $54.
George Bush and Marylin Musgrave can sleep better tonight. The sanctity of marriage is well preserved in Washington State!



The Compassionate Caning of America, or,
Bushies are Pussies


Cajones "R" Us

Surprise! The Gay Cabineros are actually showing signs of possesing the proverbial family jewels:
A new ad paid for by a gay Republican group uses Vice President Dick Cheney to help make its case against a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages.

The 30-second television commercial shows Cheney, whose daughter Mary is a lesbian, at a debate during the 2000 campaign discussing gay rights. "We live in a free society … and I think that means people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into."

Cheney added: "The matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate…. I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area."

The words "We agree" then appear in the ad, which is sponsored by the Log Cabin Republicans. The commercial begins airing in the Washington area today and is to be shown later in seven states viewed as key battlegrounds in the general election: Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. The ad includes scenes of 1960s civil rights protests and signs that say "Colored Waiting Room" to argue that gay marriage is a matter of individual liberty. [...]

Log Cabin's executive director, Patrick Guerriero, said the group decided to launch its campaign "because the exclusion and discrimination embodied in this amendment violates the principles upon which the Republican Party is founded." He said that donations to the group had grown since Bush's announcement and that the organization hoped to collect up to $1 million for the ad campaign. [...]

The College Republican National Committee also came to Bush's defense. "President Bush is exactly right when he says there is a consensus among Americans to protect the institution of marriage," said Eric Hoplin, the group's chairman. "If the Log Cabin Republicans are the loyal Republicans they claim to be, they should spend their millions on electing Republicans, not defeating them."
Or maybe, just maybe, you folks should quit spitting in the Gay Cabineros faces. If this is an issue that could spell victory or defeat, well, then, change your position you buncha hypocrites! What happened to that big tent, eh?


California Confused


California Supreme Court Suspends Gay Marriages - for now.

The California Supreme Court ordered an immediate halt to same-sex marriages in San Francisco and said Thursday that it would hear a case in May or June on the legality of such ceremonies.

The justices moved to block any more marriages, at least for now, until they decided whether SF Mayor Gavin Newsom had the power to authorize such unions.

Jon Davidson, an attorney for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a gay rights legal aid group, said the ruling simply put the issue on hold for now.

"The court has put everything on pause rather than stop," he said. "They are saying that until we hear this, you are on pause."

Newsom’s spokesman, Peter Ragone, said the city would comply with the ruling as soon as officials received the order.

Brian Fitch wants to know what caused the abrupt reversal. "I'm just wondering if someone got hurt? No one had seen a compelling enough reason yet. I'm three weeks into this and still not smote. The weather here couldn't be more gorgeous. If we'd had an earthquake, everyone would be saying God was mad. Ergo, I think He must be happy about all of this."

The order apparently does not affect the approximately 3,800 weddings performed at City Hall since February 12.



Kerry/McCain ??

The AP is reporting that John McCain wouldn't rule out being John Kerry's running mate on a Democratic-led bi-partisan ticket. On ABC's Good Morning America, the Arizona Republican said he would consider running for vice-president on the Democratic ticket if he received such an offer from Sen. Kerry, the party's presumptive presidential nominee.
John Kerry is a close friend of mine. We have been friends for years. Obviously I would entertain it.
Unlike some other Republican senators, he hasn't railed against Kerry, a fellow Vietnam veteran. This year, McCain has campaigned for the President and said he would continue to do so.

Sen. McCain proved in the 2000 Republican primaries that he could appeal to a large number of independent voters and many centrist to conservative Democrats. (Indeed, had McCain been his party's nominee for president in 2000 he would have won a landslide over Al Gore.) At the very least his pro-life views would turn the Democratic convention into a circus if Kerry were to place his name in nomination for V.P.

Should Kerry win the White House in November, McCain would be an ideal candidate for Secretary of Defense, State, or Homeland Security; or as National Security Advisor. (If I were advising Kerry, I'd certainly put him at the top of the list of cabinet posts.)

But I wonder this: Given that Sen. McCain is willing to consider a slot on the Democratic ticket, even though he's playing the Republican Party loyalist and publicly campaigning for Mr. Bush, could he possibly be entertaining the idea of casting a vote, in private, for his close friend Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts?


The Enlightenment

Following is an excellent column, published in this morning's Chicago Tribune (subscription), by Chicago journalist Carol Marin. It's an excellent essay highlighting a Chicago city council member (they're called aldermen in the Windy City) and his journey from voting against a Human Rights ordinance in the late 80's to marching for gay marriage rights this year outside the home of Chicago's Catholic Cardinal.

Who changed Ald. Mell's views on gay marriage?
by Carol Marin

Sometimes it's not what you say but how you look when you say it.

If you watched television news Thursday, you may have seen Ald. Richard "Dick" Mell. It wasn't his words that were so striking. It was his face.

The alderman and committeeman of Chicago's 33rd Ward had just arrived at the scene of his daughter's arrest. Deborah Mell, 35, was one of 300 protesters at the Cook County Building on North Clark Street, the same building where her father has his office. She was there with members of the gay and lesbian community demanding the right of homosexuals to marry in Cook County.

