Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

ACLU represents Illinois couples in marriage fight
Part II of couple profiles
2012-08-01

This article shared 3409 times since Wed Aug 1, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois is representing nine couples who are seeking the freedom to marry in their home state. (The organization joins Lambda Legal, whose 16-couple roster of clients was shown in last week's issue).

Names are listed left to right, corresponding to each individual's position in the photos. All photos courtesy of ACLU.

Carlos Briones and Richard Rykhus

Evanston couple Carlos and Richard reside in Evanston with their 7-year-old son, Ty'rith (Ty). A couple for eleven years, Richard and Carlos held a commitment ceremony in front of 120 family and friends in July 2005. "We wanted to tell the world that we are committed to one another," said Carlos. "It was important to make a statement that our love was permanent, lasting."

During a visit to Richard's parents a few months later, Carlos and Richard were married in Canada. Now, they make a point of calling one another "husband." "I think it is crucial for me to identify Carlos as my husband," says Richard. "The word 'partner' never has worked for me—it sounds so transactional. We are not in a business relationship. We are in a life-long committed relationship."

Carlos and Richard share a love of education. Recently, Richard saw that he could make a difference in the local elementary schools by running for the local school board; he was elected. Carlos teaches philosophy at a local college.

Ross "Randy" Walden and Robert "Bob" Carey

This couple resides in Springfield, where Randy works for the Army National Guard and Bob works for a major power company.

Bob and Randy had their first date at a local Mexican restaurant—a place they still frequent to this day. They soon will celebrate seven years together as a loving, committed couple. They share many interests together. They care for rescue dogs and cats and share a deep love of the outdoors, spending many weekends camping near Springfield and across the Midwest. Randy and Bob also are active in their local synagogue.

For Randy, meeting Bob was part of a process of recovery after he lost his long-time partner Curt to cancer. That experience made all too clear the harm that can arise from not having one's loving relationship recognized.

Lynn Sprout and Kathie Spegal

Champaign couple Lynn Sprout and Kathie Spegal are all about family. When their family gathered this past Easter, there were 22 children, grandchildren (aged from 22 to 6), spouses and guests.

Lynn is a registered nurse and works at a federally qualified health center. She met Kathie in October in 2001 at church, where Lynn was attending a support group after losing her long-time partner, Linda, after an extended illness. Linda's death was very difficult for Lynn. She lost her job at a local hospital after they denied family leave to care for Linda, and faced challenges to her ability to make decisions about Linda's body and have their family recognized in an obituary after Linda passed away.

"We are in love," says Kathie, a case manager. "We want to be married. That is what people in our family who are in love do."

Tanya Lazaro and Elizabeth "Liz" Matos

Tanya Lazaro and Elizabeth "Liz" Matos live on Chicago's far Northwest side with their two children, Jaiden (2), and a newborn daughter, Sophia. Since meeting more than 15 years ago, Tanya and Liz have built a life together, based on what they describe as their "shared values and a common commitment to one another and their family."

Tanya initially worked with Chicago Public Schools; however, she decided she wanted something that was "easier," so she joined the Chicago Police Department, where today she is a Detective in the Violent Crimes Unit. Liz, whose family is from Puerto Rico, works as a senior software analyst at a software company that supports trading firms in downtown Chicago.

Tim Kee and Rick Wade

Tim, a teacher, and Rick, an office manager, live in Marion; having been together for 15 years now, they are well-recognized and regarded in their hometown. Though they kept their relationship secret when it began, traveling to St. Louis and environs on their first several dates, they no longer try to hide that they are a couple.

For Rick and Tim, tradition and stability are critical. They live in a house built on land that was Rick's great-great-grandparents' homestead that was passed on to Rick by his grandmother, a house that they have made into their home. Among the values that Tim and Rick also have in common is their faith. They attend (and are active in) the church in Johnson City where Tim was baptized and confirmed.

On June 2, 2011, Rick and Tim went to the Williamson County courthouse to get a civil union. Since they were only the second couple to receive a civil union, the county clerk insisted on coming out to help them, saying that she needed to learn the forms and the process for herself.

Tanya and Kirsten Lyonsford

Aurora couple Tanya and Kirsten have known they were right for one another since almost the first moment that they met, during a September 1999 mandatory diversity training program for AT&T, for whom they worked at the time.

During a game called "Diversity Bingo," Tanya and Kirsten both chose the gay/lesbian box. That public revelation led to a date, a strong friendship and then a deeper relationship. In October 2002, Kirsten and Tanya held a commitment ceremony—a Christian wedding ceremony—including family, friends and colleagues. For Tanya, it was moving that her 84-year-old grandfather not only attended (even though he didn't know she was a lesbian until he got the announcement), but that he made a point of saying that he was there to represent Tanya's late grandmother. It was painful, however, that after that ceremony and all its joy, Kirsten and Tanya heard some say that their celebration was nice "but not legal."

