Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Local News
Lambda's 'Freedom to Marry'

This article shared 1670 times since Wed Feb 9, 2000
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Feb. 12 marks the third Annual National Freedom to Marry Day—chosen because it falls between Abraham Lincoln's birthday and Valentine's Day. Lincoln personifies the nation's commitment to equality, according to Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is coordinating events throughout Chicago and the rest of the country.

On the heels if the Vermont Supreme Court's landmark ruling ordering the state legislature to extend to gay and lesbian couples the same rights, protections, and benefits available to non-gay couples through marriage, this Freedom to Marry Day deserves special recognition, Lambda stated in a press released.

Lambda's Midwest Regional Office, and many other groups, are encouraging gays to involve their families and friends in this educational opportunity.

On the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 12, Lambda volunteers will be distributing Freedom to Marry information in popular shopping areas around Chicago. In the evening, volunteers will be scouring a diverse group of the city's GLBT bars, distributing bottles of Vermont maple syrup and information about how people can help support the freedom to marry.

Other organizations are also planning events.

"Through our collective efforts," Lambda said, "we will use awareness and support for the freedom to marry. It is within our reach. In fact, recent polls indicate that greater than a majority of the American public believes same-sex couples will some day have the right to marry. Working together, we will bring that day closer."

There are more than 30 events set around the U.S., including symbolic weddings in Memphis, Philadelphia, and Tucson, and rallies in Boston and Fort Collins.

For details, call ( 312 ) 663— 4413, .

Following are tesimonials compiled by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Outlines newspaper, for Freedom to Marry Day.

Michael Bauer & Roger Simon

Roger and I will be celebrating our 18th anniversary March 13. During those years, we, like any couple, have had our ups and downs— our times of great joy and great sorrow and sadness. But all this has helped us create a relationship based on mutual love, caring, commitment and devotion.

I think that we both are amazed at the political developments that have occurred for gay men and lesbians from when we met in 1982 till now. Ten years ago, I never thought that even the issue of same-sex marriage would be conceivable during our lifetimes. During the past five years we have attended numerous commitment services and have been touched by each one. But a commitment service would not be adequate for us at this point. As I have said to numerous politicians who I know when we have discussed the issue of same-sex marriage, we have as much of a mutual loving, committed and devoted relationship as they do and I want the legal right to seek governmental acceptance and recognition of that relationship.

I actually am in awe that, as I look at the political developments in Hawaii, Vermont and California, I realize that Roger and I will realize that goal in our lifetime. For whether or not we as a community win individual battles over this issue, I am 100 percent confident that we will ultimately triumph on this war to secure the right to marry. And when we do, Roger and I plan to have one hell of a party.

Testimonial from Raven & Gina Rodriguez

Have you ever watched a movie where it's obvious the two main characters are meant to fall in love because certain circumstances and situations keep throwing them into each other? Either through the help of fate, destiny or a guardian angel, the two simply cannot escape themselves and by the end of the movie, they stop fighting it and lock in a passionate kiss as the screen fades to black and the credits roll. Such is the story of how Gina and I met.

It literally took more than six years through a web of connections, consequences and coincidences before we actually met face to face. First my best friend knew of her, then a straight male friend of mine became a cop and started working with her. Momentum built with a barrage of similar circumstances until finally, there was no where left to go but towards each other. And on Aug. 10, 1997, we ended up at the same place at the same time and fell in love the very instant we met.

At first I thought it was crazy. We were standing there, smiling all goofy at each other, our hearts literally pounding so hard it felt as though they were physically reaching for each other. I couldn't breathe, she couldn't speak and yet it was perfect. Everything got all hazy around the edges as we finally began to address each other. I had never in my entire life experienced such a thing and as it turns out ( luckily ) , neither had she. We had fallen in love at first sight. The realization of an urban myth. We never looked back.

We moved in right away, never bearing to spend a moment apart. On Sweetest Day of that same year, as we prepared to go out to dinner, Gina nervously sat me down on our couch and before she could remove the small black box from her pocket, I was jumping all over her screaming "Yes!" over and over again. On Valentine's Day of the following year, as we sat in a restaurant surrounded by over a dozen of our friends, I brought out my own small black box to accompany her emphatic "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

At the end of May of that same year we had our commitment ceremony. Conducted by a spiritualist and surrounded by loved ones, Gina and I vowed undying and unconditional love, devotion and respect. We had agreed to not write out our vows but rather express what came from our hearts in that moment of pure joy. I must admit that the last thing we were thinking of was the fact that it wasn't legal. In our hearts and minds, this was the most pure and concrete bond any two people could make. This was a marriage that counted more than most legal ones did. Unfortunately, it isn't enough in the real world.

