add your pebbles to the avalanche has been following the gay marriage debate, and links (scroll down) to further coverage and activism by the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD.
HRC offers excellent background on the issue, the arguments and the politics, including a clickable map of relevant US State laws and statistics. Right now, you can join me (and, at time of writing, 326683 others) in signing the Million for Marriage petition (it will sign you up for an email newsletter, which is annoying but you can unsub). If the media are your thing, GLAAD is keeping an eye on them and offers a variety of ways to take action.
Update: Natalie Davis would like you to sign the Million for Marriage petition, too. Really, go do it.
Portland Communique continues to cover the local angle, and quotes this OPB story in which “County Counsel Agnes Sowle says any day now a same sex couple could ask for a marriage license in Portland, just like in San Francisco”. So it’s “cousel”, not “council”! I’m a tool. b!X also points to gay marriage polls by KPTV, KATU and Basic Rights Oregon (whose homepage is still useless); go vote, because media polls can have a real effect on public perceptions. There was a KGW poll but it’s disappeared; I did find this story on the flowers.
In the good news department, Mayor Jason West of New Paltz, NY will marry a small number of same sex couples today. Said Mayor West:

The people who would forbid gays from marrying in this country are those who would have made Rosa Parks sit in the back of the bus.

On a lighter note, George Wallace is a dab hand with a double dactyl; here’s the first of a series of six entitled Epithalamion:

Hymen, Hymenaeus!
Gay men and lesbians
Flock to the City Hall,
Follow their bliss,
Purchase their licenses,
Swear to their permanence,
Pose for the camera crews
Sharing a kiss.

Update — poll results:
KPTV: “Do you think gay marriage should be unconstitutional?”

yes 54%
no 42%
not sure 4%
n = not specified

KATU: “Do you agree with President Bush’s stance on gay marriage?”

yes 63%
no 37%
n = 2608

Basic Rights Oregon: “Do you support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage rights?”

yes 4%
no 86%
not sure 9%
n = 337

KGW (using “previous results” link): ” Do you support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage?”

yes 50%
no 49%
not sure 2%
n = 5626

KGW earlier poll: “Should gay marriage be legal?”

yes 52%
no 47%
not sure 1%
n = 9771

Update: Atrios wants you to torture Lou via his CNN poll: “What offends you most?”

Howard Stern 5%
Corporate pornography 11%
Government standards of decency 26%
Gay marriage 12%
Opposition to gay marriage 45%
n = 12134

people change. not often; not often enough; but they do change.

Hazel Bryan and Elizabeth Eckford in 1957Hazel Bryan Massery and Elizabeth Eckford in 1997On the left, fifteen-year-old Hazel Bryan screams unthinking hatred at Elizabeth Eckford during the racial integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Five years later, Bryan sought out Eckford to apologize, and in 1997 they were photographed together again (right) and have since become friends. Commenter Naomi brought this story up in the comments on this post by John Scalzi; for which my thanks. Pictures from this CNN story, photo credit Will Counts.
(This has a particular resonance for me, as I too have had to resect prejudices that were grafted onto me while I wasn’t paying attention. Anaesthetic is contraindicated for that operation, and there is something of the zeal of the convert in my interest in social justice; and that’s all I have to say about that.)

flower power

If you’ve been reading Rafe Colburn’s blog for long, you surely have the same impression that I do, of a reasonable, thoughtful and well intentioned individual. So when Rafe says this:

You know, my views on the gay marriage issue have really polarized over the past few weeks. I’ve never been opposed to gay marriage, but I also didn’t feel particularly zealous about opening the option of marriage to gay people either. I have thought it’s a right they should have for a long time, but I was OK with civil unions as an alternative, because I was focused on the legal rights that married couples have. Then a few things happened. My views started changing when the Massachusetts Supreme Court said that legislation providing separate but equal civil unions would not suffice to meet their requirements, because separate but equal usually isn’t. I found that argument persuasive.
What really changed my attitude, though, was the marriage licenses being granted in San Francisco. Most people have seen the pictures of jubilant couples who are getting married after decades of waiting in vain. After seeing those couples, I’m ready to grant the right to marry nationwide, right now. Getting married was the best decision I ever made, period. Seeing other people joyfully getting married reminds me of how much joy marriage has brought to my life. I no longer have the energy to see the issue in a politically safe manner — we need to grant this right to same sex couples in every state immediately.

