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Commemorating the Supreme Court’s Historic Marriage Equality Ruling

RYAN PALSROK

© GAY CITY NEWS 2015 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

FREE | VOLUME FOURTEEN, ISSUE FOURTEEN | JULY 09 - 22, 2015


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Marriage Equality Commemorative

July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


DONNA ACETO

Former State Senator Tom Duane, who was the lead Senate sponsor of the 2011 Marriage Equality Act in New York, with Brad Hoylman, who succeeded him in his Senate seat.

Two of the plaintiffs in the marriage case, Robert Talmas and Joseph Vitale, with their son Cooper, whom they adopted in Ohio, with Lambda Legal’s Susan Sommer and James Esseks, who heads up the ACU’s LGBT and AIDS Project.

The crowd gathered for the rally about a block east of the Stonewall.

Crowds Head to the Stonewall in Wake of High Court Ruling In good times and bad, Sheridan Square bar a beacon for the community to gather ‘round BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

H

undreds turned out for a rally at the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, which marked the start of the modern LGBT rights movement, to celebrate the US Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. “If you’re not married and you hope to be so one day, you can go on a destination wedding to Alabama or anywhere you want,” said Susan Sommer, senior counsel and national director of constitutional litigation at Lambda Legal, at the June 26 event. The court ruled on June 26 on suits brought by “14 same-sex couples and two men whose samesex partners are deceased” from four states that had same-sex mar-

GayCityNews.nyc | July 09 - 22, 2015

riage bans. Lambda represented four of the couples. In a 5-4 decision, the court held that “same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry” and that “there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.” The opinion was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and he was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. The composition of the court’s pro-marriage majority occasioned one of the rally’s funnier moments when Sharon Kleinbaum, the senior rabbi at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, told the crowd, “I’m going to say something totally off the record — thank God for the Jews and

women on the Supreme Court.” The rally, which was produced by the New York chapter of Marriage Equality USA and sponsored by nearly 30 other groups, lasted for more 90 minutes. Slated to start at 6 p.m., people began to gather on Christopher Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, the rally site, as early as 3 p.m. and police had already closed the street by then. Speakers included nearly the entire LGBT caucus of the City Council, former and current members of the State Legislature, religious leaders, pro-marriage and political groups, and Congressmembers Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney. While many of the comments emphasized the joy of the moment, speakers frequently reminded the crowd that the movement’s work was unfinished.

“And today, finally, must be a day of re-dedication, re-dedication to eradicating discrimination,” Nadler said. The marriage decision means that gay and lesbian couples can now wed in any state in the nation and those marriages must be recognized across the nation, but it does not mean that those couples are protected from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, or in other areas. No federal law bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and the 22 states that do have such laws offer a patchwork of protections. Two members of Queer Nation, the activist group, were circulating through the crowd handing out flyers that made this point.

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RALLY, continued on p.26

Marriage Equality Commemorative

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Justice Kennedy Focuses on Fundamental Right to Marry, Protected Liberty In four rearguard dissents, the court’s minority sounds bitter tone

BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

T

he Supreme Court on June 26 ruled that “same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry” and that “there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.” Writing for the court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Jr., grounded these marital rights in the 14th Amendment’s guarantee that no state may deprive any person of “liberty” without due process of law or deny to any person the “equal protection of the laws.” He saw the claimed rights in this case as logical extensions of the rights recognized by the court through his opinions in United States v. Windsor (2013), which struck down the major portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, and Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which invalidated the nation’s remaining sodomy laws. By fitting coincidence, the opinion was issued on the second anniversary of Windsor and the 12th anniversary of Lawrence. Kennedy was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, but his opinion was joined by the four justices appointed by Democratic presidents — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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DONNA ACETO

US SUPREME COURT

Justice Anthony Kennedy.

James Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the successful marriage equality suit, sued the State of Ohio to have his late husband John Arthur’s death certificate reflect the fact that he was married.

and Stephen Breyer (appointed by Bill Clinton) and Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan (appointed by Barack Obama). Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clar ence Thomas, and Samuel Alito all wrote dissenting opinions for themselves, and each of them also signed one or more of the other dissenting opinions. The court had granted petitions filed by the plaintiffs in cases from Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In each of those states, federal district courts had, during 2014, ruled either that state laws refusing to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states violated equal protection rights or that the refusals of the states to allow same-sex couples to marry violated due process and/ or equal protection rights. Those rulings were consolidated for appeal before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which in November reversed the trial courts in an opinion by Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton. Sutton held that the US Supreme Court’s ruling in 1972 that a challenge to the Minnesota ban on same-sex marriage did not present a “substantial federal question” remained binding as precedent on lower federal courts. Sutton also went on to reject the plaintiffs’ constitutional arguments, opining that the question

Marriage Equality Commemorative

whether same-sex couples could marry or have their marriages recognized was one to be resolved through the democratic process, not through litigation. In granting the plaintiffs’ petition to review that ruling, the Court ordered argument on two questions: whether same-sex couples have a right to marry, and whether states are obligated to recognize same-sex marriages. A majority of the Court has now answered both of those questions in the affirmative. This outcome was widely predicted because of the court’s behavior since October 2014, when it declined to review pro-marriage equality decisions by the Fourth, Seventh, and 10th Circuits, lifting stays and allowing marriage equality rulings to go into effect in Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Utah, and eventually in all the other states in those circuits. When the Ninth Circuit ruled for marriage equality, the Supreme Court rebuffed every request by state officials in that circuit to delay marriage equality rulings going into effect. The court subsequently refused to stay marriage equality rulings from Florida and Alabama, even though the 11th Circuit had not yet ruled on those two states’ appeals. The denial of the Alabama stay, weeks after the Court had granted

review of the Sixth Circuit’s decision, decisively confirmed that there was a majority for marriage equality on the Supreme Court, to the consternation of Justice Thomas, who made his views known in his dissent from the denial of Alabama’s request for a stay. The outcome of this case, then, was highly anticipated, so the main questions arousing speculation involved what constitutional theories the court would use to strike down the bans and whether an additional member of the court — most likely Chief Justice Roberts — would join the majority. Roberts, however, stayed put with his fellow conservative brethren.

