Category Archives: about authors

Salem Authors Chronicled Marriage Equality Struggle

On the tenth anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts, Tom Dalton of the Salem News interviewed Patricia Gozemba about Courting Equality:

SALEM — Marriage was on the minds of Patricia Gozemba and Karen Kahn when they set out nearly a decade ago to write their book: “Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages.”

Marriage was on their minds — just not their own marriage.

The two longtime feminists and activists, who had been together since 1990, began working on the book in the summer of 2005, or about a year after the historic first marriage in Cambridge City Hall.

A few months into the project, however, they decided to get hitched. And they decided to hold the ceremony in Cambridge.

Watching history unfold before their eyes helped them realize what an important right marriage is.

“We’re both kind of old-time feminists …” said Gozemba, 74, a retired Salem State professor and local environmental activist. “But the both of us realized all the kinds of social and even societal benefits there were to being married in terms of legal protections, economic protections and all the rest.”

Although she says there is still a long way to go to achieve equality for the lesbian,gay, bisexual and transgender community, Gozemba credits the current occupant of the White House with advancing the rights of same-sex couples.

“The Obama Administration has been tremendously helpful in assuring more equality … and allowing us to file taxes together. And new Social Security benefits are coming down where surviving spouses can get the Social Security (benefits) of their spouses.”

Looking back a decade, the two Salem women are proud to have been part of history as activists, authors and a same-sex married couple.

“We’re very excited about this 10th anniversary,” said Gozemba. “Massachusetts certainly showed the way.”

Courting Equality on GAY USA


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by Pat Gozemba

 

Karen and I were excited to be on one of our favorite shows this week, GAY USA. You can catch us on the web or on a variety of Cable and Dish Network TV sites. See info below.pat-and-mouse.bmp

Pat Gozemba and Karen Kahn, co-authors and spouses

photo by Bill Bahlman

 

 

Hosts Andy Humm and Ann Northrop are terrific and it was a real pleasure speaking with them. Below is the message that they sent out to their list-serv subscribers:

 

We report this week on how Massachusetts has gotten rid of its last vestige of discrimination against same-sex couples, opening the state to gay and lesbian couples from elsewhere who want to marry there.

 

Our guests for our last twenty minutes are Pat Gozemba and Karen Kahn, authors of “Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Unions” with photographs by Marilyn Humphries. They will tell us their story of witnessing and writing about the birth of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and how they decided to get married themselves after being partners for 15 years. We will also show you a montage of photos from the book, which document the victory for same-sex marriage in the context of the historic movement for LGBT rights.


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You can read more about “Courting Equality” at http://www.courtingequality.com/

 

The Gay USA website and podcast are available at GayUSATV

“Gay USA” is seen in Manhattan on MNN on Thursdays at 11 PM on Time-Warner 34 and RCN 84 and simulcast at www.MNN.org channel 34/84. It is distributed nationally on the Dish Network (Ch. 9415) through Free Speech TV. Go to www.FreeSpeech.org for the schedule. The show now also airs on Saturdays at 11 PM on WYBE in Philadelphia.

Online video for Gay USA is available at: www.freespeech.org/videodb/index.php?search=gay+usa&action=search

Gay USA is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of “Gay USA” may be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” online by credit card at www.fracturedatlas.org/donate/GayUSA

 

Andy and Ann

Co-Hosts

 

Free Speech schedule:

 

Friday, Aug 08

   

5:00am 

Gay USA

Saturday, Aug 09

   

2:00pm 

Gay USA

 

11:00pm 

Gay USA

Sunday, Aug 10

   

5:00am 

Gay USA

 

12:00pm 

Gay USA

Monday, Aug 11

   

2:00am 

Gay USA

 

9:00am 

Gay USA

Tuesday, Aug 12

   

5:00am 

Gay USA

Friday, Aug 15

   

5:00am 

Gay USA

Saturday, Aug 16

   

2:00pm 

Gay USA

 

11:00pm 

Gay USA

Sunday, Aug 17

   

5:00am 

Gay USA

 

12:00pm 

Gay USA

Monday, Aug 18

   

2:00am 

Gay USA

 

9:00am 

Gay USA

Sunday, Aug 24

   

5:00am 

Gay USA

 

12:00pm 

Gay USA

 

     
 
     
     
 
     
     
 
     
     
 
     
 
     
 
     
     
 
     
     
 
     
     
 
     
     

 

Thank You, Mary Bonauto and GLAD

Thank You, Mary Bonauto and GLAD for Four Years of Equality!

 

Four years ago today at a press conference in Boston, on November 18, 2003, Mary Bonauto of Gay Lesbian Advocates&Defenders and the Goodridge plaintiffs taught me an important lesson in American democracy. Their visionary leadership and commitment made me see that marriage equality for LGBT families is an issue of democracy, a fundamental civil right. I had not seen it that way. Marriage was not on my political agenda. I’m a convert now married to Karen Kahn.