it makes me think: firstly, that the flowers were a good idea; and secondly, that an avalanche of gay marriages is an even better idea. Spousal unit and I are perfectly happy if the flowers we sent did nothing but brighten a random couple’s wedding day, but I can’t help but think that the flower sending “campaign” contributed to the visibility and feel-good-factor of the San Fran weddings. Rafe’s comment makes me believe more than ever that those weddings are important, and that A MILLION GAY MARRIAGES IN THE NEXT MONTH (ahem, sorry) could swing public opinion so far, and create so nearly accompli a fait that begrudging bastards like Bush will not be able to enshrine their grubby prejudices in law (or worse, the constitution). Happy wedding pictures everywhere, and then married gay couples are your neighbours, doctors, teachers, colleagues — and the world doesn’t end, no one riots, and nobody’s hetero marriage is altered one whit. Sounds like a step in the right direction to me.
So I thought I’d have a dig around in the Oregon constitution and law. In neither 2003 nor 2002 were the relevant statutes altered in any way that concerns my question, and the 2001 version reads:

106.010 Marriage as civil contract; age of parties. Marriage is a civil contract entered into in person by males at least 17 years of age and females at least 17 years of age, who are otherwise capable, and solemnized in accordance with ORS 106.150.

Spousal unit pointed out that the wording does not rule out same sex marriage by defining it as a contract between one male and one female. Furthermore, the restrictive interpretation of that statute would seem to me to contravene the State constitution; to wit, Article 1 section 20:

Section 20. Equality of privileges and immunities of citizens. No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.

updates on the avalanche

Boo, hiss! Scratch Sandoval County thanks to New Mexico’s backwards asshole Attorney General:

The Sandoval County clerk’s office granted licenses to 26 same-sex couples before New Mexico attorney general Patricia Madrid issued a late afternoon opinion saying the licenses were “invalid under state law.”
The clerk’s office stopped issuing licenses and told newly wed couples their licenses were invalid.

Full story here, thanks to PDP at Alas, a blog for the link.
That’s not how Atrios reads the New Mexico law, by the way. Atrios also provides a reference for that New York opinion I mentioned: Lawrence C Moss, a Manhattan lawyer and chairman of the Reform Caucus of the New York State Democratic Committee in the NY Daily News.
In local news: I didn’t know that Kip’s Short Pier is in Portland OR; he sent mail to mayor Vera Katz and got a spineless cop-out (that’s my opinion there, Kip is more gracious) in reply.
Digital prozac: the original LJ thread is full of responses from people who sent flowers, people who received flowers, and more. For the record, the name of the guy whose idea started it all is Greg Scanlan; let history remember him with favour. Speaking of names and history books, someone in the thread commented that Gavin Newsom is getting hate mail, so you might want to send him a note of thanks (I just did).
Speaking further of history books, I don’t think it diminishes Mayor Newsom’s achievement to point out that he is standing on the shoulders not of giants but of hundreds of unsung heroes in the long struggle for glbt rights. Pericat provided a link a while ago on the backstory of Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, which I meant to feature at the time but forgot. I lack the background to do it, but now would be a good time for someone to write a short summary, aimed at the general public, of the history of “the other civil rights movement”.
P.S. the new category is about folk, not just glbt issues!


Amid speculation that Chicago might follow San Francisco’s lead, Sandoval County in New Mexico steps up. I read a comment somewhere to the effect that New York admits no legal impediments to the marriage of true minds either.
Obtaining a Marriage License in Multnomah County doesn’t appear to be regulated according to sex. I can’t seem to find a County Clerk, but the director of the Department of Business & Community Services, which issues marriage licences, is Cecilia Johnson (503-988-5880; and the Marriage License Section phone number is 503-988-3027. Hmm.
Update: I called the MLS number and got Ms Johnson’s answering machine. Stay tuned for further developments.
Update the second: spousal unit writes to tell me that b!X is covering it. Four ballot initiatives have been filed that seek to prevent Oregon from recognising same-sex marriages performed in other states, all by the same three contemptible scumbags. B!X has the details.

with love from Portland, OR

I wish I’d thought of this:

Today a coworker of mine had a thought to send flowers to a random couple waiting in line at SF city hall.
He called a florist and they agreed to do it. He told them to deliver to any couple — it didn’t matter who — standing in line to get married, with his blessing. The card will read simply “With love, from Minneapolis, Minnesota.”

Instead, I read about it on Boing Boing, opened up my email client to write to the spousal unit and say “let’s do this!”, only to find that she’d already done it. Aw. *snif* I’m all teary again.
In case anyone else is thinking of doing this, it might be a good idea to spread the love among the local florists, too:
Flowers By The Bay (a Rainbow Pride business; start here, but they might be overwhelmed pretty soon)
Delicate Daisy House of Flowers
Amy Kee Floral Design
Directories of local florists: Yellow Pages, Yahoo! , Online Flowers Network,, Florist Locators. Go on, you know you wanna.
Update: if your funds are limited, perhaps you’d like to have more lasting impact. Powazek is selling a poster (“Justly Married”, heh) and donating the funds to Don’t Amend, who sell neat stuff themselves (and accept donations, of course). The ACLU is also fighting the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Update the second (thanks again to Boing Boing): if you want to chip in but can’t afford a bouquet on your own, Darren is collecting PayPal donations for bulk buys. At the time of writing he’s up to nearly $1000.