from the editor
RWN co-founder & senior editor Marianne Puechl (rt) with partner Cindy Sproul and daughter Kestin. Photo: MyDreamCatcher.info Long Beach, CA
It’s an amazing milestone: ten years ago this September, we proudly launched our main website RainbowWeddingNetwork.com as the first wedding gift registry specifically dedicated to the LGBT community. Since then the resources our company provides have expanded exponentially and, to say the least, it’s been an honor to witness firsthand so much growth within the gay rights movement during this historic span of time. In commemoration, my partner Cindy Sproul and I will be publishing a wonderful little book this Fall. It is a collection of personalized insights and experiences regarding the evolution of LGBT marriage equality: “My Dangerous Commute – Witnessing Gay Marriage Rights Across America.” Pre-order online this Fall at www.MyDangerous Commute.com! And as ever, we enjoy hearing your comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.
One Plastic Ring -an excerpt from “My Dangerous Commute – Witnessing Gay Marriage Rights Across America” by Cindy Sproul, co-written by Marianne Puechl Some of the best hugs I’ve ever been lucky enough to receive have made their way to me sort-of in slow motion. I can see them coming at a distance. Usually, across the field at a Pride event, or across the ballroom at one of our Expos, some complete stranger with his or her partner in tow will bound across the way with arms expanding to finally reach me with a wide smile and enfold me in a squeeze of sweet appreciation. Couples have been teary in greeting me and my staff, so thankful for the resources we’ve provided. The whole Big Picture is distilled down into salty drops of joy on their cheeks, and while it’s precious and beautiful… it’s also true that these simple tears are of historic merit. The journey to equal rights is in that flow of emotion. The meaning of equal access, fairness and justice is framed on those faces. The story of authentically living life -their own story- is told therein. And yet the tears are ironically impermanent. Granted, I have many moments at the office where I rant and rave about the latest conservative propagandizing or strategies. But when I seriously think about it, if I could share just one of those heartfelt hugs with the opponents of marriage equality, progress in finding common ground would propel itself instantly by lengths untold.
At one Pride celebration in South Carolina, a young woman approached our booth and chatted with us awhile. She was especially glad to see that we’d expanded to offer the wedding magazine. She had met us two years prior, with her partner, at another event and they had taken small promotional items from us at that time. -Two plastic rings, which at that moment those years ago the women had exchanged symbolically and with a sacred promise. ‘We’re students,’ the woman told us. ‘We couldn’t really afford rings yet, so yours were perfect. We know we’re getting married; we just have to wait until we graduate.’ Obviously she was young, but she couldn’t have been more sincere. As she recounted the story, she held up her left hand: the ring finger was bare. ‘I wore that band for almost two years day and night,’ she told us. ‘I couldn’t and wouldn’t take it off, not for anything.’ For months, she had showered with it, worn it while gardening or washing dishes or changing the oil in the car. The tiny, thin plastic ring worth perhaps a penny had weathered the days loyally for nearly two years. ‘But it finally broke,’ the woman told us. She kept it gingerly in a drawer at home. Trying not to be too obvious, she now squinted over the paraphernalia at our booth, across the magazines and sign-up sheets, the magnets, the lapel pins, the brochures… Sure enough, we still had a basket of rings. Meekly, she asked if she might take a new one. Needless to say, it was about as wonderful as a warm hug. …That’s how much the legitimizing of same-sex relationships through the idea of marriage actually means to people. The number of men and women who let us know they disagree with what we do or they don’t like how we do it far exceeds the number of those who are appreciative. But it doesn’t matter. When the days or the weeks get tough or rigorous, I can always go back to moments like the afternoon with the engaged students and their plastic rings. Their sentiments are something beyond inspirational: they’re uplifting. And more than just to me, personally. Somehow, with the tender promise they made to one another that day over two years ago, those women changed the world. When you see it often enough, you realize such things are truth.
Heartland in Gay America