"We are a family," says Kirsten. "We love one another. We love our children. We have built a life together where we are responsible to one another and for one another."

Ed Hamilton and Gary Magruder

Walk into the home that Ed Hamilton and Gary Magruder have shared (in fact, built together) in Plainfield, and one easily spots their shared passion. For example, the walls of the home are filled with art work that Gary painted.

They met at the party of a mutual friend in 1964 and began what Gary describes gleefully as a "courtship." Gary grew up in Kankakee County and spent time on his grandparents' farm as a youth, so he was impressed when Ed took him to the theater and to the opera. After a few months, they found an apartment together and remained inseparable.

Both Ed and Gary are retired educators, and both still love teaching and sharing their knowledge with others. At the urging of friends, Gary and Ed travelled to Canada in January 2004—on the 40th anniversary of their meeting—to be married. Gary smiles when talking about saving the lapel flowers from the wedding. They want their marriage, which is the pinnacle of their nearly half-century relationship, to be recognized in Illinois.

Tanya and Kirsten Lyonsford

Aurora couple Tanya and Kirsten have known they were right for one another since almost the first moment that they met, during a September 1999 mandatory diversity training program for AT&T, for whom they worked at the time.

During a game called "Diversity Bingo," Tanya and Kirsten both chose the gay/lesbian box. That public revelation led to a date, a strong friendship and then a deeper relationship. In October 2002, Kirsten and Tanya held a commitment ceremony—a Christian wedding ceremony—including family, friends and colleagues. For Tanya, it was moving that her 84-year-old grandfather not only attended (even though he didn't know she was a lesbian until he got the announcement), but that he made a point of saying that he was there to represent Tanya's late grandmother. It was painful, however, that after that ceremony and all its joy, Kirsten and Tanya heard some say that their celebration was nice "but not legal."

"We are a family," says Kirsten. "We love one another. We love our children. We have built a life together where we are responsible to one another and for one another."

Danielle Cook and Suzanna Hutton

When they first met, Suzanna Hutton and Danielle Cook could not imagine that they would be spending the rest of their lives together. Teachers in Bloomington, Ill., Suzie says that she and Danielle were almost "complete opposites." After more than a decade together, now they want to be recognized as married in their home state.

In June 2011, they entered into a civil union. However, Danielle and Suzie both feel that the civil union "falls short" of being married, sometimes because it is not respected and often because it is not understood by others. Suzie has noted, for example, that when she goes to a doctor's office, a dentist office or another professional service, she is exasperated by the forms she is asked to fill out. These forms ask the patients or customers to designate whether they are married, single, widowed or divorced—the expected and easily recognizable choices.

Maybe more troubling is that many people—even well-educated and well-intentioned people—don't always know how to react to someone with a civil union. In the schools where Suzie and Danielle both now work, teachers gather to welcome new staff and celebrate births and weddings; the couple had to resort to humor, describing the relationship as "civilized." "Our relationship status should not be the source of laughter," says Danielle.

Corynne Romine and Michelle Mascaro

Like a lot of couples in our busy society, Michelle Mascaro and Corynne Romine met at work—when they were both in a chaplaincy internship at Rush Presbyterian Hospital. Since that time, in early 1991, Corynne and Michelle have created a loving, giving relationship that now incorporates their three children, ages 14, 12 and 11.

"As our children mature, we are trying to teach them important life lessons about honoring relationships and respecting the family unit," said Michelle. "It is difficult to communicate a message about the importance of marriage when we are denied the right to enter into one."

Michelle and Corynne had a private celebration and affirmation of their love at their home in 1995. After making that commitment, they began a family, adopting the first of their three children.

After Illinois approved civil unions, Corynne and Michelle were not certain about seeking that status; they wanted to be married. After six months, on Jan. 6, 2012, Michelle and Corynne, along with their children, traveled to downtown Chicago to obtain a civil union. The date was significant to them; it marked the 20th anniversary of their living together as a couple. However, they don't feel their civil union is sufficient.

Corynne Romine and Michelle Mascaro

Like a lot of couples in our busy society, Michelle Mascaro and Corynne Romine met at work—when they were both in a chaplaincy internship at Rush Presbyterian Hospital. Since that time, in early 1991, Corynne and Michelle have created a loving, giving relationship that now incorporates their three children, ages 14, 12 and 11.

"As our children mature, we are trying to teach them important life lessons about honoring relationships and respecting the family unit," said Michelle. "It is difficult to communicate a message about the importance of marriage when we are denied the right to enter into one."

