BostonNOW Weighs In

Chronicling the battle for romantic rights
Same-sex marriage in words, photos
John Black, jblack@bostonnow.com
 
Sometimes, we are told, things happen for a reason. In the case of authors Patricia Gozemba and Karen Kahn and photographer Marilyn Humphries, they happened for a very good reason.

“For a long time I’d known about Marilyn’s work as a photojournalist covering a number of progressive causes,” Gozemba said. “I always felt that what she was doing would make a great book, but she said she didn’t have the time to write one because she was so busy. That’s where Karen and I stepped in.”
The result of the collaboration of these three women is Courting Equality, A Documentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages, now available from Beacon Press.

The book uses words and images to tell the story of the battle for gay marriage in Massachusetts, from early efforts by LGBT activists for family and parenting rights to May 17, 2004 at 12:01 a.m., when Susan Shepard and Marcia Ham were issued the first legal same-sex marriage in the country.
“There was a wealth of material to draw from, but it was still a challenge to find the right tone for the stories we wanted to tell,” Gozemba said. “We never wanted to come across as preaching to people because that could drive them away. We didn’t want it to be cold, either, because, after all, it’s a story about love as much as politics.”

Now that the book is done and on the shelves, the ladies are rolling up their collective sleeves and getting to work making sure the message of the book gets out where people can read it.

“We’ve had great success from people and organizations who already support the cause of same-sex marriage,” Gozemba said. “Now we want to make sure everyone else reads it, too.”

Courting Equality book launch, Wed., May 16, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Cambridge YWCA.

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