Justice Kennedy’s Opinion for the Court Kennedy’s opinion took a route that could have been predicted based on his opinions in Windsor and Lawrence. His preferred approach in gay rights cases — leaving aside his first such opinion, in Romer v. Evans, the 1996 case that overturned an anti-gay ballot initiative in Colorado, which is really in a class by itself — is to rely heavily on his broad conception of liberty protected by the due process clause. Kennedy began with a quick review of the circumstances facing some of the plaintiffs, showing the deprivations they faced by not being allowed to marry or have their marriages recognized. He next presented an historical overview of the changing nature of marriage, writing, “Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations, often through perspectives that begin in pleas or protests and then are considered in the political sphere and the judicial process. This dynamic can be seen in the Nation’s experiences with the rights of gays and lesbians.” After reviewing the growing recognition of gay rights by the courts and referring to a friend of

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RULING, continued on p.20

July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


Snapshots of Pride & Marriage Amidst a big parade, the community sounds off on what the big decision means BY ALICIA GREEN

A

s many as two million people lined Fifth Avenue and clogged West Village sidewalks for June 28’s LGBT Pride March — always an occasion for solidary and celebration, but especially this year coming just two days after the landmark Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. Gay City News spoke with parade-goers about what the decision means to them.

so fluid now. So I think the idea of what’s modern and being called gay is a lot more fluid and larger than how we knew it when we were much younger. It’s very exciting to see such a dynamic shift and to be a part of that just by living in this world as it is now.

Beth and Catherine Married for three months, together for 13 years

AG And how old is your son? Adam: Milo is exactly two and a half years today.

Brian and Adam

Josie

Married for three years, together for 19

Identifies as a transsexual female

Beth (l.) and Catherine.

AG: How long have you two been together? Catherine: Twelve years. Beth: Thirteen. Catherine: Oh! Thirteen. There you go. Typical married answer. One gets it right, one doesn’t [laughs].

ALICIA GREEN

ALICIA GREEN

Adam (l.) and Brian, with Milo.

Josie.

Alicia Green: How do you feel about the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage? Adam: Now that we are parents, it means that our son will grow up with a greater feeling of the legitimacy of his family, and we will feel better about traveling to other states. Brian: Our parents are in Texas, and Texas not being one of the states where you could previously be married… we were so concerned just about basic rights and being able to be together in a car from point A to point B and not getting pulled over. Or what if something happened that put either of us in a hospital? So now that we have the thousand-plus rights, in any other city we want to go to we’d be protected.

AG: Where were you when the Supreme Court announced its decision? Josie: Probably sleeping in bed. I didn’t find out until I went on Facebook ‘cause I don’t have a TV.

AG: What do you think this means for the modern gay rights movement? Adam: I think the struggle is not over, but the focus can now change a little bit. It’s important for everyone to remember how much effort it took from so many different people to get to where we are. Brian: And I’m not sure it’s considered a modern gay movement anymore, because I think of queer culture and really the larger rainbow. It’s GayCityNews.nyc | July 09 - 22, 2015

AG: What was your reaction? Josie: I think it’s about time they stepped up. I mean we’re in 2015. People are getting married. People just want to be happy. We should be able to marry who we want to. As a transsexual, I should be able to marry who I want to. And the thing is people think that there are [only] heterosexual transsexuals. There’s homosexual transsexuals, too. AG: What are some other concerns that need to be addressed for the LGBT community now that marriage equality is possible? Josie: Now that marriage equality is possible, they need to get back to the transgender reality. The fact that we don’t have rights. The fact that because we look different and we sound different we’re not allowed to go to the proper bathroom, which now they’re making gender-neutral bathrooms. But they need to get back on that [and] then they need to get back on education.

AG: How long have you been married? Beth: We got married this past March. It was cool. We did become domestic partners in 2004 when it became legal to do that. Catherine: In New Jersey. So we were the first couple in our town of Jersey City to become the first domestic partners in 2004. AG: How do you feel about the Supreme Court ruling? Catherine: Before that, we would always try to explain to people that although we were domestic partners. And even once we were married, it’s great when we’re in our own state — but once we travel, we are just two friends in a car. God forbid if anything should happen, we would have to rely on whoever happened to help us, if they were an ally or not. And now that’s not the case. Now we have the same rights as every other married couple, and burdens, and we pay the same taxes, so I think that legally it’s a long time coming. We’re very happy about it. Beth: I don’t think that people realize that the young gay people couldn’t dream about their marriage ceremony. A lot of young ladies always dream about their big wedding. I think probably girls more than guys. But to actually think that they can have that dreaming when they’re young because they know that they can do it anywhere they want across this country… I think that’s great.

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SNAPSHOT, continued on p.8

Marriage Equality Commemorative

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Three New Yorkers Who Prevailed at the Supreme Court on June 26 Manhattan dads joined the historic case so they could protect the rights of their two-year-old Ohio-born son BY PAUL SCHINDLER

A

DONNA ACETO

ppearing on MSNBC shortly after the Supreme Court handed down its historic June 26 marriage equality ruling, Manhattanite Robert Talmas said, “It’s a whale of a decision and a day, and we’re overjoyed.” Then, referring to his husband, Joseph Vitale, and the son they adopted in Ohio two years ago, Talmas added, “We can be a normal family and give Cooper all the protections that he deserves.” Vitale chimed in, “Cooper will never know inequality.” Talmas and Vitale were celebrating not just a win for the LGBT community, but one in which they had a deeply personal stake. They were one of the 14 same-sex couples — along with two gay men whose husbands were deceased — who made up the victorious plaintiffs before the Supreme Court. The events that led two New

Joseph Vitale and Robert Talmas, with their son Cooper, during the June 28 LGBT Pride March.

Yorkers to be part of a case involving gay and lesbian couples in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky wishing either to marry or to have their out-of-state marriages recognized began 17 months ago. It was then that Talmas and

Vitale learned that despite having finalized their adoption of Cooper, who was born in Cincinnati, in New York State, Ohio officials would not honor the directive from the Manhattan Family Court that they issue a birth certificate nam-

ing both fathers as Cooper’s parents. That news came as a shock, particularly given the smooth sailing the two dads had so far experienced in Ohio. They had traveled to Cincinnati nine months earlier, after having agreed, with the assistance of an adoption agency, to adopt Cooper at birth. Originally, the plan was for them not to meet the birth mother — at her request — but at the last minute she asked to see them. Talmas and Vitale were apprehensive about visiting her in the Catholic hospital where she gave birth, but officials there welcomed the men, giving them a room close to Cooper’s birth mother for the required three-day waiting period. “They couldn’t do enough for us,” Talmas recalled. After Cooper was born, Ohio officials released him in his fathers’ care and the family returned to

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Evan Wolfson in his office at Freedom to Marry in Manhattan on decision day.

