June is the month with the most International Gay Pride Celebrations. It’s also the month when traditionally more heterosexual couples decide to marry.
Ironic, isn’t it?
As we go to press with this issue, President George W. Bush had also chosen June to be the month when he tried to resurrect the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution. The constitutional amendment is pandering to Bush’s conservative base and he knew (or at least his advisors knew) that it wouldn’t pass in the Senate, yet it’s the biggest wedge issue the Republicans have. Elections are coming up and they want to be ready to divide the country over gay marriage as they did in 2004. Make way for “The Panderer in Chief”
For gay people and straight allies, the issue is not going away.
The New York Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on May 31, 2006, in four lawsuits seeking marriage for same-sex couples. One filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of same-sex couples challenges the state’s denial of the protection of marriage. The other three cases include one filed by Lambda Legal against New York City and two other cases in Ithaca and Albany, NY. The court’s decision will apply to all gay and lesbian New Yorkers.
The ACLU described its reasoning for the case in a recent press release:
“New York marriage law denies same-sex couples in committed relationships the protections that straight couples are provided by marriage. This leaves same-sex couples unable to protect their families during difficult times. Same-sex partners are denied access to hospital rooms, kept out of conversations about emergency medical treatment, and denied protections for their families under health plans, inheritance laws, and many other laws. The laws also deny the children of same-sex couples the security and protections that go with having married parents.
“The lawsuit charges that this discrimination violates the New York Constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment.” “Lesbian and gay couples seek out and establish long-term commitments just as straight couples do,” said Arthur Eisenberg, Legal Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “There is simply no good reason for the state to refuse to provide equal benefits and equal status under the law to all couples who seek the legal protections of civil marriage.”
While the community wages a political fight, same-gender couples continue to celebrate their commitment to each other through holy unions performed by many churches. Kansas City’s Spirit of Hope Metropolitan Community Church, among many others, has performed these unions for many years.
The OutGames in Montreal July 26-August 5 recently sent out an announcement looking for same-gender couples who plan to marry in Montreal during the games, because they want to interview the couples and tell their stories.
There have already been Gay Wedding Expos held in several cities in the last few years for the growing market. This past April, a new national magazine was launched called “Rainbow Wedding Network.” There are over 5,300 gay-wedding-supportive businesses in the U.S. and Canada in their directory. In their promotions they also say “If legalized today, Forbes Magazine estimates GLBT Weddings would be a $16.8 billion dollar industry.”
That dollar figure surely take into account the added millions that will probably be made by divorce lawyers when some gay marriages end up in divorce court, just like heterosexual marriages.
Who knows, with our continued efforts to fight this discrimination in the courts and the chance someday of legalized gay marriage, perhaps June will be a month not only for Gay Pride celebrations but also for all brides and brides and grooms and grooms.

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