Existing gay marriages now on a great divide
Posted on March 8, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
With the California Supreme Court likely to uphold Proposition 8 but still recognize those already married, the couples are feeling both elated and isolated.
Jeanne Rizzo, 62, who married her partner of 20 years in September, was “somewhat heartened” Friday that her marriage is poised to survive Proposition 8 — but she was not celebrating.
“We don’t want to be on a marriage island,” said the Marin County resident, who runs a health advocacy group.
The California Supreme Court’s signal Thursday that it would uphold Proposition 8 but still recognize 18,000 existing same-sex marriages raised questions and concerns about the prospect of being a minority within a minority — part of an exclusive club whose doors have been closed to others.
While some gay married couples fretted Friday about being isolated culturally and legally, others expressed relief and joy that their marriages would remain valid. Some said they would feel pressure to be a symbol for same-sex marriage and to always present a positive image.
“If I’m on an island, at least I’m on an island with someone I love,” said Howard Bragman, a Hollywood publicist who married his partner before the November election in which voters passed the gay-marriage ban.
Jon Davidson, legal director for the gay-rights advocacy group Lambda Legal, called the couples “pioneers” put into “an unprecedented situation.”
“It will be challenging for those 18,000 couples,” Davidson said. “They are likely to be frequently asked to prove that they are married. . . . They will be going forward where no couple has gone before.”
At the same time, the gay married couples may help educate Americans about same-sex marriage, Davidson said.
“They will be kind of living examples of the fact that no one else is harmed by the existence of married same-sex couples,” he said.
Los Angeles Times
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