Happy Valentine’s Day, sinners and sodomites! Yesterday, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that the state’s 2006 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The ban is in violation of the equal protection and due process clauses in the United States Constitution’s 14th amendment. Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen’s wrote in the ruling, “Our Constitution declares that ‘all men’ are created equal. Surely this means all of us.” She also singled out the ban for “unlawful prejudice.” (This ruling also means VA has to acknowledge same-sex marriages which are legal in other states.)
Earlier this month, VA’s Attorney General had made clear that he would not defend the same-sex marriage ban on behalf of the state. Gay marriage opponents are already planning to appeal the decision and it’s likely this could head to the Supreme Court. [New York Times, CNN, NPR]
After my traditional engagement to my high school sweetheart fell apart, I was faced with the prospect of another devastating loss: the deportation of my best friend Emir. Desperate to stay in America, Emir tried every legal recourse to obtain a green card, knowing that his return to the Middle East—where gay men are often beaten and sometimes killed—was too dangerous. In an effort to keep him safe and by my side, I proposed to Emir. After a quickie wedding in Las Vegas, we faced new adventures and obstacles in both L.A. and New York City as we tried to dodge the INS. Our relationship was further complicated by the fact that my mother works for the State Department, preventing immigration fraud. In my memoir, The Marriage Act, I delve into the changing face of marriage in America and look at the emergent generation forming bonds outside of tradition—and sometimes even outside the law.
Below is an excerpt:
I remember the citrus salads and late-afternoon Cosmopolitans in the sunny outdoor courtyard of the Abbey, our favorite West Hollywood gay bar. I remember how strange it felt to walk to his apartment rather than drive even though he lived only three blocks away from me. I can’t remember the precise instance when Emir first brought up the verging-on-problematic visa situation. It might have been at a sushi restaurant, or over lunches at the Abbey, or while in line at what the boys around the neighborhood called “the gay Starbucks” on Santa Monica. Emir wanted to stay in the United States past this year to avoid going back into the closet in Emiristan and living with his father. In order to stay, he had to find a job before his visa expired in December, a year after graduation. I told him I was sure he’d find something and I believed it; Emir was creative, intelligent, outgoing, and capable. The possibility that he might not find a way to stay did not cross my mind during those early conversations. Keep reading »
Michael Sam, a football player who recently graduated from the University of Missouri, publicly came out as gay in a video posted to The New York Times’ website this weekend. “I’m coming out now because I want to own my truth,” Sam said. “I didn’t want anyone to break a story without me telling it. … I can’t tell society to agree with this or not agree with this, but hopefully society will rally around this and support me, too. ”
As Missouri’s most valuable player and one of the top defensive linemen in college football, the 24-year-old Texan is expected to be an early-round NFL draft pick. He would be the first-ever openly gay player in the NFL. Keep reading »
Most news about “kids these days” has me shaking my fist in the air in anger, which makes this story about Sammamish, Washington, middle and high school students all the sweeter.
According to The New York Times, last month Eastside Catholic vice principal Mark Zmuda (called Mr. Z by students) resigned from his position after his employers became aware that he was gay and married to a man. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Washington State since January 2013. Keep reading »
This June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional in a case called Windsor v. United States. The woman behind the nation-changing lawsuit is Edith Windsor, an 84-year-old lesbian whose spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. The ladies got engaged in 1967 and for 40 years they stayed near-secretly engaged, finally marrying in Canada in 2007. After Thea died, Edie was hit with $600,000 in taxes, because the U.S. government did not recognize her same-sex marriage as valid. By ruling DOMA unconstitutional, the Supreme Court affirmed the right for gay couples to have their marriages recognized on the federal level. Keep reading »
Ugh, could anything be more annoying that everyone who whined that Phil Robertson’s First Amendment rights were infringed upon after the “Duck Dynasty” star was suspended from A&E for making bigoted remarks about gays in GQ? I’m sorry, but y’all need to go Google the words “Pussy Riot” and “Siberian prison” and then hush. Alas, A&E announced this afternoon that it has reversed its decision to suspend Robertson from the channel. Keep reading »