Waldlaw Blog

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My First Same-Sex Wedding

I was at my first same-sex wedding this weekend. The brides have been in a committed relationship for 27 years. Their son is a freshman in high school. Their families had flown in from all over the country. The family members were Jewish and Gentile, young and old, Democrat and Republican. What united them was their love for the couple. I have never been a big fan of weddings. They are long. They are schmaltzy. They often are boring. This one was none-of-the-above. The ceremony itself was short and to the point. The company was excellent. The food and music were great. And where else would I get the opportunity to do "The Bump" with someone who was at a cocktail party with John and Cindy McCain just two weeks ago?? She promised to let Rick Santorum know that she had spent the weekend attending a gay wedding, and had enjoyed it very much. She promised to ask him and his cohorts to lay off our families. On our way home from the wedding, my partner commented that the idea that the voters could invalidate this marriage in two weeks is just plain wrong. Yesterday, on the way home from school, my younger son noted that the No on 8 ads are about equality, while the Yes on 8 ads -- which he is subjected to pretty much any time he turns on the TV at this point -- make it seem like there is something bad about being gay. This offends him. I am not usually one to pray, but now seems like a good time for praying. I pray to wake up on November 5 to find that California has voted for fairness. I pray to wake up on November 5 to find that my friends' marriage is still, unquestionably, legal. I pray to wake up on November 5 to find that my sons' belief that their family deserves respect has been validated, and not undermined. As we Jews say, from my lips to God's ears....

Friday, October 10, 2008

Late Breaking News -- Same-Sex Marriage is Legal in Connecticut!

This morning, the Connecticut Supreme Court voted that it is unconstitutional -- under Connecticut's state constitution -- to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. They voted that Connecticut's civil union law -- and the "separate but equal" standard it perpetuates -- is not sufficient to protect same-sex couples and our families. Some choice quotes from the opinion: "[T]he ban on same sex marriage is likely to have an especially deleterious effect on the children of same sex couples. A primary reason why many same sex couples wish to marry is so that their children can feel secure in knowing that their parents' relationships are as valid and as valued as the marital relationships of their friends' parents." "[R]eligious autonomy is not threatened by recognizing the right of same sex couples to marry civilly. Religious freedom will not be jeopardized by the marriage of same sex couples because religious organizations that oppose same sex marriage as irreconcilable with their beliefs will not be required to perform same sex marriages or otherwise to condone same sex marriages or relations. Because, however, marriage is a state sanctioned and state regulated institution, religious objections to same sex marriage cannot play a role in our determination of whether constitutional principles of equal protection mandate same sex marriage." And the punch line: "[O]ur conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection. Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice. To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others. The guarantee of equal protection under the law, and our obligation to uphold that command, forbids us from doing so. In accordance with these state constitutional requirements, same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry." Apparently, for all their money and their lies, the Right cannot stop the tide of equality. To read the whole opinion, go to http://www.jud.state.ct.us/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR289/289CR152.pdf

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Me and Sarah Palin -- the Sequel

Apparently, Sarah Palin was thinking about me while I was thinking about her! In Tuesday's mail, I got a letter dated September 26, 2008, from Sarah. (We're now on a first name basis.) It contains the following paragraph: "I personally want to say thank you for the steadfast support and unstinting generosity you have given to the Republican Party and all of our candidates. Thanks to your faith and your commitment, we have the momentum and, from the crowds I see at every stop, our momentum continues to grow daily...." WELL. My first thought was to wonder who the heck put me on *that* mailing list. But now I'm thinking that this is part of a devious plot to discredit their most committed opponents by suggesting that we are actually dedicated supporters. I am thinking that "Did you know that Deborah Wald supports McCain/Palin" is probably being whispered in hallways and written on bathroom walls even as I am writing this. Who knows where they'll stop!!!!!! Actually, the most amazing part of my letter from Sarah was the request for funds, with suggested donation amounts starting at $5,000. The text reads: "I've seen the depths the liberal elites and the Obama Democrats are willing to stoop in order to tear us down and win total control of Washington." And I thought *I* was being paranoid!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Me and Sarah Palin

This afternoon, as I was watching my younger son's Little League game, I found myself thinking about how much Sarah Palin and I have in common. She is a dedicated hockey mom; I try never to miss one of my sons' baseball or basketball games. UMMM..... She has brown hair and wears glasses; I have brown hair and wear glasses. UMMM..... We both lives in states with names ending in "a".... UMMM..... Okay, I guess that's it. Hope you all had a good weekend!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Do No Harm

I had a shock this week, when I discovered that one of the folks who signed the official Rebuttal to Argument Against Prop 8 in the California Voter Guide is a pediatrician at UCSF Medical Center, with lesbian and gay families in her practice. I gave birth to our older son at UCSF almost 15 years ago, and already found it an aware and welcoming place. I don't think I am naive -- not at all -- but somehow, I really didn't expect to see a UCSF pediatrician taking such a very public stand against our equality. And it gets worse. A lesbian mom whose child was in her practice sent her a letter, to clarify whether she was really the doctor in the Voter Guide, and got back the following response: Hi L., Yes, I am the same [name of doctor omitted to protect the guilty]. I am hoping that my gay/lesbian families -- who I so appreciate and enjoy caring for -- will realize that there is a difference between allowing gays/lesbians to form families and adopt children without terming this a marriage. Because of the judges' ruling, there would be no religious exclusion allowed - churches may be forced to marry couples in disagreement with their church doctrine. I am also concerned that this ruling actually opens the door to other relationships (such as polygamy, incest) that may not be in the best interest of children. Proposition 8, as you know, does not eliminate any rights for gay and lesbian couples as civil unions will still be the law in California. I trust you have seen the love and care that I have demonstrated to you, as I have to all my families without regard for who constitutes the family. I have always attempted to keep my public policy concerns separated from the medical care I provide. I hope this answers your concerns. How is this woman's position misleading and wrong? Let me count the ways.... (1) No church has to marry couples that it doesn't want to. Prop 8 doesn't give anyone the right to have a church wedding -- it gives same-sex couples the right to a civil marriage. Last time I checked, we still had separation of church and state somewhere in our Constitution. (2) There is NOTHING in the Supreme Court decision that opens the door to polygamy or incest. Oh yeah, it won't pave the way to allowing us to marry our pets either. I think that covers that. (3) It boggles my mind that any caring professional would honestly think that a parent would knowingly entrust the health of her/his children to someone who actively promotes intolerance of our families. As I have already stated very clearly in prior blogs, the Supreme Court's decision was not fundamentally about marriage -- it was about dignity, respect and equality. "I love your family; I just don't think you're entitled to equality" somehow doesn't cut it -- not for me, and certainly not for my children. So this week's reality check is: don't assume that just because we live in San Francisco, the people we rub shoulders with are progressive when it comes to lesbian and gay rights. And in this most polarized and volatile moment, take care of yourselves and your families.