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

F

or Evan Wolfson, the US Supreme Court decision that required every state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize the marriage licenses issued to such couples from other states capped decades of work. “This is the culmination of more than four decades of our movement’s work, more than 32 years of my work, and a smart, strong strategy that we pulled together over the last several years to drive to victory,” the founder and president of Freedom to Marry told Gay City News on June 26, the day the court released its 5-4 decision. Between appearances on MSNBC and NPR, Wolfson took 30 minutes to discuss his decades of advocating for marriage, arguing about marriage, and working to make marriage equality a reality in the US. “I couldn’t stop crying periodically reading the opinion,” he said of the decision, which was

GayCityNews.nyc | July 09 - 22, 2015

authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy. “It was such a powerful recognition of the importance of our inclusion, the importance of our dignity, the importance of our freedom and equality.” Wolfson’s first foray into the campaign came in 1983 when he authored a thesis arguing for marriage while a law student at Harvard. He joined Lambda Legal in 1989 and was among those who advocated that the LGBT rights group join a 1991 lawsuit brought by three same-sex couples in Hawaii’s state courts that sought the right to marry. An initial win in court was reversed by a ballot initiative and the State Legislature. “When Hawaii offered the hope that we could win, despite some of the reservations, the resistance of some of the activists, the grassroots responded with tremendous energy and that energy… [was] the engine of change,” Wolfson said. Hawaii changed its law again in

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WOLFSON, continued on p.25

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SNAPSHOT, from p.5

Darren and Tom Married for seven years, together for 39

AG: What was your initial reaction to the Supreme Court ruling? Tom: Shock and overjoyed. It just all of a sudden hit you like a brick wall that it happened. We’re there. Darren: I cried. It has been a long, long battle that we fought so long to have our families respected and to have our relationships respected. So many people have been working so long, so hard. It was just the culmination of that incredible fight that so many people have done.

if this could be done, we can get through anything. AG: What are some other concerns that need to be addressed for the LGBT community? Tom: There’s still discrimination where so many gay, lesbian and transgender [people] could be fired from their jobs, can not get housing… things like that. Even though we may have marriage equality, we’re still not equal. Darren: It charged my batteries. This battle’s been fought for us. We can fight and help other people that need the same thing.

Gerardo AG: Is that your drag name as well? Gerardo: That’s my original name. But you know that’s me. I’m not like anyone so I have to use my real name. Some people think that I should use a stage name, but I’m fine with my birth name. AG: Why did you get into drag? Gerardo: Expressing myself. I think it’s something that I have to do. I like art so this is a way of

ALICIA GREEN

ALICIA GREEN

Darren (l.) and Tom.

AG: Did you face any challenges when you wanted to get married? Darren: The ironic thing for us is we both came from performing backgrounds. We had a lot of straight friends. We’ve had very little problems. And we’ve lived either in Los Angeles or New York, so we lived in two very liberal cities. Tom: So our problems were few. What affected us most was when the AIDS crisis started and then we ended up losing so many friends. That was our big turmoil that we had to face and deal with. Darren: We’ve talked this weekend about how much we think of them, especially having had conversations 10 years ago with friends that said marriage would never happen. We certainly have thought of them and how much this means. And in a very strange way with the funeral [of Reverend Clementa Pinckney] this Friday, it just shows us how much work we have left to do for the other minorities — whether its people of color, whether it’s transgender, whether it’s women, ageism, sexism. There’s still a lot of work to do. But it gave me incredible hope that it could be done. I figured

Gerardo.

doing it. Sometimes, I wear a tie. Sometimes, I wear a suit. I don’t think clothes should have gender. AG: Did you ever see yourself getting married? Gerardo: Yes, of course. AG: How do you feel about the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states? Gerardo: Now we have the option. My ex didn’t marry me ‘cause at the time I didn’t have the opportunity to do it. But now it is the opportunity. AG: And how does that make you feel? Gerardo: I think he has to do it. I have so many rings. I don’t know which one I’m going to pick [laughs].

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Robert Talmas and Robert Vitale at play with Cooper early this year.

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DADS, from p.6

New York to formalize the adoption. Only when that process was complete did Talmas and Vitale learn that anti-gay politics in Ohio would stymie their effort to get the birth certificate Cooper needed to show his two fathers. In January 2011, the state’s newly elected Republican governor and attorney general, John Kasich and Mike DeWine, respectively, ordered the State Department of Health to overturn existing policy that would have allowed Vitale and Talmas to obtain the birth certificate they sought. Kasich and DeWine took the position that Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of such marriages from out of state prevented the issuance of a birth certificate naming them as Cooper’s legal parents. The dads found themselves in an absurd political jam. “The real hook was when they said they were not recognizing our marriage,” Talmas said. “But this wasn’t a gay marriage case. This was about recognizing a New York adoption order.” Politics and legalities, however, were not what hit the couple hardest. “We wanted a document that reflects who our child’s parents are,” Vitale said. “I appreciate the arguments about our civil rights, but it’s really about Cooper’s civil rights,” said Talmas, who himself was adopted. “The State of Ohio was not taking

care of — to me — one of their children, a child who was born there.” The adoption agency they worked with immediately recognized that Ohio’s post-2011 policy on birth certificates for adoptive parents posed significant risks for prospective same-sex couple clients, and steered Vitale and Talmas to ongoing litigation challenging Ohio’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Their situation added additional fire to the plaintiffs’ case, since they posed the additional question of whether Ohio could, despite the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause, also refuse to honor an adoption decree from New York. Joining the legal challenge, Talmas and Vitale soon became avid courtroom spectators, sitting through arguments before District Court Judge Timothy S. Black, who ruled in their favor last April; before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned Black’s ruling in November; and before the Supreme Court in the case — consolidating appeals from plaintiffs in all four Sixth Circuit states — that decided the marriage equality issue nationwide. Despite having become courtroom veterans, the couple was little prepared for the experience of sitting through the Supreme Court arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges on April 28.

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July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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L

ess than 90 minutes after the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling recognizing a federal constitutional right to marriage for same-sex couples, President Barack Obama appeared in the White House Rose Garden to comment on the decision. The victory for marriage equality comes in the seventh year of the administration of a president who famously “evolved” on this issue since his election in 2008. While his administration initially defended the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court, in 2011 the president and then-Attorney General Eric Holder determined, based on equal protection grounds, that the Justice Department would no longer do so. When New Yorker Edie Windsor’s challenge to DOMA went before the Supreme Court in 2013, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in support of her suit. The following year, in May, Obama appeared on ABC with Robin Roberts to declare his support for gay marriage, six months ahead of his reelection. When the plaintiffs’ appeal of last November’s Sixth Circuit ruling that struck down marriage equality rulings in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky went before the Supreme Court, Verrilli was once again there to voice the administration’s support.

In a transcript released by the White House, the president’s words follow (viewable at goo.gl/VRFEvw): Good mor ning. Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of those founding words with the realities of changing times — a never-ending quest to ensure those words ring true for every single American. Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt. This mor ning, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love. This decision will end the patchwork system we currently have. It will end the uncertainty hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples face from not knowing whether their marriage, legitimate in the eyes of one state, will remain if they decide to move [to] or even visit another. This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offer-

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July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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Where In the World C

North America:

South America:

Canada (2003-2005) The United States (2003-2015) Mexico(Through a Mexican Supreme Court ruling, marriage equality is gradually spreading state by state; it is currently legal in four of 32 states and that number will continue growing.)

