Category Archives: Same-sex marriage

The face and force behind the battle for marriage equality, the magnificent Edith Windsor: “I am today an out lesbian, O.K., who just sued the United States of America, which is kind of overwhelming for me.”

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Edith Windsor (on right), shown with her wife Thea Clara Spyer, talking about what makes marriage different, and why the ability to marry makes a difference.

Edith Windsor was only married for two years, but she was with her partner Thea Clara Spyer for more than 40 years. Now she is the face of the fight for marriage equality before the United States Supreme Court.

Thea and Edith married in 2007, when Thea was gravely ill and was given less than a year to live. After only 21 months of marriage, Thea died, leaving her estate to Edith. Because their marriage was not legally recognized, Edith was responsible for paying more than $300,000 in estate taxes on her inheritance – money that she never would have owed, as she said, if her spouse’s name was Theo and if it was a man she had met only the day before he died.

Edith and Thea led a full life in the 42 years they shared together. They traveled, owned a house in the Hamptons, loved dancing, and shared an apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Through the years, they shared a committed relationship, but they something was missing. They found that missing element once they were married.

From the New York Times: 

Even though they were married for only the final two years of their 40-year relationship, she said something intangible but unmistakable changed after they were married. “For anybody who doesn’t understand why we want it and why we need it,” she said, “it is magic.”

Anyone with a beating heart should be able to understand that.

Edith Windsor, you rock. Thank you for your courage and your brave heart. I stand with you.

I’ll love you forever (especially if we get married on January 4, 2013): good fortune and Chinese weddings

Double happiness papercut bought on a business trip to Taiwan in 1989

Double happiness papercut
(bought on a 1989 business trip in Taiwan)

Happy Love You Forever Day! Haven’t heard of it? Maybe that’s because you aren’t Chinese, where couples across the country are doing what they can to marry on this auspicious date. More than 10 million marriages take place in China each year, with numbers spiking on dates thought to be numerically important.

Marriages take place at registry offices and must be booked in advance. It was reported that 10,000 couples married today in Beijing, and that many more hopefuls showed up without an appointment. In Hong Kong, the city’s five marriage registries were fully booked for this date by September 20 2012.

So what makes tody special? After all, it doesn’t have matching numbers (as was the case recently on 12/12/12); such dates are thought to bring good fortune.

No, it is the words that make today special. In Mandarin, the words for “January 4, 2013” sound like the phrase “I will love you all my life.”

That’s as good a reason as any to pick a wedding date.

However, if you’re looking for good fortune, it helps to pick the right parents.

At least that was the case for the couple in China’s Fujan province, where the bride’s father paid a dowry worth more than $150 million to help the couple start their new life together. According to the South China Morning Post  “the extravagant gift included four boxes of gold jewelry, more than $3 million deposited into their bank account, $800,000 in stock, a Porsche and a Mercedes…(as well as) a retail store, mansion and other properties. To top it all off, nearly $2.5 million was donated to two local charities on the couple’s behalf.” No partridge in a pear tree, but they can afford to buy their own should they choose to do so.

Why the largess? “As parents, we certainly want our child’s life to be more stable than our lives as entrepreneurs,” said the bride’s mother, according to the UK’s Daily Mail. I don’t think stability will be one of their future concerns. They married on Sunday. Guess they didn’t need to pick a particularly auspicious date to ensure their good fortune.

So how did you pick your wedding date? And has it proved to be fortunate for you?

In other Chinese wedding news, one father has established a bounty/promise of $65 million as a wedding gift to any man who will marry his lesbian daughter. As reported in the Huffington Post, Hong Kong businessan Cecil Chao was upset that his daughter Gigi had eloped with her partner to France, where their union was blessed in a church. It should be noted that Hong Kong decriminalized homosexuality in 1991, but it does not legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Ironically, it cannot be said that Mr. Chao practices what he preaches. A man with a reputation for being a playboy, he once claimed to have had 10,000 girlfriends but has never married. Daughter Gigi is one of three children, each with a different mother.

Chao says he has received “hundreds” of responses since making his offer, and is certain there is a large pool of eligible suitors. “Thousands of people want to be my in-laws,” he proclaims. Would Gigi cooperate and enter into a heterosexual marriage?  Gigi says, “We’ll just worry about that when the time comes.”

You can’t make this stuff up, people

What do you think  – is this a tempting offer? How much would it take to entice you to marry for money and not for love?

 

All you need is love – and a little help from your friends.

Sign from accion poetica

Sign from accion poetica

Same-sex marriage was approved by popular vote in the state of Maryland during the November 2012 elections. Couples could apply for marriage licenses beginning December 6, but ceremonies could not begin until January 1, 2013. A well-known hate group, the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, came out to protest at courthouses in Annapolis and Towson when ceremonies began to be performed on New Year’s Day.

Ironically, their efforts to protest and disrupt the legally binding commitment ceremonies of people in love were defeated by the sheer force of love.

The protesting voices of four Church members were drowned out by a chorus of 250 community members (organized by a local Episcopal church and including representatives of local Presbyterian, Unitarian and Baptist congregations). The community came together, raising their voices in song, singing carols to overshadow the message of hate. According to the Baltimore Sun, “When people came to our city to preach hate, we stood up to them,” Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen said after the protest ended. “It was a beautiful scene.”

Joining in the Annapolis anti-hate protest were several Annapolis High School students, who skipped their first-period history class (with the blessing of their teacher).  “Their whole organization is offensive,” said one student. “They were here to preach hate, we were there to preach love.”

It thrills me to see Americans come together to do the right thing. All in the name of love.

Once again, congratulations to all the newlyweds and to those planning to take the plunge!