Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 20, No. 45, Ed. 1 Friday, March 12, 2004 Page: 32 of 72
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San rancisco City Hall:
Stonewall of the 21st Century
Marriages of same-sex couples an event of enormous symbolic importance
Barney Frank is so wrong.
He told The Associated Press
that granting marriage licenses
to gay couples in San Fran-
cisco could damage efforts to
defend the legalization of
same-sex marriage in Massa-
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, a
Massachusetts Democrat, is
one of our most articulate
spokespersons. On TV, Fve
seen him tie our opponents into
such knots they walk away
from the studio like drunken pretzels. But when
Frank called the San Francisco phenomenon a
"diversion" from our "real struggle," the man
went from being pitch-perfect to being tone-deaf.
A diversion? The spectacle in San Francisco
was the best thing to come out of gay marriage
since Liza filed for divorce. Some call it civil dis-
obedience. Others call it breaking the law. Some
call it upholding the state's constitution against
discrimination. Others call it breaking the state's
law against same-sex marriage.
Call it what you want. But recognize its enor-
mous symbolic importance: It's the Stonewall of
the 21st century. But instead of the streets erupt-
ing in violent protest, this time they're erupting in
spontaneous celebration. Instead of fighting
back, we're loving back. Instead of exchanging
blows, we're exchanging vows.
All over the country people are witnessing the
spectacle of thousands of loving gay and lesbian
couples waiting in line — thankful, grateful, rev-
erential toward an institution they're supposed to
be sullying. Straight people all over the country
are dying to get out of marriage, and here thou-
sands of gays are killing themselves to get in.
Has anyone seen this many people this happy
to get married? How many straight couples
would camp overnight in bone-chilling weather
for the chance of a marriage license? As straight
people witness this incredible devotion toward
their "sacred" institution, a question has to occur
to them: How could anybody that loving and
committed be a detriment to marriage?
Every aspect of the San Francisco marriage
license story is a win. Even when California Gov.
Slouching through Gomhorra
instructed the state's Attorney
General to ask a court to stop
granting the marriage licenses,
he got put in his place by the
mayor's spokesman: *'We
urge the governor to meet
with some of the couples,
because what's happening is
both lawful and loving." Not
only was middle America
introduced to some of the tax-
paying, law-abiding neighbors
they've been so scared of, it
also produced a rash of rather
surprising public statements from other parts of
The best was clearly from Chicago's mayor,
Richard Daley. In a press conference, the mayor
scoffed at the suggestion that same-sex couples
would undermine the institution of marriage.
"Marriage has been undermined by divorce," he
said rather testily. "You're not going to lecture
me about marriage. People should look at their
own life. Don't blame the gay and lesbian, trans-
gender and transsexual community."
That's a diversion, Barney? And on top of that,
other areas of the country are thinking about issu-
ing marriage licenses (Chicago) or have already
doing it (New Mexico, although the courts there
issued a restraining order and the issuance of
marriage licenses has stopped).
San Francisco's marriage "Hearthquake" is a
lesson in the evolution of civil disobedience.
We've gone from "sit-ins" to "I-Do-ins."
Random acts of kindness are pouring in.
Stonewall delivered punches, Hearthquake deliv-
ered flowers. People all over the country are
sending flowers to the couples standing in line.
Imagine, strangers sending bouquets to
strangers. The grassroots movement is being
dubbed "Flowers from the heartland." Patti Ellis,
a mother with a gay son, sent a bouquet to —
well, she couldn't say, really. It didn't matter.
"Just pick somebody in line," she told Church
Street Flowers, who promised they'd pick a cou-
ple and hug them for good measure. Patti, the
creator of a Web site for parents of gay children,
lives in Fayetteville, Ga. She knows people all
over the country — Michigan, Kentucky,
Minneapolis — who have sent flowers to anony-
Why did Patti do it?
"Because I feel so helpless," she told me. "It's
a way for me to give congratulations to an event
my own son might be prevented from ever taking
That's a diversion, Barney?
You're wrong. The "I Do-in" isn't a distrac-
tion. It's the main event.
Michael Alvear is a syndicated columnist and
author of "Men Are Pigs But We Love Bacon. "
out of bounds
Community needs straight friends,
but not for their sexual quotient
By Jennifer Vanasco Contributing Writer
I have this friend I'll call Emily.
Emily is one of my best friends. She plays on
my football team, goes to lesbian clubs with me
and my friends, attends my weekly showing of
"The L Word" and is generally happily
ensconced within my queer circle.
Emily is also straight. She's very straight. I
believe most women are bisexual, but Emily is
on the very straight end of the lesbian continu-
um, as far away from being a lesbian as butch
tomboys are from being straight.
This was never a problem when she was mar-
ried. My friends happily greeted her husband,
asked her genial questions about her house and
generally ribbed her by calling her the "token
But now that Emily is all but divorced, events
have taken a strange turn. At parties, women
sidle up to her and ask her how she can be sure
she's not a lesbian. They say that if she's never
been with a woman then she can't be sure she's
straight. They offer to be test cases.
If this happened only one time, maybe it
would be no big deal.
But it continually happens, and as she is
approached by more and more of our mutual
friends, I've become more and more uncomfort-
So far, Emily herself hasn't seemed offended.
She's only mentioned it to me once. She brush-
"It was just a very private, wonderful cer-
emony. It was just a marriage."
Kate Mellinna, Asbury Park City Councilwoman,
on the first gay marriage ever conducted
in New Jersey
"The governor believes that the domestic
partnership law is the best way to protect
people's basic human rights."
Micah Rasmussen, spokesperson for New Jersey
Gov. James E. McGreevey, on Monday's
same-sex wedding in Asbury Park, N.J.
"It was highly inappropriate for Justice
Scalia to go on a hunting trip with Vice
President Cheney when he was a
defendant in a case, but it is inaccu-
rate to say that this calls into question
Justice Scalia's impartiality. You cannot
question that which does not exist."
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.
32 I dallasvoice.com I 03.12.04
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 20, No. 45, Ed. 1 Friday, March 12, 2004, newspaper, March 12, 2004; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238885/m1/32/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.