Argentina (2010) Brazil(2013) Uruguay(2013)

66 percent of North Americans live in marriage equality jurisdictions, a percentage that will rise as more Mexican states comply with the high court ruling there. 14 |

Marriage Equality Commemorative

62 percent of South Americans live in marriage equality jurisdictions. Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia offer same-sex couples some partnership benefits.

July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


Can You Get Married? Europe:

Africa:

The Netherlands (2001) Belgium (2003) Spain (2005) Norway (2009) Sweden (2009) Portugal (2010) Iceland (2010) Denmark (2012) France (2013) United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, but not Northern Ireland) (2013-2014) Luxembourg (2014) Finland (2014) Ireland (2015) Greenland (2015)

South Africa (2006)

33 percent of Europeans live in marriage equality jurisdictions. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, and Northern Ireland offer same-sex couples some partnership benefits.

Five percent of Africans live in marriage equality juridictions.

Asia: No Asians live in marriage equality jurisdictions. The Middle Eastern nation of Israel recognizes marriages by same-sex couples from other jurisdictions.

Australasia: New Zealand (2013)

12 percent of Australasians live in marriage equality jurisdictions. Australia offers samesex couples some partnership benefits.

WORLDWIDE TALLY The world’s population is just under 7.2 billion, of whom more than 930 million, or 13 percent, live in marriage equality jurisdictions. *Sources: Freedom to Marry and recent news reports. GayCityNews.nyc | July 09 - 22, 2015

Marriage Equality Commemorative

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ing to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land. In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that principle enshrined into law by this decision. This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for

stopped defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and why we were pleased when the Court finally struck down a central provision of that discriminatory law. It’s why we ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” From extending full marital benefits to federal employees and their spouses, to expanding hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients and their loved ones, we’ve made real progress in advancing equality for LGBT Americans in ways that were unimaginable not too long ago. I know change for many of our LGBT brothers and sisters must have seemed so slow for so long. But compared to so many other issues, America’s shift has been

Folks who were willing to endure bullying and taunts, and stayed strong, and came to believe in themselves and who they were, and slowly made an entire country realize that love is love.

the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come. And this ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free. My administration has been guided by that idea. It’s why we

so quick. I know that Americans of goodwill continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition in some cases has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs. All of us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact; recognize different viewpoints; revere our deep commitment to religious freedom.

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THUNDERBOLT, continued on p.18

July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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THUNDERBOLT, from p.16

But today should also give us hope that on the many issues with which we grapple, often painfully, real change is possible. Shifts in hearts and minds is possible. And those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them. Because for all our differences, we are one people, stronger together than we could ever be alone. That’s always been our story. We are big and vast and diverse; a nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, different experiences and stories, but bound by our shared ideal that no matter who you are or what you look like, how you started off, or how and who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny. We are a people who believe that every single child is entitled to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There’s so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to every American. But

today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we’ve made our union a little more perfect. That’s the consequence of a decision from the Supreme Court, but, more importantly, it is a consequence of the countless small acts of courage of millions of people across decades who stood up, who came out, who talked to parents — parents who loved their children no matter what. Folks who were willing to endure bullying and taunts, and stayed strong, and came to believe in themselves and who they were, and slowly made an entire country realize that love is love. What an extraordinary achievement. What a vindication of the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. What a reminder of what Bobby Kennedy once said about how small actions can be like pebbles being thrown into a still lake, and ripples of hope cascade outwards and change the world. Those countless, often anonymous heroes — they deserve our thanks. They should be very proud. America should be very proud.

Salutes Gay City News for all its work & support for Marriage Equality.

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We Salute Gay City News for all its work & support of Marriage Equality. Find out how the Chamber supports LGBT owned business and professionals through its Business Accelerator Program, professional networking, member benefits, business advocacy, and other programs. For more information, visit us at:

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Marriage Equality Commemorative

DADS, from p.10

“It was electrifying,” Vitale told Gay City News on that day. “You imagine this and imagine that. It’s 50 to 60 times that. It’s an out of body experience. It’s very, very weird.” Asked if there were emotional high points in the day, he responded, “The entire thing was. Everything struck a chord.” Then, referring to one justice who was a very clear ally on the bench, Vitale added, “It was very emotional to hear Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg speak.” With his dads plaintiffs — and winners — in federal litigation that took them all the way to the Supreme Court, Cooper, not yet two-and-a-half years old, has become something of a celebrity. He appeared on an MSNBC report earlier this year —a video clip Vitale said the youngster insists on watching over and over again — and he was on the dais at the June 26 victory rally outside the Stonewall and braved occasional drizzle two days later to ride down Fifth Avenue with his dads

in a convertible for the LGBT Pride March. And there is something fitting about Cooper’s high profile. When opponents of marriage equality argued that limiting marriage to unions of one man and one woman was essential to protecting the best interests of children raised by them, their position was fatally flawed in failing to account for the needs of the roughly two million children being raised by same-sex couples. In opinion after opinion as marriage equality carried the day in federal courts across the nation in the past 18 months, the best interests of such children — the Coopers of America — figured large in the judges’ analysis. Not seeking recognition of their own marriage but rather the rights of Cooper, Talmas and Vitale always had their eyes on that point. Summing up what was most meaningful about listening to the nine Supreme Court justices weigh in during the April 28 arguments, Vitale, with no small amount of wonder, said, “They’re talking about your kid.” July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


THE MAYOR’S EXCELLENT POP-UP WEDDING BASH

DONNA ACETO

DONNA ACETO

for equality — that ignited a movement,” the mayor said. “And that movement swept across this nation and fueled today’s triumph — and that movement will continue to fight for the rights of all LGBT Americans. This is a culminating moment — and let’s just remember these powerful and simple words from Justice Kennedy, who wrote, ‘No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.’”  In a Facebook post, Kirdahy noted that he and McNally have been “chasing equality” for years, having registered as domestic partners in 2003, then civilly united in Vermont, married in Washington, DC, having had their marriage recognized by the federal government in 2013, and now seeing it recognized everywhere across the nation. — Paul Schindler

DONNA ACETO

About five hours after the Supreme Court handed down its big marriage ruling on June 26, Mayor Bill de Blasio was on the steps of City Hall officiating the weddings of two couples and the reaffirmation of the vows of a third. Denise Niewinski and Cindy Jackson (above left), of Long Island City, together since 1999, and Katrina Council and Sarah Joseph (above right), of Astoria, who met on a blind date at the Stonewall Inn, exchanged vows to become legally wed, while Tony, Emmy, and Drama Desk Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally and his husband, Tom Kirdahy, who was de Blasio’s roommate at New York University, renewed their early vows. “As New Yorkers, we feel a singular pride today, because what began at the Stonewall Inn in 1969, when our brothers and sisters first banded together to stand up for fairness, for justice,

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Marriage Equality Commemorative

| 19


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RULING, from p.4

the court brief filed by the American Psychological Association, he wrote, “Only in more recent years have psychiatrists and others recognized that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.” This could have been a key statement for a holding that sexual orientation is a “suspect classification” for equal protection purposes — requiring that any law

Discussing these four principles, Kennedy penned eloquent explanations that play into the themes he previously developed in his opinions in the DOMA and sodomy cases. For example, he wrote, “The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation.” Speaking about marriage’s

site-sex couples with respect to this principle.” Kennedy spoke to society’s changed understanding of samesex relationships. “The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest,” he wrote. “With that knowledge must come the recognition that laws excluding same-sex couples from

US SUPREME COURT

US SUPREME COURT

US SUPREME COURT

US SUPREME COURT

Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.

making distinctions based on that category be subjected to a heightened level of judicial scrutiny — but Kennedy never followed up along that line.

