No one can "invalidate us." They can take
away our rights, they can try and make us second class citizens, but no one can truly
invalidate us. We know that our loves, our lives, our stories, our bodies are not just
valid, but also good, and beautiful, and sacred.
~The Rev. Dr. G. Penny Nixon
Strange Life of Ivan Osokin
TONIGHT on TV
Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics
RIBBONS AND TEARS
14 August, 2004
It was just so incredibly sad. Even one of the reporters had to excuse herself to leave the area until she could compose herself.
There was a rally for same sex marriage at the county recorder's office at noon today.
The group was met by members of the Sheriff's department and told they could not enter the office and that they would have to hold their rally outside.
Yolo County Clerk Recorder, Freddie Oakley got wind of the Sheriff's ban and invited the group to enter anyway.
It wasn't a large group, but it was a sincere group. People pinned on white ribbons and filled out cards to send to Governor Schwarzenegger to encourage state acceptance of same sex marriage. People filled out "engagement licenses," which promised that they would engage in the act of continuing the fight for equality for all people.
Then, two by two, the couples who had been married in San Francisco six months ago took their licenses to the desk and Oakley invalidated them.
Each time she had to invalidate the license, Oakley did it with regret. She is a caring human being who favors equality for all and it hurts her that she isn't able to let these couples marry. It seemed to be as painful for her as it was for the couples.
Ellen and Shelly had been interviewed on television yesterday, when they first learned of the Supreme Court decision. Ellen surprised herself by bursting into tears. Shelly told me later that she thought she would be the one to cry. Today she did.
I had a hard time holding the camera, because I was crying myself. The whole thing was very emotional. A newspaper reporter interviewing Ellen and Shelly later explained how reporters are supposed to remain impartial but how difficult it was not to care about people who are hurting. Her eyes glistened with tears as she spoke.
Ellen and Shelly were interviewed by all the media, and Ellen displayed their now invalidated license.
When the marriage licenses had been invalidated, the couples consoled each other.
The couple above is about to celebrate their 20th anniversary; Ellen and Shelly have passed 31 years. Yet they cannot marry.
Outside the office, a woman was explaining about how domestic partnership rights are not equal to marriage rights. There are 1,138 federal benefits and hundreds of state benefits that are denied same sex couples, no matter how long they have been together. She explained that, for example, medical benefits for domestic partners are taxed, where medical benefits for married couples are not (the medical costs are deducted from your paycheck before taxes are counted; for domestic partners, they are deduced AFTER taxes are counted, meaning a tax on the money that is paid out for medical benefits).
The hall was filled with reporters and photographers. Sheriff's officers stood off to the side...I guess in case we decided to get violent or something.
But there was no violence. Just very deep sadness, and a lot of tears.