Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gay Marriage in New England

This summer, I will travel home to Vermont for another wedding on the shores of Lake Bomoseen, the largest lake entirely within the state's borders. Two of my cousins were married on this lake with beautiful outdoor summertime ceremonies. Both weddings inspired me as gatherings of friends and families celebrated love and commitment. This July, I will see my childhood friend get married on this lake... a lake where I spent so many summer days in the water, so many nights staring at the stars, and a long summer working as a park ranger at the state park.

When the Vermont State Legislature overrode Gov. Jim Douglas' veto of same-sex marriage law a few weeks ago, I thought of Lake Bomoseen. Always a proud Vermonter, I am elated to know that I could someday marry my love on the shores of Lake Bomoseen... regardless of that person's gender.

Today, New Hampshire became the fourth New England state to legalize same-sex marriage. I love my life in California, but the couples and families I know in New England -- families like mine -- now have rights that we in California lack. Sadly, New Hampshire killed a gender non-discrimination bill, meaning that gays can marry but gender non-conforming folks remain unprotected. I would rather have gender protections than marriage. Let's hope that once we win full marriage equality, those activists mobilized by gay marriage shift their energy and resources to address the many other inequalities impacting our communities.

UPDATE 5/11/09: Add Maine to the list! Out of the four states I've lived in (Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, and California), all but one have marriage equality. Come on, California, let's overturn Prop 8!

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