Due Process Issues Instead, he turned to a due process analysis, and grounded his conclusion on “four principles and traditions” which he said “demonstrate that the reasons marriage is fundamental under the Constitution apply with equal force to same-sex couples.” The first of those principles “is that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy.” The second is “that the right to marry is fundamental because it supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals.” The third is “that it safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education.” Finally, he wrote, “This Court’s cases and the Nation’s traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of our social order.”

20 |

“support” for the “two-person union,” he wrote, “Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there. It offers the hope of companionship and understanding and assurance that while both still live there will be someone to care for the other.” After observing that “hundreds of thousands of children are presently being raised” by same-sex couples, he wrote: “Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.” In explaining why the right to marriage is a fundamental right, Kennedy observed, “States have contributed to the fundamental character of the marriage right by placing that institution at the center of so many facets of the legal and social order. There is no difference between same- and oppo-

Marriage Equality Commemorative

the marriage right impose stigma and injury of the kind prohibited by our basic charter.” Several times in the course of this part of his opinion, Kennedy referred to the “dignity” of samesex couples being denied or disparaged by denying them the right to marry.

Equal Protection Issues Turning to the Equal Protection Clause as an alternative source of the marriage right, Kennedy avoided any explicit pronouncement about whether sexual orientation discrimination claims should be subject to heightened scrutiny. Actually, there are two different strands of equal protection theory: the classification strand and the rights strand. Under the first, the court asks whether the challenged law creates a classification that is “suspect” and thus subject to heightened or strict scrutiny. Under the second, the court asks whether the challenged law discriminates concerning a fundamental right, and thus will be struck down unless the government proves a compelling justification.

Kennedy focused on the second strand. Referring back to the court’s earlier marriage cases, he wrote, “The equal protection analysis depended in central part on the court’s holding that the law burdened a right of ‘fundamental importance.’ It was the essential nature of the marriage right… that made apparent the law’s incompatibility with requirements of equality.” He emphasized the interconnectedness of the liberty/ due process and equal protection theories, referring to his 2003 opinion in the Texas sodomy case, Lawrence v. Texas. “Lawrence therefore drew upon principles of liberty and equality to define and protect the rights of gays and lesbians, holding the State ‘cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime,’ he wrote. “This dynamic also applies to same-sex marriage. It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality. Here the marriage laws enforced by the respondents are in essence unequal: same-sex couples are denied all the benefits afforded to opposite-sex couples and are barred from exercising a fundamental right. Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them. And the Equal Protection Clause, like the Due Process Clause, prohibits this unjustified infringement of the fundamental right to marry.” In the ongoing dispute over whether the plaintiffs were claiming a new constitutional right of “same-sex marriage” or access to an existing fundamental right to marry, the court, then, has adopted the broader view.

Who Should Decide? Kennedy rejected the states’ argument that this decision was being made without sufficient

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RULING, continued on p.21

July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


ing that the First Amendment “ensures that religious organiza“democratic discourse,” point- tions and persons are given proping out that same-sex marriage er protection as they seek to teach has been a topic of debate for the principles that are so fulfilldecades, and asserting that “there ing and so central to their lives has been far more deliberation and faiths, and to their own deep than this argument acknowledg- aspirations to continue the family es,” referencing referenda, legis- structure they have long revered.” Kennedy shied away from lative debates, “countless studies, papers, books, and popular and of fering a view about how the scholarly writings.” Indeed, he balance of rights might be struck pointed out, “more than 100 amici” in cases like those in r ecent had filed briefs with the court pre- y e a r s r e g a r d i n g r e c a l c i t r a n t senting a wide range of perspec- wedding photographers, florists, bakers, and the like. tives on all sides of the issues. He only briefly addressed the second question cer tified by the court, “No union is more profound pointing out that all than marriage, for it parties had acknowlembodies the highest ideals edged that if the court found a right of love, fidelity, devotion, for same-sex couples sacrifice, and family. to marry, the right to In forming a marital union, have those marriagtwo people become something es recognized by the states would follow greater than once they were.” as a matter of course: “It follows that the Court also must hold A n d , h e p o i n t e d o u t , “ t h e — and it now does hold — that Constitution contemplates that there is no lawful basis for a State democracy is the appropriate to refuse to recognize a lawful process for change, so long as same-sex marriage performed in that process does not abridge another State on the ground of its fundamental rights.” Having same-sex character.” Kennedy concluded with a found that the marriage bans abridge fundamental rights, he paragraph integrating the main concluded judicial action was points of his analysis in elojustified: “The dynamic of our quent fashion: “No union is more constitutional system is that profound than marriage, for it individuals need not await leg- embodies the highest ideals of islative action before asserting a love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital fundamental right.” K e n n e d y a l s o r e j e c t e d t h e union, two people become someargument that the Court should thing greater than once they were. refrain from this ruling because of As some of the petitioners in these possible adverse impact on tradi- cases demonstrate, marriage tional marriages, finding that the embodies a love that may endure argument “rests on a counterintu- even past death. It would misunitive view of opposite-sex couples’ derstand these men and women decisionmaking processes regard- to say they disrespect the idea of ing marriage and parenthood. marriage. Their plea is that they Decisions about whether to marry do respect it, respect it so deeply and raise children are based on that they seek to find its fulfillmany personal, romantic, and ment for themselves. Their hope practical considerations; and it is not to be condemned to live in is unrealistic to conclude that an loneliness, excluded from one of opposite-sex couple would choose civilization’s oldest institutions. not to marry simply because They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution same-sex couples may do so.” The Court devoted just one grants them that right.” paragraph to the potential clash over religious liberty, assertc RULING, continued on p.22

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RULING, from p.20

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RULING, from p.21

So, at the end, Kennedy returned to the same principle he invoked two years ago in the Defense of Marriage Act decision: equal dignity.