Soon after the marriage, I had my last name legally changed to hers. My surname came with too many reminders of an inconsiderate and cruel family life. Taking her last name gave me a sense of home, of belonging with the one person who loved me without reservation. However, because our marriage is not legal, we had to pay hundreds of dollars to achieve that "sense." A free commodity in a legal marriage.

Gina and I got lucky in the healthcare department, however. She works for the City of Chicago and under the domestic-partnership plan, I am covered. But it's not without its flaws. Soon after the wedding came discussions of having a child. Again we had to shell out hundreds of dollars to pay for a medical procedure that is not covered by insurance companies because technically, I "can" have children if I did it the "old fashioned" way.

To point out how fate, destiny, or a guardian angel, directs our lives, I ( thankfully ) got pregnant on the first try, eliminating the worry of having to spend even more money for the same privileges that most heterosexuals get for free. Our next hurdle would be whether or not the baby would be covered under Gina's insurance. Not a problem if our marriage was legal. We lucked out on that one. After a dozen phone calls and a slight case of the run-around, we were finally informed that the City DOES see domestic partners as spouses, therefore the child would be covered after the first 30 days of birth. Of course, we prayed that the baby would not have any complications because unlike the child of a heterosexual couple who would be covered from birth, we had a 30-day waiting period.

And now we are experiencing yet another symptom of having a non-legal marriage. Gina's adoption of our baby girl. This time we are spending thousands of dollars so that Gina can be recognized as our daughter's legal parent. Never mind that she paid for the sperm, paid for the insemination, pays for her health coverage as well as clothes, food and shelter. And because we are a gay couple, we have to pay a little extra, be investigated a little extra and thus be annoyed a little extra.

Gina and I are fortunate that we are in a position to pay for these things that would normally come free to a legally married heterosexual couple. It is unfair, however. On top of everything else we pay our taxes and are still denied our basic fundamental right to a legalized marriage. And all because it is "morally" wrong. I thought we already settled the separation of church and state thing long ago?

Even though we don't like it, Gina and I will continue to do what it takes to not let a simple technicality stop us from having the life we deserve. If that means working a little extra ( and no, we shouldn't have to ) , it's worth it to us. It's been a Catch— 22 really. In order to get the life we have, we have had to pay the same government that denies us our basic rights thousands of dollars. But if we put our lives on hold to wait on a possibility that someday we may win those rights, it's letting society thwart our achieving the same life's privileges they get for free.

Gina and I are more than satisfied spiritually and emotionally with the marriage we already have. It's purity can never be touched. Now if only it can count as much in society as it does to us, then perhaps we can focus our attention ( and money ) towards life's other little details without the worry of denied legal rights.

Gene & Sue Stephens-Connolly

So often, love is loosely defined as a mere feeling between a man and woman that leads to marriage, a comfortable home, and 2.5 children. We say love is a journey where spirits meet to find a heart equally willing to ride sometime bumpy roads, the long nights, illnesses and surgeries, and an occasional tender touch after a difficult day.

Sue and I did not meet each other—our spirits did. After all, isn't that what love is? A mutual spiritual connection; an unconditional caring; a commitment to provide all of oneself and one's resources, whether financial or emotional, for the security and well being of another soul? The right to marry is one of the oldest fundamental rights mentioned in the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet, my partner and I are denied that fundamental legitimacy and protection each time we walk down a street and are unable to hold hands, or each time we complete a loan application and are questioned about our marital status and connection.

On the coldest day of winter in late December of 1995, my partner presented me with a poem; a marriage proposal if you will, with a promise of unconditional and committed love. As I answered "Yes" while shivering from the bitter cold, I looked at my partner and saw my future. No, it didn't include a "husband" but it did include a constant life partner and best friend. Standing there I thought to myself, "Yes, we could have a comfortable home and maybe even birth or adopt our 2.5 children, but what we will share most is a lifetime of love."

