Wearing red today

Standing for equality

There will be precious few times in this blog when The Legal Genealogist will take on a non-genealogical issue.

But today is one of those times.

I stand, firmly and unhesitatingly, for marriage equality.

This is not some abstract notion to me.

A little more than seven years ago, I stood in a church in a little town in Virginia to celebrate the joining of two lovely young people.

In all the years that I have been alive and of all the weddings I’ve attended in those years, none other has come close to equalling the sheer joy of that wedding. Two people hopelessly in love with each other, ready to stand by each other, to pledge to each other, to support each other in good times and in bad.

No-one, and I mean no-one, left that wedding without being uplifted by the joy of that couple.

And yet the law did not then and does not now recognize the legality of the wedding we all were there to celebrate.

The wedding of my beloved niece and the love of her life, her partner, her gentle lady.

More than half of all American marriages end well before the seven-year mark. Theirs is going strong. These two have faced some enormous stresses, and shared some enormous joys. And I’d bet they’ll be hopelessly in love with each other, standing by each other, pledging to each other and supporting each other long after most of us reading this post are long gone.

So to me, marriage equality is an issue that has faces. And it has names. Of friends, of colleagues, and of those I love with all my heart: my niece and her partner, whose faces and names I am not at liberty to use because they are what they are, two women who love each other in a country where the law allows them to be discriminated against for that fact alone.

I cannot and do not accept such discrimination. I cannot and do not understand it. That they find joy in a partner of the same sex is so much less important than that they find joy in a partner.

So as the Supreme Court hears arguments today and tomorrow on the question of overt discrimination against non-traditional couples, I stand with my niece and her partner and all those like them.

Firmly, unhesitatingly, for marriage equality.

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48 Responses to Wearing red today

  1. Joan Peake says:

    I agree. The right to love and to be loved, the right to be recognized equally in the eyes of the law for the love and commitment shared, should be be enjoyed by all. It is time.

  2. Dan Babish says:

    Fantastic sentiments! Just another reason why I love your blog.

  3. Jill says:


    I can’t wait until people see the controversy as archaic.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      I think our children already do, Jill. Most of them truly don’t understand why this is even an issue.

  4. Margaret R. Fortier says:

    As a proud resident of Massachusetts, I hope all Americans will have the right to marry. I can tell you I do not see any evidence that allowing same sex couples to marry has affected heterosexual marriage here in the Commonwealth. People still get married, civilly and in religious ceremonies. All that blather about how it will affect existing “traditional’ marriages is just that, blather. The desire to commit yourself to another is part of our human nature. Why would we not support that for everyone?

    PS Loved both your talks at APG last week.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      I can’t see how someone else’s decision to love affects mine in any way at all, Margaret. Thanks for your perspective. And thanks for the kind words about the APG presentations!

  5. Nan Harvey says:

    Yes, it is absolutely time. Thanks for having the courage to take a public stand.

  6. Hopefully someday people will look back at these discriminatory laws and say “they couldn’t do what?’ Why?

  7. “That they find joy in a partner of the same sex is so much less important than that they find joy in a partner.”

    That pretty much sums it up. Well said, Judy. Bravo!

  8. My father and his husband have been together for 35 years. They came to California to be married during the brief time when it was legal here. They married again in New York when it became legal in their home state. I hope that history will show that we evolved past this bigotry. Love is love.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Let’s hope your father and his partner can enjoy their rights everywhere in the US, Deborah — and not just where folks have stood up against discrimination.

  9. Sue McCormick says:

    I also agree whole-heartedly. I hope that this country will soon come to enjoy the diversity of its peoples and to see that the strengh of their diversity strengthens us. We have such a couple in our family also. I support and admire them.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Thanks for your comments, Sue. We all know — and love — people who are different from us, so this should be nothing new. We need to accept and move on.

  10. Jeff says:

    That’s great that your niece and her friend are still in love and together. Also that they found happiness together. BUT! Pardon me for interrupting this lovefest. Marriage is a union of a man and a woman. Let’s see, people like me who support traditional marriage have been called discriminatory, bigots and archaic. What else? Either way the court decides will further divide the country much like it did 40 years ago in Roe v. Wade.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      You’re entitled to your opinion, Jeff, and I’ll defend your right to air it. But yes, telling some people you refuse to treat them equally under the law is discriminatory, bigoted and archaic. To put it mildly. And, by the way, my niece’s partner is not to be dismissed as merely her “friend” — she is her helpmate, her life partner, her spouse in every way that matters — or should matter — under the law.

      • Jeff says:

        As you are entitled to your opinion, Judy. But “we” traditionalists are NOT being discriminatory, bigoted and archaic. I wasn’t trying to dismiss your niece’s partner. Those are YOUR words, not mine. Ok, what happens when the law changes again?

        • Judy G. Russell says:

          I’m glad you didn’t mean it when you called my niece’s partner a “friend” — your word, not mine. And just as we haven’t rolled back the clock to re-enslave African Americans, I see no reason to fear a change in the law in the future that would deprive human beings of their rights to be treated like all other human beings.

          • Jeff says:

            it was the first term that came to mind. But “dismissed” was YOUR word, not mine. Here’s the old canard, slavery. Slavery and this issue have nothing in common. That is just a silly suggestion that “we” might roll the clock back and re-enslave blacks.

            Almost everyone here wants to turn the definition of marriage which is almost as old as civilization itself. You don’t like the laws that California enacts, great! Don’t move there. If you live there and don’t like the law, get organized and change it.

            I just hope other supporters of traditional marriage don’t get called bigots, archaic and other terms. I thought liberals were supposed to be the tolerant ones. What I have seen here is a lot of intolerance.