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Chief Justice Roberts penned a “who decides” dissent, along the lines previously articulated by Judge in the Sixth Circuit opinion. “The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage,” he wrote, insisting that defining marriage was the state’s prerogative as matter of democratic process.” He found “the majority’s approach” to be “deeply disheartening.” Roberts’ dissent ended up being slightly longer than Kennedy’s opinion for the Court, embracing simplistic notions of the history of marriage that were directly contradicted by the detailed amicus briefs submitted on behalf of the plaintiffs. For example, he referred to a “universal definition” of marriage as the “union of a man and a woman,” thus ignoring the numerous cultures in which plural marriage has long been accepted. Rejecting Kennedy’s very empathetic view of the plaintiffs’ claims, Roberts asserted, “There is, after all, no ‘Companionship and Understanding’ or “Nobility and Dignity” Clause in the Constitution.” He also raised the question whether the court’s opinion would reopen the question of plural marriage, which is being litigated by fundamentalist Mormons, and insisted that Kennedy’s argument seemed based more in moral philosophy than in law. In conclusion, he wrote: “If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.” Scalia and Thomas joined his dissent.

Scalia, the self-proclaimed originalist, was in fine fulminating form, although perhaps less colorfully than in his dissent a day earlier in the case upholding federal tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. He was quick to observe that the generation that wrote and adopted the 14th Amendment would not have seen it as creating a right for same-sex couples to marry, and under his jurisprudence that should end the matter. But, as he had done in the DOMA and sodomy cases, he sharply criticized the court for short-circuiting political debate. Noting the “unrepresentative” nature of the court, he questioned the legitimacy of it making such a policy decision. “This is a naked judicial claim to legislative — indeed, super-legislative — power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government,” he exclaimed. “They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a ‘fundamental right’ overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since.” He also criticized the opinion as being “couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic.” As he has frequently done in past dissents, he decried Justice Kennedy’s conception of liberty, concluding, “The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis.” Actually, many past decisions of the Court emanating from its conservative voices have already done that many times over. One need only cite Bush v. Gore and Citizen’s United. Thomas joined Scalia’s dissent.

Thomas has long contested the court’s entire history of substantive due process doctrine, so this case was just one more example for him of illegitimate decision-making. He argued that refusing to let samesex couples marry does not deprive them of any liberty, insisting that the reference to “liberty” in the due process clause should be restricted to its “original” meaning of restrictions on mobility. Thus, the state restricts your liberty when it locks you up, but not when it refuses to let you marry. He located the origins of this concept in Magna Carta,

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July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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RULING, from p.22

the 800-year-old English document signed by King John in 1215 to settle disputes with the English nobility about royal prerogative, and then traced the concept through American law up to the time of adoption of the 14th Amendment. “When read in light of the history of that formulation,” he wrote, “it is hard to see how the ‘liberty’ protected by the Clause could be interpreted to include anything other than freedom from physical restraint.” Even accepting a broader meaning, he held that it should be restricted to “individual freedom from governmental action, not as a right to a particular governmental entitlement.” Thomas insisted that “receiving governmental recognition and benefits has nothing to do with any understanding of ‘liberty’ that the Framers would have recognized.” Scalia joined Thomas’s dissent.

Finally, Justice Alito’s dissent rechanneled his dissent from two years ago in the DOMA case, quoting from it extensively, arguing that there were various different views of marriage and that it was up to the people, through the democratic process, to decide which ones to embrace through law. “Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage,” he insisted. Alito particularly bemoaned the likelihood that this ruling would lead to the oppression of people who oppose same-sex marriage, predicting future disputes. “Recalling the harsh treatment of

gays and lesbians in the past, some may think that turnabout is fair play,” he wrote. “But if that sentiment prevails, the Nation will experience bitter and lasting wounds.” Both Scalia and Thomas signed his opinion.

Assemblymember

Deborah J. Glick

All the dissents read like rearguard actions seeking to provoke public discontent with the court’s opinion. But in that sense they are well within the tradition — at least the recent tradition of Supreme Court dissenting opinions in a very polarized group of nine justices. A 5-4 ruling may be bitterly argued, but it has no less standing as a precedent than a unanimous ruling. Although there had been rumblings in the weeks leading up to this day that some state officials might try to avoid complying with a pro-marriage equality decisions, the immediate response of governors in the four states involved with this case signaled prompt, if reluctant, compliance with the court’s decision. A long list of attorneys participated in representing the plaintiffs in this case, culminating in the presentations by three oral advocates at the Supreme Court — two representing the plaintiffs and one from the US solicitor general as a friend of the court. In the end, all of the nation’s LGBT litigation groups played a part, as did numerous groups who submitted amicus briefs to the court, many of which were cited in the opinions. One group among all others will be particularly affected by this ruling. Evan Wolfson announced months ago that upon the achievement of marriage equality nationwide, his organization — Freedom to Marry — will wind up its affairs and cease to exist.

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July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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WOLFSON, from p.7

2013 to allow same-sex couples to wed. Prior to Hawaii, there had been earlier efforts at winning marriage. “Clearly, I wasn’t the first,” said Wolfson, who is 58. “Within three years of Stonewall, there were at least three major court cases brought by couples in different states, one of which reached the Supreme Court. All of these cases were rubber-stamped away. When the Supreme Court ruled in the Minnesota marriage case in a ruling in 1972, they didn’t even bother to write an opinion. I’m not even sure they wrote a sentence.” The first evidence that there was widespread grassroots support for pursuing marriage came in 1987 during that year’s March on Washington, when 2,000 same-sex couples married in a mass wedding at the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service. The “movement leaders” had been discussing marriage among themselves. “We debated marriage constantly, mostly as I was pushing for it and getting slammed by many of those colleagues,” Wolfson said. “Of all the things we kicked around and debated and argued over during those very intense years, marriage was by far the most contentious, the most difficult… And then we did begin taking it into the public arena.” Other evidence of the desire for acknowledge-

ment of same-sex relationships came during the ‘80s in the demand for civil unions and domestic partnerships, forms of recognition that were eventually rejected in favor of marriage.

“I was a little surprised and sometimes frustrated by the duration and repetition of the resistance on the part of some of my colleagues and much of the academic world.”

“I was not surprised by the reaction from the grassroots,” Wolfson said. “I was a little surprised and sometimes frustrated by the duration and repetition of the resistance on the part of some of my colleagues and much of the academic world.” There were disagreements over ideology, with some arguing that domestic partnerships, for example, offered the benefits of marriage to more than just couples. The strategy arguments were inevitably over timing. Marriage

won because of its central role in American society. Created in 2003 to win marriage, Freedom to Marry will now begin to shut down its operations. “Freedom to Marry has now achieved the goal this campaign was created to secure and over a period of months we will engage in a smart and strategic wind-down,” Wolfson said. “The work of this campaign is achieved, but the work of the movement is far from over.” That other work of the movement — among other concerns, enacting comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in states and the federal government — may get a boost from the marriage decision. “It really signals to other courts and other officials across the country that the time of the gay exception is over,” Wolfson said. “It is time to treat gay people with full dignity and respect under the law.” While conservatives in some states have signaled their intent to continue to resist marriage, it is not at all clear that they can do that or that they will do that. Wolfson does not believe that they will. “I think that the country will embrace this and move forward,” he said. “I think that the overwhelming majority of public officials will follow the law… There may be some acting out, there may be some foot dragging, and we will deal with it.”