Michelle and Corynne had a private celebration and affirmation of their love at their home in 1995. After making that commitment, they began a family, adopting the first of their three children.

After Illinois approved civil unions, Corynne and Michelle were not certain about seeking that status; they wanted to be married. After six months, on Jan. 6, 2012, Michelle and Corynne, along with their children, traveled to downtown Chicago to obtain a civil union. The date was significant to them; it marked the 20th anniversary of their living together as a couple. However, they don't feel their civil union is sufficient.


This article shared 3409 times since Wed Aug 1, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Starting May 3, ceremonies in Cook County's downtown Marriage Court can be performed by Zoom 2021-04-30
- CHICAGO (April 30) — Marriage and civil union ceremonies at Cook County's downtown Marriage and Civil Union Court (Marriage Court) may be performed via Zoom videoconference, as well as in person, starting next week, according to ...


Gay News

Illinois Senate passes proposal removing gendered language from marriage certificates 2021-04-21
--From a press release - On April 21, on its third reading, the Illinois Senate passed (by a bipartisan vote of 44-13) a proposal that amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to allow the removal of gendered language ...


Gay News

Russian leader Putin officially bans same-sex marriage 2021-04-08
- On April 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a series of constitutional amendments that, among other things, formally defines marriage as between a man and a woman in the country, The Washington Blade reported. ...


Gay News

Global momentum for marriage equality surges,"Freedom to Marry Global" website created 2021-03-31
--From a freedomtomarry.org press release - April 1st marks twenty years since the Netherlands ended the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, becoming the first of so far 30 countries worldwide to affirm the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Now, two ...


Gay News

WORLD Landmark ruling, Montreal's Gay Village, acid attack, anti-LGBTQ laws 2021-03-21
- In a landmark ruling, a Japanese court ruled that the government's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, NPR noted. Article 24 of Japan's constitution defines marriage as based on the "mutual consent of both sexes," which ...


Gay News

LETTER The Vatican's words and actions do not echo love 2021-03-18
- The LGBTQA community is responding with shock, anger and frustration at the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith statement concerning same-sex unions. Many in our community can't understand why Pope Francis would allow such a ...


Gay News

Pope Francis documentary 'Francesco' to debut March 26 2021-03-16
- Pope Francis—in the news lately because of the Catholic Church's stance that it cannot bless same-sex unions, adding that it is "not licit" to bless relationships that involve sexual activity outside of marriage—is the subject of ...


Gay News

DignityUSA: Vatican denying same-sex blessings "Exacerbates pain and anger" 2021-03-16
--From a press release - March 15, 2021. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the church and society, is deeply disappointed by the Vatican's statement unequivocally denying blessings to same-sex coupl ...


Gay News

Vatican won't bless same-sex unions 2021-03-15
- The Catholic Church said it cannot bless same-sex unions, adding that it is "not licit" to bless relationships that involve sexual activity outside of marriage, according to an NBC News item. The Congregation for the Doctrine ...


Gay News

Commission: Jamaica should repeal same-sex ban 2021-02-18
- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the top rights body of the Americas, said in a symbolic landmark ruling on Feb. 17 that Jamaica should repeal its colonial-era gay sex ban, Reuters reported. Two Jamaicans ...


Gay News

Leading groups submit amicus briefs against discrimination against LGBT surviving spouses 2021-02-08
--From a press release - WASHINGTON D.C.—AARP, AARP Foundation, SAGE and the American Society on Aging (ASA) filed amicus briefs today in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit arguing that the ...


Gay News

WORLD Honduran Congress, deportation, Canadian support, athlete comes out 2021-01-24
- On Jan. 21, members of the Honduran Congress voted to amend the constitution, making it much harder to reverse existing hard-line bans on abortion and same-sex marriage, as lawmakers double down on socially conservative priorities, Openly ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Marriage proposal, Creating Change, mural erased, 'Queer Santa' 2021-01-05
- A COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a Canton, South Dakota, hospital turned into a marriage proposal for one healthcare couple, CNN.com noted. Robbie Vargas-Cortes, 31, a paramedic and EMS supervisor, was scheduled to get his vaccination on ...


Gay News

WORLD Lithuania outlook, HIV/AIDS and COVID, lawyer arrested, trans youth 2020-12-27
- Lithuania appears set to legalize same-sex civil partnerships next year, but same-sex marriage could be up to a decade away, according to Tomas Raskevicius—the country's only openly LGBT+ lawmaker, Reuters reported. "We're going to submit t ...


Gay News

Switzerland's parliament okays marriage equality, residents to have final say 2020-12-18
- On Dec. 18, the Swiss parliament approved a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry, finally bringing the nation in line with much of Europe on LGBTQ rights, TheLocal.ch reported. However, the Swiss residents themselves will have ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.