Monthly Archives: June 2010

Party A and Party B

On Friday, Lindsey and I hosted our 1 Mile March for Equality (links to photos and videos at that page; more coming later). It was a terrific event.

We arrived at the Rock Island County Clerk’s office to a a flurry of activity. About a dozen friends came out to support us for the day, as well as Lindsey’s mom and brother. The Quad City Times (Davenport) as well as the Argus-Dispatch (Rock Island & Moline) sent reporters and photographers to cover the event. This was startling and gratifying, because as anyone who has ever invited press knows, you’re usually sending those press releases out into the ether. Our modest group was packed with rainbow flags and signs.

I said this then, and I’ll say it again: Lindsey and I have been beyond blessed by the support and love we’ve received throughout our five years together. We heard from dozens of friends and family members who couldn’t come, encouraging us for this event.

The event went as planned. We all walked in the Illinois office and presented our completed application. We were politely, if nervously, turned down, “Illinois doesn’t recognize marriage for same-sex couples.” The whole group of us walked to the Centennial Bridge. We got a lot of positive reactions from cars going by, and only a couple of negative ones. No one threw anything at us. The Iowa office welcomed us, and in a surreally-overphotographed moment, Lindsey handed in our form and we signed our names. Her brother Patrick acted as our legal witness, as Lindsey had for his marriage license. Ten minutes later, they printed our documents and we’re officially Party A and Party B. (Iowa allows you to check you choice of Bride, Groom, or Spouse on your license application, but both participants are legally Party A and Party B. Identifying your gender is optional; we did so that the Recorder’s Office can quantify the impact of equal marriage in Iowa. Yay statistics.)

Back in Rock Island, a few people watched the documentary which inspired this march, Heartland Transport, and then we discussed the state of marriage in Illinois, Iowa, and the country.

Lindsey’s mother spoke up a little. Lindsey’s mother has moved from unsure about this whole relationship to showing up at protest marches. This woman is amazing. Please, come out to your friends and family. They can surprise you. She spoke a moment on how it’s hard to come out as an ally, hard to talk about how her daughter is gay without being all “This is Lindsey, my gay daughter”, how it’s sometimes hard to see how visible and out she and I are. But then she said, “But I always taught them to speak up if something’s not fair.”

We need to keep up the movement. If you left a comment on one of our Facebook pages, if you read the page here at the blog, if you read the newspaper or saw it on the news, if you told your friends about your friends getting married in Iowa: do something to help. Call your Senator, call your State Reps, ask them about equal marriage in the country or in your state. Join a group. Ask your local LGBTQ rights group for something to do. Write a letter to your local paper’s editor. If you live in Illinois or Iowa and want to get involved, send us a message, we’ll hook you up. Speak out if you think this isn’t fair.

Marriage within walking distance

For those of you with little patience for rambling, the shortcut is: click the tab above 1 Mile March. We’re doing it the old-fashioned way, by walking across bridges.

Lindsey grew up in an area which I would refer to as “down” as in “we drove down to Moline” (this isn’t true; before I met her we never drove down there), despite being pretty exactly due west of the city (aka “Chicago”).

I-80 is the red line/WikiCommons

Illinois is slightly larger than England (postcolonial, where the sun sets the usual once per day) and similarly long, north to south. Roughly, one third of its population lives south of Interstate 80. A further third live in the northeast corner of the state, the “Chicagoland area”. The remaining third live in the “collar counties”, everything west of Chicago and north of I-80.

I grew up in Chicago, which, as you can see at my local library, is its own state:

Tri-state area?/photo mine

Despite this handicap, I developed a fondness for my home state of Illinois. Rolling fields, songbirds, terrifyingly complex monocrop agriculture, impossibly corrupted politics, my grandparents’ vegetable garden.

Iowa, though, is a state which I love dearly and hope to write more on later. Iowa holds my imagination and is what I hold when I talk about the Midwest. Lindsey and I are getting our marriage license this weekend. We have to go to Iowa for it. Again, it’s remarkable luck that this place which we loved anyway is the place which will recognize our love. It’s idiotic that the same can’t be said of our own homestate.

Can we pause for a second on the word “state”? What a great word. noun 1.the condition of a person or thing, as with respect to circumstances or attributes … 10.the body politic as organized for civil rule and government

Anyways. Where were we. Oh yes, a protest. Check out the tab at the top of the page that says “1 Mile March”. My relationship rights dissolve when I cross a river, and that pretty much sucks. If you’re in Iowa or Illinois this weekend, you should come help out. It’ll be a good time.

Also, the Quad Cities are hosting their Pride Fest on Sunday June 6! Lindsey promises there will be rainbow balloons!

Memorial Day

Welcome to June, everybody. I hope you had a lovely Memorial Day. On Sunday, I hosted my older sister’s bridal shower and watched old home movies. On Monday, I laughed a lot with friends and ate four delicious kinds of pasta salad.

And speaking of our Armed Forces, if you missed it, here is a summary of the House vote that would allow for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. It’s important to remember that gay and lesbian soldiers already serve in all branches of our military; the repeal of this policy would, for the first time, allow them to serve openly. This article in Foreign Policy will give you a good idea of why that’s an important distinction (apologies for the over-dramatic crucifixion graphic).