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Marriage Equality Commemorative

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DONNA ACETO

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum.

DONNA ACETO

DONNA ACETO

Crowds gathered outside the Stonewall as early as mid-afternoon the day the Supreme Court ruled. Singer and comedian Leah DeLaria, a star of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” closed out the rally with a rousing message of pride and joy.

DONNA ACETO

c

DONNA ACETO

DONNA ACETO

Edie Windsor, whose 2013 victory over the Defense of Marriage Act was cited by many of the federal courts that since then ruled for gay marriage, with Brian Silva, executive director of Marriage Equality USA, and Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE.

City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer speaks, flanked by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca.

About an hour after the rally ended, the annual Drag March arrived outside the Stonewall.

RALLY, from p.3

26 |

DONNA ACETO

For mer State Senator T om Duane, who is gay, emphasized this when he described the discrimination and violence that some in the LGBT community continue to confront even with the gains of recent years. The task of the community was to end that violence and discrimination. “It is our job,” Duane said. “Now that we have this right, we have the responsibility to stop that violence.” While the crowd closest to the stage, which sat roughly two blocks east of Seventh Avenue, remained engaged throughout the rally, people standing closer to that avenue and in front of the Stonewall Inn began to look more like a party than a rally by 6:45 p.m. Champagne corks could be heard popping on Christopher Street.

After the rally, the crowd outside the Stonewall continued to celebrate into the night.

Marriage Equality Commemorative

July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


WeddingPrideDirectory CELEBRATING GAY AND LESBIAN MARRIAGE

ATTORNEYS

Ron L. Meyers, Esq. 515 Madison Ave. in New York (212) 644–8787, ronmeyerslaw.com Ron L. Meyers is a leading practitioner of estate planning for LGBT clients. He was a major source for the New York Times’s October, 2009 feature, “The Higher Lifetime Costs of Being a Gay Couple.”

King’s Brass (516) 485-4717, kingsbrass.com Be introduced in style by a brass band introduction. The King’s Brass is a group of impeccably trained, talented professional musicians, directed by Michael Klein, a graduate of the Juilliard School.

Soul System Orchestras

116 Kraft Ave. Ste. 3 in Bronxville (914) 779–1050, adoptionlawny.com Rumbold & Seidelman has a long history of representing the LGBT community — whether through adoption or some form of collaborative reproduction.

1650 Broadway, Suite #503 New York, (800) 466-7685 soulsystemorchestras.com Soulsystem Orchestras bands have been on the leading edge in providing “elegantly hip” wedding entertainment for the past 15 years. Clients can choose from a 3-piece ensemble to a 20-piece swing orchestra and beyond.

AUTOMOTIVE

FAVORS

Rumbold & Seidelman, LLP

Bay Ridge Subaru 1819 Cropsey Ave. in Brooklyn (718) 234–7960 brooklynsubarudeals.com Visit Bay Ridge Subaru for a new or used Subaru Forester, Outback, or Tribeca. It supports same-sex couples.

BANKING TD Bank

Branches throughout the Tri-State area (800) 751–9000, tdbank.com Being yourself is just being human. Everywhere. Every day. We’re with you. We bank human and celebrate the LGBT community. America’s Most Convenient Bank.

CATERING

Catering by Fairway fairwaymarket.com/stores An extensive menu to help you serve a wedding party of any size. Check out our extraordinary selection at Fairwaymarket.com/catering.

Pure Sugar, Inc. West Babylon (631) 766-3309, puresugarinc.com Pure Sugar can create anything your heart desires...in sugar. Make your desserts the main focus of the event. There is no project too small or too crazy.

CEREMONY SITES The Riverside Church

Kupcakes with a K (516) 860–9288 kupcakeswithak.com Kupcakes with a K offers over a dozen different unique flavors for you to enjoy! Sold in certain locations and through its website for your party or event.

Lou Babs & Moogs 95A Main St. in Port Washington, (516) 883–8585, lbmgifts.com/store Lou, Babs & Moogs opened its doors in 2002, and sells an inspiring mix of unique and useful gifts for him, her, and them. Surf through its site to quickly discover just the right thing.

FERTILITY

Genesis Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Multiple locations (718) 283–8600, genesisfertility.com Genesis Fertility & Reproductive Medicine is a nationally recognized center of excellence for comprehensive fertility services.

FLORISTS Fleurs Bella

55 E 11th St. in New York (646) 602–7036, fleursbella.com Fleurs Bella creates unique, floral designs, from the smallest flower arrangement to the most lavish event decor. The team at Fleurs Bella will capture the essence of your vision.

Henry’s Florist

490 Riverside Dr. in New York (212) 870–6802 theriversidechurchny.org Exchange vows where Presidents and some of the most historic figures of our time have stood then finish your perfect day in one of its event halls.

8103 5th Avenue Brooklyn 718.238.3838 www.henrysfloristweddingevents.com Fleurs Bella creates unique, floral designs, from the smallest flower arrangement to the most lavish event decor. The team at Fleurs Bella will capture the essence of your vision.

St John’s Lutheran Church

HEALTH & BEAUTY

81 Christopher St. in New York, (212) 242–5737, stjohnsnyc.org In the heart of the West Village, St John’s Lutheran Church and Rev. Mark E. Erson, Pastor, openly accepts same-sex couples.

ENTERTAINMENT

Amazing Bottle Dancers (800) 716-0556 bottledancers.com It’s hard to overstate the incredible reaction The Amazing Bottle Dancers evoke when they appear at nontraditional weddings. The guests are completely charmed and blown away by our surprise appearance! They never see it coming!

GayCityNews.nyc | July 09 - 22, 2015

Bay Ridge Skin & Cancer Dermatology

9921 Fourth Ave. in Brooklyn (718) 833–2793, bayridgederm.com Put your best face forward with the help of David Biro, who was voted one of “New York Magazine’s” best doctors. The medical office offers Botox, microdermabrasion, and laser hair removal.

Emergency Medical Care 200 Chambers St. in New York, (212) 962–6600, emcny.com Emergency Medical Care is a gayfriendly healthcare practice and an efficient and compassionate urgent care concept. It is a healthcare practice dedicated to better, timely medicine.

HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS

Sand Castle on ohe Beach 127 Smithfield, Frederiksted St. Croix, Virgin Islands 340.772.1205 sandcastleonthebeach.com Our quaint, beach side boutique hotel is designed to meet your personal vacation style. We maintain a sense of intimacy and freedom in this seaside oasis. It’s our home and we invite you to relax and unwind in this comfortable and tranquil setting.

