by Pat Gozemba
Karen and I had a great time at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem on a panel focused on same-sex marriage that was part of the educational program of the beautiful exhibit “Wedded Bliss.” Here’s what The Salem News had to say about the panel.
Expert panel discusses same-sex marriage
By Joe O’Connell
June 27, 2008 05:45 am
SALEM â€” A documentary film followed by a panel discussion on same-sex marriages was held last night at the Peabody Essex Museum as part of the ongoing “Wedding Bliss” exhibit.
Â Â Â The event was called to look at not only the events that led up to Massachusetts’ decision to allow same-sex marriages, but also at the effects that the landmark vote has had on our culture four years later.
Â Â Â Close to 60 people came to view “The Gay Marriage Thing,” a documentary from 2005 by Stephanie Higgins. The film followed a gay couple, Lorre Fritchy and Gayle Green, as they prepared for the state’s decision and ultimately their wedding. It showed views from both pro- and anti-gay marriage individuals.
Â Â Â The panel discussion that followed included Massachusetts state Rep. Byron Rushing, who helped pioneer the bill that allowed same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. He was joined by Chrys Ingraham, who wrote “White Weddings: Romancing Heterosexuality in Popular Culture,” and is chairwoman of the sociology department at SUNY-Purchase.
Â Â Â Karen Kahn and Patricia Gozemba, a married couple from Salem, were also on the panel. They authored a book “Courting Equality,” which profiled numerous same-sex marriages in Massachusetts.
Â Â Â Robin Abrahams, an advice columnist for the Boston Globe, moderated the discussion.
Â Â Â Here is an account of some of the topics touched upon:
Â Â Â What is the role of visuals in a wedding?
Gozemba: “Using all those photos in our book made the ordinary extraordinary. Photos would just make it easier to see what a gay marriage would look like.”
Ingraham: “I think that the pictures in your book, they normalize an intensely private affair.”
Â Â Â What is the relationship between marriages and weddings?
Ingraham: “Weddings are the rituals that signal the readiness for marriage.”
Abrahams: “Weddings are the confirmation of a relationship that already exists.”
Â Â Â What are ways to counter prejudice that is based on disgust?
Rushing: “I believe the disgust comes out of prejudice. We need the trendsetters to change the trend.”
Â Â Â With marriages being so bride-oriented, what effect will that have on marriages with two men?
Abrahams: “Every wedding is a gay wedding.”
Â Â Â When the words, “The power invested in me by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts” are said, to what extent is that a personal or social change?
Gozemba: “It makes a huge political difference. It was not just a spiritual moment, but a political one, too.”
Kahn: “When you go through that ritual, it changes you.”
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