(Add your own review in the comments section at the bottom.)

Melora B. North, “A Fight to the Finish,” Provincetown Banner 7.26.07

Filled with more than 100 compelling photographs, a new book on the first same-sex marriages in Massachusetts celebrates the victory of a momentous day, May 17, 2004, when the state began issuing same-sex marriage licenses, a milestone in the history of this country.

Former Sen. Cheryl Jacques joins authors Patricia A. Gozemba and Karen Kahn, along with photographer Marilyn Humphries, at 4 pm Monday at the Provincetown Public Library to present an author reading and signing of “Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages.”

. . . The issue that is most passionately addressed in this book is the issue of family and the right to have one, including all the legal entitlements.

Patricia A. Gozemba says that she and her wife, Karen Kahn, were looking at Marilyn Humphries’ photos one day with Evelyn C. White, journalist and author. Moved by the impassioned depictions, White said, “This is the next civil rights movement. You’ve gotta write a book about it, you’ve gotta capture this,” says Gozemba.Â

The idea planted, the other three women circled the wagons and got on board for the project in September 2005. In the process Gozemba and Kahn became more and more aware of what they were missing by just being life partners. “We were not interested in getting married,” says Gozemba. “But the more research we did the more we realized how ridiculous it was not to be married, marriage gives you protections . . . rights.”

. . . Marches, family portraits, protests, weddings, all are documented by Humphries in dramatic photographs that tell stories all by themselves.

Megan Milks, “Courting Equality,” Pop Matters. 6.28.07

In riveting photographs and concise, informative prose, Courting Equality documents this period of political division in a state known as one of the nation’s most progressive. Patricia Gozemba’s and Karen Kahn’s text does a fine job helping the reader navigate complicated legal and legislative procedures, while Marilyn Humphries’ photographs illustrate all too movingly the blisteringly ripe emotions that defined the many months spent leading up to and after 17 May 2004, as legislators yelled and fumed and gay couples prepared to wed, knowing that the life of the right they would be exercising hung on a slim legislative margin. More.

Martina Brendel, “Coffee table book tells history of same-sex marriage,” Salem News, 6.5.07

It’s hard to deny someone their happiness. That’s the thinking behind Pat Gozemba and Karen Kahn’s new book “Courting Equality,” which uses the photos of Beverly photographer Marilyn Humphries to tell the history of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. More.

Susan Jacobs, “Courting Equality Eloquently Documents Gay Marriage Movement,” Jewish Journal, 6.1.07

Three local women have collaborated to create a comprehensive book that traces the gay marriage movement in Massachusetts. “Courting Equality: A Docu-mentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages” was released on the third anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts.

Written by Salem activists Pat Gozemba and Karen Kahn, with pictures by Beverly-based photojournalist Marilyn Humphries, the work follows the gay struggle for social justice in the Bay State.

The candid photographs by Humphries, whose freelance work has appeared in the New York Times, Bay Windows and the Boston Phoenix, among other publications, form the backbone of the book. The eloquent prose provides context and background. Presented together, the pictures and text paint a passionate portrait of a milestone event that changed the course of history in Massachusetts. More.

Maggi Smith-Dalton, “Salem Authors Pen Courting Equality,” Salem Gazette, 6.1.07

“Hitch your wagon to a star.” Ralph Waldo Emerson,  Society and Solitude

It’s the faces which impact you most directly.

The book’s text is by turns informative, thought-provoking and challenging. The narrative is well-crafted. The political machinations and the constitutional arguments engage your intellect and the human interest stories kindle that little hearth in your heart. The book itself is pure aesthetic pleasure: handsomely produced, cleanly designed, glossy and oversized, lavishly illustrated. It even smells good. More.

Barbara Taormina, “Book of Love,” North Shore Sunday, 5.27.07

When Pat Gozemba and Karen Kahn first got together 17 years ago, they weren’t really thinking about marriage. Part of being a same-sex couple meant breaking free from typical roles and expectations.

“Marriage really wasn’t my issue,” says Gozemba, who adds that tradition was something gay and lesbian couples were moving away from, not pursuing.

And 17 years ago, marriage and all the benefits and rights attached wasn’t an option; it wasn’t within the realm of possibilities. More.

Chuck Colbert, In Newsweekly 5.18.07

“For more than twenty years Marilyn Humphries, a local freelance photographer whose images have occasionally graced the pages of this very paper, has stood near the front lines of the lesbian and gay liberation and civil-rights movement. From the Dukakis-era gay foster parenting flap to his signing the state’s gay civil rights law, from the AIDS/HIV epidemic to the lesbian baby boom – and much more – her steady hands and patiently sharp eye for details have produced marvelous photography. More.

The Advocate, 5.22.07

“What stands out in this masterful and nuanced collection of photographs–and the politically astute accompanying text–are the individual efforts over many years that led to the collective triumph for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004, when the first legal same-sex marriage licenses were issued in the U.S. Humphries, a photjournalist for over 25 years, introduces gay and lesbian couples who put themselves in the pubic eye, despite fierce controversy. By turns intimate, candid, and canny, her photos make pivotal moments personal, such as the couples’ lawyer Mary Bonauto’s smiling tensely with hopeful eyes when she read the 2003 Massachusetts supreme judical court decision allowing for same-sex marriage, or the moment when the first two women to apply for a license cut a flowered cake as their son looked on beaming.”

