March 18, 2004

This has been a very busy month, as the brief respite that seemed to come along almost unnoticed during January and February gradually and then rapidly gave way to the usual busy-ness of March, and spring. My house reading series kicked off again with a wonderful reading by Micah Ballard and Ryan Newton, Rova finished another amazing project, this time at the Other Minds Festival on March 4th, and now March Madness is beginning, the official end to the winter sports doldrums. (Spring Training is also in full bloom, although with the steroid scandal and the Yankees buying up every decent player in the league, my enthusiasm's been dampened this year.)

There were other significant happenings this past month; my friend Sonny Smith and his partner Sasha Bulgaskas welcomed their son Oliver into the world, and word just came that Dale Smith and Hoa Nguyen have added a boy named Waylon to their brood, which already includes the miraculous Keaton and a variable bevy of cats. Congratulations to both sets of proud parents. Also, later this month, Adam Genser, one of the show-stealing stars of my musical from last fall, will wed Beth Lederer - whom he hadn't even met yet at the time of the show! - at a ceremony here in SF. Another musical alumnus, Stuart Bousel, wrapped his new play Troijka at Gallery Spanganga, to rave reviews and sold-out crowds.

About a month ago, of course, San Francisco made history by issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. I happened to be at City Hall the day it all started, when there was a buzz of excitement but not yet the mad jubilant rush that started later that weekend, when folks began camping out and the attention from the national media mushroomed to front-page news. Here are the notes I took at the time:

A historic day: gay couples, mostly lesbians, quickly getting married at City Hall - there must be a room where they do this but it seems as if they're waiting in a queue at the bottom of the broad rotunda on the first floor, going up the staircase, being married, coming down, getting photographed and interviewed by news crews, congratulated by pals; there's a continuous excited chatter echoing up to the balcony where I stand, as if something really liberating were happening, like the buzz before the bell rings on the last day of school.

In fact, there is a tremendously long line of dykes fags and straight couples lined up to get licenses snaking around the lobby; they are being married very quickly by a judge in a black robe at the top of the stairs; a man on the stairs in a suit talks in a loud, professional voice to two just-married dykes: "It does feel different, you know, everyone says it's just a piece of paperů" Every time another couple comes down there's a smattering of applause, but the speed and uncertainty of the proceedings makes it feel like they're rushing to get away with something before dad comes home and catches themů

-- February 13, 2004

Since then, of course, the weddings have been stopped. Poet kari edwards has written and continues to write extensively about this issue on her blog. While I strongly support gay marriage completely, and recognize the ultimate importance of this issue in terms of equal rights straight down the line for gay couples, I'm not yet ready to "take to the streets" as kari has called for numerous times. Not yet. For one thing, I suspect that Newson's gay marriage thing was somewhat of a politically convenient move that nevertheless has potentially dire consequences for Democrats in an important election year. Ordinarily I wouldn't give a crap about that but this is the year we absolutely positively must get Bush out of office, and this is a wedge issue that's giving undue political capital to the right wingers who otherwise have very little to say. Already it's made some pledge their support to Ralph Nader, which I think is a big mistake and exactly what the Bushies want us to do. Don't get me wrong. I hope to see gay couples have the same legal rights as straights when it comes to marriage, and I look forward to the national debate that's shaping up, one in which the right has no moral or biological leg to stand on. I too wish that John Kerry would stand up and say "I support gay marriage," but the only way that could be possible is if other prominent politicians from BOTH sides of the aisle like Giuliani (who has a long record of supporting gay rights) stood up and pledged support. For Kerry to do so alone would be to hang himself out to dry politically, and he knows it, and everyone knows it. Gay rights can and should be on the agenda, but they take their place along with a whole laundry list of grievances that many have with this administration. The big picture is winning the election. More on that next month.

News Archives:
February 2004
January 2004
November 2003

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