If my friend Marilyn Humphries, Bay Windows lead photographer, had not neglected to bring her largest photo flash card in to Boston that day, I might have missed the historic press conference. I got the job of fetching the flash card from Marilyn’s house and schlepping it to the Omni Parker Hotel. I stayed for the press conference. A year and a half later, Karen Kahn and I would begin writing a book featuring Marilyn’s photographs, Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages (Beacon Press, 2007).

Here’s part of what we said in the book about Nov. 18, 2003:

The Marriage Victory Press Conference

            On the walk over to the Omni Parker House Hotel, Bonauto and the plaintiffs had TV, radio, and print media trailing them and jockeying for the best shots and sound bites. The proud smiles on the faces of the plaintiffs told it all. Bonauto began the press conference. “Wow this is a very, very big day; it’s obviously a historic day . . . because finally all families in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will have the opportunity to be equal families under the law.” With her voice ringing with conviction, Bonauto gave pause, “A court finally had the courage to say that this really is an issue about human equality and human dignity, and it’s time that the government treat these people fairly.”

            Continuing her effort to ensure that Massachusetts did not adopt civil unions, Bonauto clearly asserted her understanding of the ruling: “The issue in this case was whether or not it was constitutional to exclude same-sex couples from civil, legal, governmental marriages as well as all the protections that flow from that. That’s what the court ruled on today. It didn’t rule on a parallel system.” Bonauto then insisted that the plaintiffs be allowed to speak.

Protections of Marriage

            Julie Goodridge pointed out that the court affirmed what they had always felt: “We are a couple that is worthy of the protections of marriage, and that after 16 and a half years Hillary and I are finally going to be able to get married and protect our family.”

            Gary Chalmers, with Rich Linnell at his side, told the assembled press, “My partner of 15 years, finally after today, will be my official spouse come June. . . . We’ll finally be able to have health insurance and so many other legal benefits we need to keep our family safe and secure.”

Marriage as a Civil Right

            Poignantly, Wilson and Smith, both African American, noted the important civil rights dimension of the decision. Wilson smiled as he asserted, “It means I’m a full citizen with all the rights of a citizen.” Expanding on that point, Smith insisted, “The struggle for people to be treated equal is a long one, and it continues, and it gives me chills to think about that connection.”

            Towards the end of the press conference, the media questioned Bonauto again about why civil unions would not satisfy her clients. Her concise reply had probably been on her mind since the
Vermont legislature invented civil unions. “We think the word ‘marriage’ is one of the important protections because everybody knows what it means.” A TV reporter then asked her if she would get married and the usually very businesslike Bonauto looked down and then with a broad grin looked up, “You betcha!”


Goodridge anniversary commentary at Beacon Broadside

Take a look at Beacon Broadside, where Karen reflects on the fourth anniversary of the Goodridge decsion, and late summer adventures in Tennessee, Gerogia, and North Carolina (below, a photograph of Karen & Pat with Laurel Scherer and Virginia Balfour, in Asheville, North Carolina). 

 scherer-balfour-asheville-9-5-07.JPG

As we approach the fourth anniversary of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the Supreme Judicial Court decision that granted marriage equality to same-sex couples in Massachusetts, I find myself reflecting on the profound impact of this decision in my life. Before November 18, 2003, I had not considered marriage as anything more than an outdated, sexist institution. With the energy of the spurned outsider, I rejected marriage and all its trappings. I had no expectation that, in my life time, same-sex couples would be allowed to participate in this exclusively heterosexual ritual. Read more.

Marilyn Humphries featured in November Boston Spirit Magazine

If you are in the Boston area, pick up the November/December 2007 copy of Boston Spirit or go to the website to order your free subscription http://www.bostonspiritmagazine.com/   In this month’s issue, Pat Gozemba has a feature article on Marilyn Humphries’ two-plus decades photographing Boston’s LGBT community. Lots of pictures tracing LGBT activism since the early 1980s.

Courting Equality Rocks Ptown

Pat, Karen, & Denise from Austin 

On July 28, we celebrated marriage equality with Denise, a parent participant in Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE). Denise read Courting Equality in one afternoon, after her neighbor Orlando Del Valle lent her a copy. She was among many lesbian and gay families who gathered for Family Pride Week. Courting Equality drew a large crowd to the Provincetown Library, where state representatives Carl Sciortino and Sarah Peake, along with former Senator Cheryl Jacques, talked about the political struggle to win marriage equality.

Courting Equality photographer and authors honored

The City of Cambridge honored Pat Gozemba, Karen Kahn, and Marilyn Humphries with a special proclamation at their May 7, 2007, meeting. The proclamation notes that Courting Equality includes a photo of the first couple married in Cambridge, Tanya McCloskey and Marcia Kadish, and City Clerk Margaret Drury. The Council congratulated the authors on a “terrific” book.

Marilyn Humphries received a Black Butterfly Award at this year’s Sistah Summit, an annual event held during Pride week where lesbians of color celebrate those who have supported their community. She was honored for her efforts to ensure that images of the LGBT people seen in the press and elsewhere are inclusive of all our communities. Humphries, in recieving the award, told the audience,  that there is no honor more meaningful to her than one that comes from the black LGBT community. “To be called family,” she said, “that is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had.” For full coverage of the event, see Bay Windows story by Laura Kiritsy.