Villa Amor Camino a Playa los Muertos, Sayulita Bahia de Banderas Nayarit, Mexico (619) 819-5407 hotelvillaamorsayulita.com. “Sweeping ocean vistas and a sexy room concept do away with outside walls and invite you to see Sayulita through a rustling fringe of palm fronds.”Travel+Leisure.

JEWELRY

Anna Sheffield 47 Orchard Stl, New York (212) 925-7010, annasheffield.com Anna Sheffield Jewelry offers a timeless alternative to the traditional world of Ceremonial and Fine jewelry with an extensive collection of finely crafted baubles. Our elegant array of rings includes signature styles of mixed precious metals, inverted-set diamonds and solid gold gemstones.

Party Planners and Expos Bosco’s Wedding Planning Expo (914) 337-3826, boscoweddings.org Before you walk down the aisle, walk down ours; Bosco’s Wedding Planning Expo is the place to find your best bet wedding contacts. Visit our website for an Expo near you.

PARTY RENTAL

Classic Party Rentals 336 W. 37th St. in New York (212) 752–7661 newyork.classicpartyrentals.com At Classic Party Rentals, exceptional customer service is its hallmark. It offers a network of party specialists that can provide everything you need anywhere you need it.

REAL ESTATE SERVICES Accurate Building Inspectors

1860 Bath Ave. in Brooklyn (718) 265–8191, accuratebuilding.com Accurate Building Inspectors is a full-service home and building inspection firm servicing the tri-state area since 1961.

Kikco Property Management PO Box 408, Sayville, NY (631) 597-7018, nlaf@aol.com Rental properties, venues for parties and honeymoon packages.

RECEPTION SITES & CATERERS

Andaz Wall Street 75 Wall Street, New York (212) 699-1636, andaz.com Sophisticated urban gay weddings have access to over 14,000 sq. ft. of unique indoor and outdoor spaces right in the heart Wall Street.

The Andrew

the townhouses of East 64th Street. For your wedding reception, the venue’s dazzling, gold-domed Arabelle restaurant provides one of the most unique settings in Manhattan with its blend of murano glass and brass chandeliers, chiffon colored walls and murals of Asian pagodas.

75 North Station Plaza, Great Neck (914) 482-2900, andrewhotel.com Leave the details in accommodating your friends and family the the professionals at The Andrew, Great Neck’s Boutique Hotel, where chic sophistication meets the timeless essence of Long Island’s Gold Coast.

Russo’s on the Bay

Brooklyn Museum

Shakespeare on the Hudson

162-45 Cross Bay Boulevard, Howard Beach, NY, (718) 843-5055 russosonthebay.com Exemplary service and exquisite cuisine combined with professional attention to detail was the best way to achieve customer satisfaction.

200 Eastern Pkwy. in Brooklyn (718) 638–5000, brooklynmuseum.org The Brooklyn Museum is an extraordinary venue located in the heart of Prospect Heights. It has one-of-akind backdrops for private events.

216 Route 385, Catskill, NY (518) 947-1104, stewarthouse.com This remarkable event space now features three beautifully romantic cabins ideal for both large groups and private weekends.

Carlyle Catering

Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel

Various locations in New York (516) 501-9700, carlylecatering.com Whether you desire timeless elegance ON THE GREEN, the regal splendor OF LAWRENCE, deco glamour at The Palace, retro nostalgia at The Omni, or a personalized catering style Off The Green, Carlyle has something for everyone.

Columbia’s Faculty House 64 Morningside Dr. in New York (212) 854–1200 facultyhouse.columbia.edu A smart and stylish choice for your unique New York City wedding, the prized University landmark has classic, flexible spaces with a surprising, modern twist.

The Edison Ballroom 240 West 47th Street, New York (212) 201–7650, edisonballroom.com With its award-winning executive chef and personalized service, the Edison Ballroom continues to provide the perfect environment for all occasions in an elegant private event space in the heart of Times Square, New York.

Grand Oaks Country Club 200 Huguenot Ave. in Staten Island (718) 356–2771, grandoaksnyc.com Formerly the South Shore Country Club, this new and improved Staten Island venue can provide the perfect. elegant backdrop for your reception with prime dates still available.

Houston Hall 222 W. Houston St. New York (212) 582 2057, houstonhallny.com A massive space on West Houston Street has plenty of room to create the event of your dream...or a rowdy Beer Hall wedding. Eternal love, beer and a complimentary minister!

Plaza Athenee 37 East 64th Street at Madison Ave, New York, , (212) 644–0202 plaza-athenee.com Le Trianon, our ceremony space is elegantly appointed in natural earth tones with ten windows overlooking

370 Canal St. in New York (212) 966–3400, sheratontribeca.com Let the Sheraton Tribeca help you celebrate your same-sex wedding. The sleek, modern hotel works with various New York City wedding venues in the area.

Tio Pepe 168 W. Fourth St. in New York (212) 242–9338, tiopepenyc.com At Tio Pepe you have a choice of atmosphere. The skylight dining room supplies a touch of romance while the enclosed sidewalk cafe provides a room with a view of Greenwich Village.

The Vanderbilt at South Beach 300 Father Capodanno Blvd. in Staten Island, (718) 447–0800 vanderbiltsouthbeach.com Boasting both a luxurious banquet hall, as well as magnificent outdoor oceanfront space.

Whyte Hall 577 Fire Island Boulevard, Fire Island Pines (631) 597=6060, manager@fippoa.org Sequestered but easy to reach, this dramatic is located in one of your favorite locations. Experience the magic of Fire Island at its finest.

Yacht Owners Association 101 W. 23rd St., New York (212) 736–1010, yachtsny.com Yacht Owners Association has over two decades of experience planning events at sea, and the largest number of yachts in the tri-state area. The Yacht Owners Association can accommodate weddings anywhere from 2 to 600 guests.

TRAVEL

Ace World Travel 8320 13th Ave. in Brooklyn (347) 915–4287, aceworldtravel.net This full-service and certified romance travel agency specializes in destination weddings and honeymoons. It can also create custom-built itineraries.

Alger House

45 Downing Street, New York (212) 627–8838, algerhouse.com Alger House is a great venue for smaller weddings and corporate events (30 to 106 guests). The very private reception hall has high ceilings, custom lighting, and nearby transportation.

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Marriage Equality Commemorative

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Photos by Riccardo Studios

Russo’s on the Bay Modern Traditions

Exquisite Events

718.843.5055 | Howard Beach, NY | www.russosonthebay.com

Infinity Photography Inc.

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Marriage Equality Commemorative

July 09 - 22, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc

GAY CITY NEWS SPECIAL MARRIAGE SECTION, JULY 9, 2015  

This special section was staple bound and inserted in the center of the July 9, 2015 issue of Gay City News.

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