Rules of Civility
and Decent Behaviour
42nd: Let thy ceremonies in courtesy
be proper to the dignity of his place with who thou converses, for it is absurd to act the
same with a clown and a prince.
2000: There's Noplace Like Home
2001: Flufty Wufty
Plus Side of Being a Snob
Ashes Are Blowing in the Wind
by Patricia Cornwell
I'm a proud
It's a hard job, having to be on the alert all day long.
No wonder I sleep so well at night.
("See Sheila Run")
("The Green Monster")
5 October 2004
I spent the morning with a group of heroes. I'm a rotten reporter. If I had
thought ahead, I would have brought a pen and paper to record the names of the people and
remind myself of their story, but all I had was a camera. So I hope that I'm
remembering all of these people and their stories correctly. (I've had a lot of help
from the caravan's web site.)
The event was a rally at the state capitol, to begin the Marriage Equality ride to
Washington D.C. I had volunteered to drive Ellen and Shelly to the capitol and
waited around for the rally itself. A number of speakers spoke, each representating
a different reason why we must recognize same sex marriages. These are
||Belinda and Wendy represent the many couples threatened with
separation by immigration. One is an American citizen, the other isn't. They spoke
of the fear that so many couples live in, fear that their partners will be deported, the
the fact that they themselves will be forced to leave the country in a year to prevent the
non-citizen's deportation. If they were permitted to marry, the non-citizen would be
able to get permanent residency as a spouse.
journal for the story of Jacqueline Frank)
|Staff Sergeant Jacqueline Frank served in the U.S. Army for
fifteen years. having attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. She is a lifetime member of the
Veterans of Foreign War having served in Iraq and Kuwait during Desert Storm. She has been
awarded numerous medals and awards including the Combat Medical Badge, Army Commendation
Medal, three Army Achievement Medals, and Liberation of Kuwait Medal to name a few. In
spite of her honorable and distinguished service to her country she is not able to
continue her military career without deception. This goes against the valor, honor and
dignity inherent in being a good soldier. Her sexual orientation never hindered her from
completing her duty as a soldier when the United States sent her to war. It shouldn't have
any impact on her service now but it does. Due to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't
Tell" policy she, like many others, have faced the personal choice of remaining
hidden or risking personal safety and sanctions by serving openly with pride. Like the
brave and steadfast soldier that she is she has chosen the values that made her service
courage and honor. Until this unfair and discriminatory policy is
rescinded she will no longer serve in the U.S. military. She will lose her military
benefits as a result.
||My friend Kathy emotionally spoke as a PFLAG parent. She
spoke of the inequity of the law which permits her daughter to marry her husband and raise
their child in this country, but her son is denied the permission to marry the man he
loves--and in addition, since the man he loves is from Portugal, the two at present are a
couple without a country. "To deny my son the right to build a life with the
person he loves isn't just unfair...it's cruel," she said.
||Dr. Davina Kotulski, author of "Why
You Should Give a Damn about Gay Marriage," spoke of the legal rights that are
denied her and her partner, Molly McKay because they are not permitted to marry.
1,138 federal rights and hundreds of state rights that tax-paying gay couples are not
||Dolores and her partner are dealing with the rights of the children
of gay couples. If the biological parent dies, the children can be taken away from
the non-biological parent.
||Eve and Jim Lubalin are PFLAG parents joining the bus tour.
Eve, choking back tears, told of celebrating their 40th anniversary, and the pain she
feels that her daughter is denied the right to make a life with the woman she loves.
||Jeanne and Jennifer represented the Asian gay community. They
talked about being excluded from their family because they are not recognized as a married
couple, though they have been together for 10 years.
||Ellen and Shelly spoke. Ellen talked about how unfair it
would be if she were to die before Shelly and her homophobic daughter (who has denied
these women access to their eleven grandchildren) could come and take possession
of her body, without regard for Shelly's feelings or the couple's wishes, even
though they have been together for over 30 years.
remembered when their daughter was 4 years old and had been in an accident. She was
rushed to the hospital and both women met the ambulance. They had to lie and say
that Ellen was Shelly's sister because the emergency room was only admitting family
||Rev. John Millspaugh, a straight minister, has joined the caravan
because his church, Unitarian Universalist, is against homophobia and in favor of equal
rights for all. He strongly supports same sex marriage.
||Rev. Helen Carroll led the group in a prayer for a successful--and
safe--journey across the country.
Rev. Carroll said that, "Love,
compassion and respect is the glue that cements our communities and relationships. The
individuals, couples and families I meet and work with face the same challenges in
creating healthy homes and lives, regardless of their sexual orientation. My experience
tells me that laws which limit or exclude rights, privileges and responsibilities are not
consistent with my read of our Constitution or my understanding of the inherent worth and
dignity of every individual."
||When Leslie's partner of twenty-one years, Rebecca
LePere, died from breast cancer in 2002, she faced an enormous tax bill when their home
was re-accessed. Their union was deemed invalid in the eyes of Alameda County. She says
she will never forget having to ask friends for money so that she wouldn't lose her home.
"I remember how cruel that seemed at a time of such deep bereavement."
||John and Stuart have been together for 17 years and said the
happiest day of their life was February 12, 2004, when they were legally married in San
Francisco. "The experience of getting married in San Francisco
showed us what it's like for our government to treat us as fully equal human beings."
They were crushed when the government invalidated their marriage.
Other members of the group were introduced. Anthony and Nadine
were each there without their partners because they are in binational same sex
relationships and cannot marry or sponsor the ones they love to grant them residency.
Another couple are dealing with health issues and inheritance issues (a surviving
partner cannot legally inherit the estate of his partner if the partner dies suddenly and
they have not made a will. Even at that, the will can be contested by "blood
Robin and Jan have been together 15 yrs, own their home together, work together, and
comingle their finances, yet they are seen as legal strangers by the federal governent.
Kare and Joy have been together five years and are outraged that they must carry a
thick set of legal documents when they travel and outraged that they fear for their safety
because of whom they love.
The stories went on and on...
When the speeches were over, the group gathered their signs and marched around one side
of the Capitol and back to the bus.
They boarded the bus and headed off for their next stop, Reno. As they travel
across the country, they don't know what they will encounter. But the message
they bring is emotional, personal, and puts a face on the importance of granting the right
of marriage to gay couples.
The definition of hero is "A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of
purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life." I think
these people definitely qualify and I hope that history will record their voyage as an act
of great heroism.
Websites of the Day
So how many of you knew about this?
And those considerate Brits have prepared a comprehensive guide to emergency
actions in case of terrorist attack.