The hope of finding real marriage
equality in the United States for gay couples in 2003 looked rather
grim. After significant court loses in several states, including
Hawaii, and with the 1996 Clinton-approved Defense of Marriage Act in
place, proponents of gay marriage were feeling mangled.
Yet, 2003 will be forever remembered as
the year when gay marriage finally found its footing in an unlikely
New England venue ... Massachusetts.
The case was Goodridge v. Dept. of
Public Health, and the state Supreme Court verdict was clear:
Denying gay couples the right to marry violated Massachusetts'
constitution. The court found the state's arguments that denied
marriage benefits to gays and lesbians inadequate and gave the
legislature 180 days to remedy the situation.
GLAD attorneys Mary Bonauto and
Jennifer Levi argued the historic case. And recently,
OUTTAKEOnline.com CEO Charlotte Robinson spoke with GLAD Executive
Director Lee Swislow about gay marriage as a national issue and where
we go from here.
“[Gay marriage] is not a voting issue
for anyone really this election,” Swislow said, happily. “We
think that's a sign the country is moving forward. I hesitate to use
the word 'normalization' because that word could be something we only
experience in Massachusetts. But, to some extent, it is a sign of
the growing acceptance that same sex couples deserve the same right
to participate in society as any other couples, and polls show
increasing support certainly for marriage and for other forms of
While Swislow remained optimistic about
gay rights in America, her mood turned somber when discussing
Republicans, saying she was happy not to be one.
“Well, I am really glad I'm not a Log
Cabin Republican (the gay Republicans), because I think – what a
position to be in. ... Personally, I would never make the compromise
that they have made in endorsing a [Republican] ticket that is so
hostile to our interests and to equality. I wish them well. If they
are successful, that will only help us, but boy, do I think it's a
hard and perhaps fruitless road to be going down. But good luck to
And on gay marriage in California, and
where the community would turn if it was lost in the November
election: “The first thing that would happen would be a lot of
sadness. ... We also know the progress for civil rights for any
community is not a straight line, as much as we would like to see
that happen. ... It would be a tremendous setback – a huge
disappointment – if we were to lose the fight in California. But
that won't stop us from fighting in Connecticut, in New York, New
Jersey and Vermont, Maine and Iowa, and every other state, because we
know that equality is right. And we know whatever the setbacks,
ultimately, we're going to be successful. I'm not saying it will be
easy, but we'll keep fighting.”
GLAD is currently involved in gay
marriage litigation in several states, including an imminent Supreme
Court ruling in Connecticut. It is also involved in fundraising
efforts that support gay marriage and GLBT rights. Learn more about
GLAD at www.glad.org.
On the net: More on this interview can
found at www.OUTTAKEOnline.com.