Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hallmark Unveils Gay Wedding Cards

I got this forwarded from RetailWire today....

Article Preview:

Two months after California sanctioned same-sex marriages, Hallmark announced plans to introduce same-sex wedding cards. Making no direct mention of same-sex unions, the cards feature two tuxedos, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers, with neutral best wishes inside. One says: "Two hearts. One promise." What do you think of the market opportunity for same-sex wedding cards? How big a backlash, if any, do you expect Hallmark will receive for introducing the cards?


One topic that is often talked about in the gay community is the challenge of walking into a Longs to get your partner a birthday or anniversary card and none are really accurate. For Luane, I've been settling for the To My Wife cards, but we're among the camp who aren't into the wife title. Sometimes I'll scratch out the Wife part and put Partner. Many of our straight friends aren't into 'wife or husband' as well, so it's not just the gay community looking for cards to reflect current relationships. Partner is much more widely used, gay or straight, in relationships. Partner feels more equal, more deliberate, more committed for the right reason.

Yes, there's been independent artists and stores creating same-gender (same-sex is also not an accurate statement) cards for years. And, there's been occasions when I don't have the time to order cards on line or go to San Francisco to find a store that might have the tone and words I want to say in a beautifully decorated card to express my love, so I run to the local Walgreens. Or, I make my own and bypass the whole inaccurate card purchase.

It's been a joke, it's been a frustration, now it seems it'll finally be a thing of the past. We'll say, "remember when there was only husband and wife cards? As if those titles were the only choices to box in what we called our partners...and ourselves?"

Thankfully, Hallmark is joining the long list of companies who get that gay relationships are still relationships, and we too deserve an appropriately loving and sentimental wedding card for our partner. It's all the same. Love is love. I'm looking forward to the day I can get Luane a Valentine's card and not have to scratch off the Wife.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vow to Vote No on 8 in November

There's a large coalition of churches, resource centers, politicians, companies, universities and community members unified to defeat prop 8 in November. To learn more, support the defeat which will allow Luane and I to be legally married, go to: www.noonprop8.com for more information. You can donate no matter where you live.

For Luane and my (second) wedding at the end of September, we're asking people to give gifts not to us, but to the campaign. We do this not just for ourselves, but for the rest of the country. We see people coming from all over the country to marry here in California, regardless of their state recognizing the marriage or not. It's important to the couple, to make that public step, no different than what it means to a straight couple in making the commitment.

Thanks for your support, we're continuing to do what we can to help people realize that along the same lines of freedom of religion, freedom of race, there's freedom of orientation. It's a basic freedom.

I've been told by countless moms who at first had the "ick" factor in their heads. Then they recognized how they've been teaching their children to appreciate the differently skinned kid in their class, the different religion practiced by their family friends, the different body sizes kids come in...and yet to be inconsistent in appreciating the diversity of who people love.

So, the "aha" moments are happening...people are getting we're all the same on the inside and just expressing ourselves uniquely on the outside. Part of God's tapestry, that's all it is.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The first federally recognized same-sex marriage will happen on the Coquille reservation

This is fascinating to me...Native American reservations are "federal" land and a committed lesbian couple will soon be married on their reservation, thus the marriage federally recognized? As horrific as the Native Americans have been treated since, well, forever, by governments, wouldn't it be nice to have this moment in history for them?

I'm also excited about this for two other reasons...I have Muskogee blood in me, from Oklahoma. My ancestry is a part of the Creek tribe and the Turtle clan. We were on the Trail of Tears from the Carolinas and Florida area. We still have heirlooms carried along the Trail within our family. It's a history that is very real to me. When I saw the 30 Days episode this summer where Morgan Spurlock lived on a reservation for a month, I was so moved...it took me back to my childhood and what family was like on the Native American side.

My grandma, at a family reunion, gave us all Native American names. Her name was Owl. She called me Gazelle. Which, at first I was concerned...did she see me as someone who ran away as a defense? I'm clearly not doing that lately if so....then, I learned it was due to my very long legs and my athleticism. So I keep exercise up in my life, gotta keep that girlish Gazelle figure.

The other relevance is I grew up in Oregon. Most of my life has been in California, however I still consider my roots as an Oregonian. For those Oregonians out there, your first question is if my family is Duck or Beaver, and we're Duck even though I never attended Univ. of Oregon.

For this monumental event in LGBT history to collide with my ancestral makeup, makes me feel even more proud. The Natives are first in something again. And good for Oregon to be the state to have it happen.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Art of Words - No on 8 Description Upheld

In California, same gender committed couples are getting legally married. We hear of hundreds of couples coming from out of state, as far as from Tennessee and beyond to have the dignifying experience of respect for their relationship even if their own state won't recognize its legitimacy. It's an amazing time and I'm proud to be in the front row watching the authentic happiness and tears of joy on these couples' and families' faces.

Recently, the Secretary of State released the description for the ballot measure that's made its way to the CA November ballot which would actually amend the state constitution to disallow gays and lesbians to marry legally. This is the wording:

Proposition 8

Changes California Constitution to eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact to state and local governments.

The folks being paid from mostly out of state organizations who got the signatures for the measure freaked and sued (again) to get the wording softened. They wanted it to be more like defining marriage as one man and one woman. This is the art of words...making something distasteful taste good.

The announcement was made this morning on the suit:

According to Mike Swift at the Mercury News:
" A Superior Court judge this morning rejected a suit filed by Prop. 8 proponents against the ballot title proposed by Attorney General Jerry Brown. Judge Timothy M. Frawley said Brown's language was neither false nor misleading, handing a victory to gay rights supporters who want a clear statement of what a constitutional ban would mean for gay couples who have married in California this year."

So, it's inevitable for the people of California, who don't want to really treat people differently, who are raising their families to accept those of different faiths, cultures, backgrounds and color of skin will simply add orientation to the list of basic fairness.

Luane and I are making our wedding plans...we're getting married (again) in September. I'll marry her as many times as it takes to stick. I hope you'll join the millions of others across the country to get educated on this proposition.

Have you seen Swing Vote yet? It's about knowing what you stand for and putting that education into play at the polls. You can help others get educated as well. You're invited to support the No on 8 Equality for All folks at: http://noonprop8.com

Monday, August 04, 2008

Shooting in Knoxville, TN

By now, you may have heard of the sad and traumatic shooting that happened during a Sunday service at a church in Knoxville, TN which resulted in 2 deaths and 4 people in critical care. The church was Unitarian Universalist and targeted by the gunman because he believed he could find "liberals and gays" there to blame for his current state of life's misfortune.

Yes, the church was well known in the area as being open and affirming, which means it is public in its welcome for any who want to come with deliberate outreach to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks. It's well documented that churches who become open and affirming, actually grow in general, as many straight folks return to attend a church who genuinely welcomes everybody.

Learn more about the shooting: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/news/local/church-shooting/

For the Knoxville tragedy, my and Luane's heart go out to the church attendees, their families and the leadership of the church. It also goes out to the man who felt the best way to handle his anger and frustration with his life was to externalize his pain and force others to feel the wounds he feels. The whole situation is sad...projecting blame on strangers for one's unhappiness...whether through the violent use of a gun or of the tongue. They are linked and do tremendous damage and even death...physically, spiritually and emotionally.

With Our Family Matters coming to Nashville, TN in October, we intend to help the state of Tennessee heal from this tragedy by offering a safe place for people to come and get their questions answered, to provide support for those who seek solace, to provide community for those who otherwise feel isolation.

Come together, help Tennessee heal and join us, no matter where you live. For more information and registration: http://www.ourfamilymatters.org