Books to Watch Out For, Lesbian Edition, Vol. 4, No. 3

“The book Courting Equality is one of those fabulous marriages (pun intended) between text and photographs. With text by Patricia A. Gozemba and Karen Kahn and photographs by Marilyn Humphries, Courting Equality provides both a record of the fight for marriage equality in Massachusetts and a celebration of the friuts of that labor. It blends the political, personal, spritual, and to an appropriately lesser degree, the resistance to the granting of marriage rights in the Bay State.”

US Representative Barney Frank

Courting Equality is a very important book on several levels. First, it chronicles the events that led up to same sex marriage in Massachusetts, an historic event in our country’s move towards making the wonderful principles of the Constitution applicable to all of our citizens.

Second, it shows how political support in the elected Legislature grew rapidly as the reality of allowing same sex couples to love each other demolished the prejudices that prevented same sex marriage previously.

Finally, it reinforces the point–which was no surprise to those of us fighting for equal treatment for all people–that same sex marriage has been an entirely positive thing for thousands of men and women in Massachusetts, and has had zero negative consequences at all.

Too often, political literature focuses on the bad news, Courting Equality tells some very good news very well.”

Rev. William G. Sinkford, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Courting Equality offers timely and vivid testimony to the power of commitment. Gozemba and Kahn take great care in tracing the complex legal and legislative processes that resulted in the first legal same-sex weddings. These fascinating behind-the-scenes stories are valuable reminders that the profound historic events surrounding the Goodridge case were played out on an intimate, human scale, in the lives of real families.

Marilyn Humphries’ photographs are a gift to us all. They provide moving and eloquent documentation of each stage in the struggle to end discrimination in the Massachusetts marriage statutes. Courting Equality bears witness to the determination, the love, and, ultimately, the jubilation of thousands of ordinary people who believed in an extraordinary dream.”

Mary L. Bonauto, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lead counsel, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health

In Courting Equality, Marilyn Humphries’ stunning photos show both what the struggle for equality looks like and what it feels like. She has been there every step of the way as this history has unfolded. She, Patricia Gozemba, and Karen Kahn have documented an important piece of American history and our national project of expanding fairness and ending discrimination.

The more people get to know gay people, the more they support us, our families, and our rights. This book shows how some of our own legislators and fellow citizens got to know us and their journey to embracing fairness. Courting Equality will help others make that journey.

Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For

Courting Equality is a remarkable chronicle of exactly how social change happens. Marilyn Humphries’ vivid photographic documentation of the fight for same-sex marriage hardly needs any elaboration, but Kahn’s and Gozemba’s accompanying legal history is riveting. Words and pictures together create a moving, human portrait of representative democracy at work.

Alan Lupo, Salem couple’s new book chronicles struggle for gay rights

It’s been almost three years since gay people began legally marrying their partners in Massachusetts on a day in May, which happens to be the very month that my wife and I will be celebrating our 45th anniversary. More  Loves Courting Equality

If you are still searching for the perfect Mother’s or Father’s Day gift for your partner or your own parents, you need look no further than Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages. It is a glossy, large-format work, but to call it a coffee-table book is to do it an injustice. The text by Patricia A. Gozemba and Karen Kahn, and the photographs by Marilyn Humphries, tell the mesmerizing story of the fight for marriage equality in Massachusetts. The book is at once a celebration, a history, and a reminder that we are all still writing a final chapter. More

John Black, Chronicling the Battle for Romantic Rights, BostonNOW, 5.9.07

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. More

Laura Kiritsy, Bay Windows, 5.10.07

“Courting Equality was authored by Pat Gozemba, co-chair of The History Project, and her spouse Karen Kahn, and illustrated with page upon glossy page of photos by Marilyn Humphries, a longtime Bay Windows contributor who has spent decades documenting the life of the local LGBT community. It’s required reading both for the thousands of revelers who celebrated the betrothed at Cambridge City Hall on May 17, 2004, when “the city block rocked with cheers at 12:01,” as Gozemba and Kahn note, and those fair-minded folks  who may still be uncomfortable with the idea of same-sex marriage.” More.

5 responses to “Reviews

  1. Congratulations! A review of your website alone has inspired me to place an order for several copies. This will make a lovely gift for myself and my Punaluu friends. Thank you!
    Rebekah Luke

  2. Mary McCarthy

    I loved this book! Pat and Karen”terrific text and Marilyn’s outstanding photos were a delight to read and see!
    My spouse Bonnie Winokar and I were married ot First Parish in Sudbury in Sudbury and are active members in its Welcoming Congregation Committee.
    We would like a signed copy of “Courting Equality” for our minister, Katie Lee Crane. How could we obtain this? We will be at Boston Pride on 6/9/07.
    Thank you, Mary McCarthy

  3. I was so happy to get to attend “Courting Equality: A 21st Century Civil Rights Struggle” at the University of Arkansas on October 3! The lecture was enlightening and entertaining, 2 words that usually do not come to mind when speaking of lectures…

    When I finished reading the book, the first word that came to mind was: CATHARSIS. I enjoyed reading through the voyage; thank you making it possible.

    The photos are poignant — In the past several days, I have enjoyed re-opening the book to ponder yet another image.

    I must comment on 2 of the photos…

    On page 100, a mother holds a placard stating, “My son is NOT a second-class citizen!” This thought immediately came to mind: that child is very fortunate to have such a responsible parent!

    The photo on page 135 of a couple holding a sign, expressing “50 Years Together! 1 Year Married!” just warmed my heart so. I am happy for them and for the countless others who are closer to being accepted fully as human.

    Thank you, Pat and Karen, for capturing the journey so that those of us in the other 49 states may have faith!


  4. i dont know this befor, thank you, will come back.

  5. I didn’t know about this before,really? Thanks for your sharing!

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