Soon after my partner proposed to me, we prepared for our 'wedding' day. On Valentine's Day of the following year, in the art gallery we were to use for our ceremony reception, I knelt on one knee and reciprocated her marriage proposal and engagement ring. As we prepared for our special day, we both realized that as wonderful as it was to have found each other, we would not and could not be truly married.

June 29, 1996 was the date of our commitment ceremony. Making up our own special vows, we both wrote poems to each other. Like Maya Angelou's poem, Where We Belong, our poems echoed the years of endless searching for love and acceptance; of past hurt from loves lost; and the life lessons taught by taking the road too often travelled. We stood before our family, friends, pastor, and God, praying and hoping for the slightest grace and mercy from an omnipotent being whom we believe knows only love. As we left the alter basking in the joy and knowledge that we'd found each other, our hearts remained heavy at the instant realization of the battles that lay ahead.

Evette Cardona & Mona Noriega

We have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for four years. One of us has experienced heterosexual marriage and one of us never even imagined she'd ever want to get married—to a man. So although getting married is not really on our radar screen, we feel we should not be penalized in terms of receiving the financial and legal benefits granted to married persons ( social security, pension, health insurance, hospital decision-making, etc. ) just because we are two women. If marriage is the only way to secure the same benefits, then we believe the option should be given to lesbians and gay men. It's kind of funny that society seems to be so protective of an institution with a 50%+ rate of failure.

Another strong argument for the right to marry is that lesbians of color are more likely to have children, lower incomes, and thus less options from the get-go. The option to marry and secure legal and health-related benefits that cannot be easily thwarted by hateful relatives in a court or in a hateful society also makes the freedom to marry a needed right.

The Vermont ruling was quite a surprise. Even though it will be a long time before lesbians and gay men can marry—given the field day the courts and right wing will have in response to the verdict—you can't imagine the profoundly symbolic power that verdict rendered for the affirmation of millions of lesbians and gays, many of whom are in the closet, in marriages, in the military, in classrooms, in your office, in your homes, and in front of your face.

We'll spend Freedom to Marry Day doing what we do as a lesbian couple—sleep a little longer, chores, relax, see friends—but we'll likely reflect on our relationship, too, and thank the godesses that at least we're okay with being lesbians.

This article shared 1670 times since Wed Feb 9, 2000
facebook twitter 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.


Gay News

[UPDATE] Lisle school offers job to lacrosse coach in same-sex marriage 2021-09-21
- The administration at Lisle’s Benet Academy, a west suburban Catholic school, has reversed course and offered a job to a woman in a same-sex marriage after initially rescinding the offer, The Chicago Tribune reported. ...

Gay News

Pope again refuses to bless same-sex marriages 2021-09-18
- Pope Francis told reporters recently on a return flight from Hungary that the Catholic Church is unable to bless same-sex marriages because marriage is a divine sacrament between a man and a woman, per The Advocate. ...

Gay News

Polis marriage marks first same-sex wedding of sitting governor 2021-09-17
- On Sept. 15, Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis wed longtime partner Marlon Reis—marking the first same-sex marriage of a sitting U.S. governor, NPR reported. Polis keeps making history. In 2018, Polis became the first openly gay ...

Gay News

LGBTQ advocates celebrate two Illinois marriage certificate modernization bills 2021-07-27
--From a press release - Trans and non-binary people who were married in Illinois will now be able to obtain marriage certificates that reflect their authentic selves thanks to legislation signed today by Governor JB Pritzker, according to Equality Illinois and ...

Gay News

WORLD Marriage in Chile, Polish website, Toronto news, 'Reclaim Pride' march 2021-07-25
- On July 21, Chile's Senate approved an equal-marriage bill, reported. The regulations were presented during the second government of the socialist Michelle Bachelet (2014-2018) and last June 1, during ...

Gay News

LGBTQ advocates celebrate passage of Illinois marriage certificate name change legislation 2021-05-28
--From a press release - LGBTQ advocates are celebrating passage of state legislation that will provide certainty for individuals requesting that their Illinois marriage certificates reflect a legal name change. HB 2590 is an initiative of Equality Illinois and Chicago House ...

Gay News

LGBT-inclusive marriage-certificate act passes state General Assembly 2021-05-21
--From a press release - May 21. 2021 - In an effort to modernize marriage certificates in Illinois, state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz and state Rep. Ann Williams helped pass The Marriage Certificate Modernization Act through the Illinois General Assembly. The legislation ...

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 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 ...


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.








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.