Descriptions vary but somewhere in the process of the protest there was either a willful or accidental collision between Deborah Mell and a plainclothes Chicago police lieutenant. Ms. Mell was arrested for misdemeanor battery, handcuffed and taken away.

Ald. Mell arrived on the scene right after that. He was beaming. Not because his daughter ran afoul of the law. It wasn't that. It was that his middle child had stood up for something she passionately believed in. It had taken courage.

"I love my daughter," declared the alderman, "and I'm proud of her."

Life is strange.

Until last week, maybe the most enduring image of Ald. Mell was the 1987 shot of him standing atop his desk in the City Council chambers waving his arms during the epic battle over who would succeed the late Mayor Harold Washington.

It was a mob scene. As aldermen slugged it out inside, outside a couple thousand demonstrators filled the streets. We in the media had to claw our way through the crowd just to get inside. Until recently, I had an old, ripped raincoat to prove it.

Mell by his own description is an "old-line Chicago politician," a ward boss, and these days, not insignificantly--the father-in-law of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is married to Mell's other daughter, Patti.

That's what makes this new picture of Dick Mell so interesting. And the story of him and Deborah important.

Ald. Mell has hardly been the poster boy for gay rights. Just a year before Washington died, there was an ordinance to protect homosexuals from discrimination on the floor of City Council. It was soundly defeated, 30-18. Mell was one of those who voted no. In response, gays in the packed gallery began singing "We Shall Overcome."

You can hear the regret in Mell's voice as he remembers turning to a colleague and saying, "What in the hell did we just do? This is the worst vote I've ever cast and I'll never do it again."

That vote took place on the eve of Deborah's 18th birthday and though Dick Mell didn't know she was gay, he suspected it. Attractive and sensitive, he says, "she wasn't interested in boys." It would take two more years before she could tell him she was a lesbian.

In the 90s, Deborah moved to San Francisco where it was easier to be an openly gay person than at home in Chicago.

She was gone nine years. Though there were family visits back and forth, Dick Mell talks about "the time we lost with each other--dinners, birthdays, little things." She moved back home three years ago.

You get the sense in talking to the alderman that now that his daughter is back, he's not going to let her go or let her down. And so when Valentine's Day rolled around, he marched alongside her in a demonstration for gay marriage outside Cardinal George's house.

What Dick Mell has learned is what so many of us have figured out over time. It's that homosexuality has a name and face. Gays and lesbians are our sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers. They are our family. They are our friends. Though light dawns slowly in any civil rights movement, every year there is more light shining on issues of homosexuality.

I for one don't believe that John Kerry, the likely Democratic nominee for president, is really against gay marriage. And I don't believe that George Bush, the president, is wild about a constitutional amendment prohibiting it. Their positions derive from a pragmatic political calculus of how best to get elected. The same goes for Gov. Blagojevich. Brother-in-law to Deborah, he says he loves and admires her but opposes gay marriage. His next election is two years away.

On this point, Dick Mell knows that ordinary people are way ahead of most politicians. And he has his daughter to thank for that, something he did last Thursday when he arrived at the police lockup where she was being held.

"I was worried he might be angry," said Deborah.

Far from it.

"He had a huge smile on his face and hugged me. I started to cry. I think he started to cry. And he told me what a good daughter I am."

Carol Marin is a Chicago journalist best known for resigning as primary anchor at WMAQ-TV (NBC) in 1997 over the hiring of Jerry Springer as commentator. She has since worked for CBS News (where she came thisclose to being crushed as the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11) and is currently back at WMAQ and NBC (under new management) as an investigative reporter. Her weekly column is published every Wednesday in the Chicago Tribune.



A New Course

With less than eight months until Election Day, President Bush's re-elect numbers seem to indicate American voters have about had it with the current Republican regime. New polls from Gallup and Washington Post/ABC News show Mr. Bush losing to Democrat John Kerry by various margins. But the most telling number is this one:
A majority of Americans — 57 percent — say they want their next president to steer the country away from the course set by Bush, according to the survey.
A rather large majority wanting to see a course change, wouldn't you say?

To add to insult to injury, the Electoral College map doesn't look all to promising to the Prez. In the twelve closest states from 2000 -- Ohio, Nevada, Missouri, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Florida, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Iowa, Oregon, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania -- Kerry is ahead of President Bush 55% to 39%. Gallup calls these the "purple states."

So Gallup joins Zogby in asserting that as far as the Electoral College is concerned, it's "advantage: Kerry!"


Havin' Relations


W stands for Whiplash

In a speech last week President Bush offered a glimpse at how he plans to campaign against John Kerry - by accusing the Democrat of flip-flopping on key issues. In turn, I offer some rather telling headlines about the current Republican commander-in-chief...

News Headline: "Bush reverses wages stance."
News Headline: "Bush flip-flop on clean air."
News Headline: "Bush reverses stand on 9/11 panel."
News Headline: "Bush White House does turnaround on global warming."
News Headline: "Bush reverses attitude on nation-building."
News Headline: "Bush reverses Middle East policy."

"Steady Leadership in a Time of Change?" Indeed.



A Brief Hystery of Crime

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