          • Judy G. Russell says:

            There can be no tolerance for discrimination. Equal rights are for everyone, not just for people who agree with you.

    • Ana says:

      And how divided was the country when the government banned polygamy? Or allowed whites and blacks to marry? It may be seen as “traditional” to have a marriage as one man and one woman, but that is only one of a myriad of marital statuses throughout history. Polygamy still exists. Children get married (trading man and woman for boy and girl). Cohabitation is on the rise (no marriage at all). And I’ve always looked back on Ben Franklin’s words, and I’ll paraphrase here, but if it “neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg” then it’s nothing to bother about. It’s not like anyone is saying YOU have to marry the same sex, but you are telling THEM they have to marry the opposite sex. While I’ll support your right to believe it, I can’t support your belief making laws. It is a matter of equal opportunity, and they deserve that equality.

      • Judy G. Russell says:

        Excellent points, Ana.

      • Jeff says:

        As I recall, it wasn’t. It was a distinct minority, the Mormons, that were practicing polygamy. Btw, the polygamy issue was settled by the Congress (i.e., the people). It wasn’t settled by 5 people in black robes? How divided has the country been since Roe v. Wade? It has divided families and almost everything else since the court inferred in what should have been a state issue. But the tradition of a marriage being a man and a woman is the majority practice in the world. No, I am telling them they can have civil unions or whatever they want to call it except for marriage. I am NOT telling them they have to marry the opposite sex. Thank you for allowing my beliefs. But I won’t support your belief in making laws. I trust the people more than most here.

        • Judy G. Russell says:

          You say “I won’t support your belief in making laws,” yet you are imposing YOUR belief through the law on everyone else.

        • Ana says:

          Roe v. Wade isn’t a valid comparison. Two different issues with two different reasons for a pro/con. Polygamy still exists and while Mormons may have been the largest and best known practitioners in America, they weren’t the only ones. As for not calling a civil union a marriage, there are reasons politically for wanting that: taxes. There are reasons emotionally for wanting that: tradition. And there are reasons why bother are immaterial: separate but equal isn’t equal.

          As for my beliefs, it is unwise to assume them based on my insistence on legal equality. On this case you would be correct, but being against oppression is never the same as being for a particular view.

    • Keith Bouldin says:

      The real comparison here is to Loving v Virginia where the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws on interracial marriage.

      Jeff you are discriminatory. Why do you say you are not? You want the Federal Government to continue to treat me Differently. That is discrimination. This is not your country. This is Our country. All of us. My country should treat me the same as anyone else. There are about one thousand laws that come into play when two people get married. They include rights, responsibilities, and benefits. You say that we can have “civil unions”. They are not recognized by other states nor by the federal government, so they are of limited value and not the same marriage.

      We pay more in taxes than a similarly situated couple that is legally married. We get less benefits than that same couple. No Social Security benefits without legal marriage. Higher taxes on health benefits from work provided heath insurance without legal marriage. Then you go on to imply that we’re the ones dividing the country when we stand up and demand that our country treat us equally.

      Jeff you are discriminatory. Wether you’re a bigot or not remains to be seen, but you want my government to treat me differently. That is Discrimination. It is not intolerance to say so. Being tolerant does not mean keeping silent. It means accepting that others can be different. I don’t have to like that difference, but being tolerant means I let them be different.

      And please stop with traditional marriage “… is almost as old as civilization itself.” Even the Old Testament states that many of the Patriarchs had multiple wives. Traditional marriage in this country at one time meant that people of different races could not be legally married. That changed. Now we are addressing same gender couples. Get over it.

      Thank you Judy and all the rest of you who support marriage equality.

  11. Jackie says:

    You’re absolutely correct that it shouldn’t take courage. It should be a given. I stand with you until it is.

  12. Tom Mathews says:

    I couldn’t agree more. The ‘right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ has to be more than just pretty words.

  13. Geoff a well known Skeptic says:

    It is still discrimination. If you want to expand the definition of marriage, it must include all people. Given the current penchant for destroying the future by taxing the dead a Line Marriage is a reasonable option. Then there are the polygamous and variations on that option, all recognized by many countries around the world, not ours.
    Who is on the Contract Marriage side of the argument.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      My concern is just that: discrimination. As long as the law grants certain people some benefits and privileges because they commit to each other in a stable union, it can’t deny those benefits and privileges to others who do the same thing.

  14. Thanks Judy For taking a strong and much deserved stand on this.

  15. MicheleM says:

    Good for you, Judy! Your comments reflected my sentiments exactly!

  16. Pingback: Wearing Red Made Me See Red

  17. Linda McCauley says:

    Well said, Judy. Hopefully, after the marriage issue is fixed, immigration laws will be next so that my niece, her Australian partner and the world’s cutest, happiest baby boy (also known as their son) can have the option to live here.

  18. Carla in Kansas says:

    I am in complete and total agreement with you, Judy. I pray for the day that all people will be free to marry the one person with whom they wish to spend their lives and build a family. I wish that I could be articulate enough to discuss this very important issue in my own words, but instead, I’d like to quote from the late William Sloane Coffin, chaplain of Yale University and Williams College, and tireless civil rights worker: “The argument that gays threaten to destroy heterosexual marriage is an assertion, not an argument. If anyone destroys marriage, it’s married people, not gays.”

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      I agree, Carla, and can’t begin to understand the argument that allowing some people to enjoy the benefits of marriage will somehow detract from the enjoyment of others.

  19. Maggie says:

    I wore red March 26th in support of LOVE. We certainly can use all there is available. ‘WE’ have a dream…Not one other person goes through life without another beside them. Yours (everyone) is the earth and everything in it.

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