Cincinnati may be well-known for its unique-style chili, but it is now well-known as the spot for the most fun-filled entertaining celebration of Pride in the tri-state area.
The Cincinnati Pride Committee will host the Queen City�s celebration of diversity on Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13.
The weekend celebration kicks off on Saturday, June 12 at 4 p.m. at Hoffner Park at Hamilton Ave. and Blue Rock Rd. in Northside. Cincinnati Pride is honored to have the Cincinnati Men�s Chorus continue the wonderful tradition of opening the weekend�s festivities.
Here is the schedule for the two days of entertainment. All times are approximate.
Saturday, June 12
4 pm: Cincinnati Men�s Chorus
Rich in tradition, the chorus, through their music, strive for excellence, support and nurture their members, entertain audiences, and work for justice, inclusion and harmony between the gay community and the community at large.
4:30 pm: Emily Strand
Strand and her band were the winners of the 97Xposure 2003, �Tri-State�s Best Unsigned Band.� She will be performing solo at her first Cincinnati Pride appearance.
5:30 pm: Frozen Feet
Kristi Dykes and Chelley Seibert are Dayton�s own Frozen Feet. Cincinnati Pride welcomes Frozen Feet to the stage in their first Pride appearance. They promises to entertain with their eclectic blend of fresh original songs mixed with off beat covers.
6:30 pm: Lucky and the Session
Lucky and the Session is a reggae band comprised of several former members of the popular band Zionites. The Session continues the tradition of roots reggae music with a contemporary twist. The strengths of the band include the hard driving rhythms and piercing vocal harmonies, songwriting and a hypnotizing stage show.
7:30 pm: Katie Reider
Although a local favorite, Columbus lesbian singer-songwriter Reider has done a number of national spots on ABC television, Dawson�s Creek on WB, as well as Lifetime Television Network�s Strong Medicine.
Hang around after her performance for some club music and dancing to wind up the evening at the park.
Sunday, June 13
Noon: Rally, Burnet Woods
The second day begins at noon with a rally at Burnet Woods on Clifton Ave. between Martin Luther King and Ludlow Aves., just north of the University of Cincinnati.
Doreen Cudnik, Emcee
Cudnik is a transplanted Clevelander who made her way to Cincinnati in 1999 to take a job as executive director of Stonewall Cincinnati. Doreen is the former managing editor of the Gay People�s Chronicle, the first statewide LGBT weekly newspaper in Ohio. She has received numerous accolades for her work as a writer and editor, including an �Outstanding Print Journalism� Award from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Currently, Cudnik is a community organizer, working with the people involved in Cincinnati�s historic �Collaborative Agreement� to implement a neighborhood-based initiative to improve police-community relations.
Cudnik and her partner, Crystal Alexander, live in Northside with their two spoiled cats, Miss Opal and Kiwi. They look forward to many more years together, and to the day when Article 12 is repealed and fairness and equal justice under the law is realized for all of Cincinnati�s residents.
Michael X. Chanak, Emcee
Chanak came to Cincinnati in 1978 and now makes his home in the beautiful Hazelhurst community in Mt. Healthy with his eight-year-old Pomeranian, Lotessa. He retired from Procter &Gamble in 2003, where his activism was credited by many for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the company�s equal employment opportunity statement in 1992.
He�s a retired media queen, having hosted Alternating Currents, served both as board member and chair of WAIF-FM, is a former news reporter for cable TV shows Gay Cable Network and Out Front TV. He has volunteered with Metropolitan Community Church, All Saints Chapel, the AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, Stonewall, Lavender Lights and many others. Chanak has been being part of the Cincinnati Pride Committees from 1986 to 1993.
1 pm: Parade
Following the rally, the parade steps off at 1 p.m. The route begins at Burnet Woods, goes north on Ludlow Ave. and across the viaduct into Northside, continues north on Hamilton Ave., turns west on Blue Rock Rd. and ends on Cherry St. at Chase Elementary School, two blocks west of Hoffner Park.
Kathy Laufman will be the grand marshal for 2004 Cincinnati Pride Parade. As co-chair of the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Laufman has worked tirelessly in efforts to unite the GLBT and straight community.
�I feel proud and excited and accept this honor on behalf of GLSEN and all straight allies,� she said. �The Pride committee recognizes the powerful partnership of LGBT and straight people. We can accomplish a great deal working together for safe schools, welcoming communities and a world free from hate and violence.�
��Like many straight allies, I consider myself comparatively new to this work and have tremendous respect for all those who have spent a lifetime fighting for equality,� Laufman adds.
2:30 pm: Festival second day
As the parade ends, the second day of the Pride music festival begins in Hoffner Park.
2:30 pm: Freekbass
Freekbass has collaborated with funk legend Bootsy Collins for several projects, the most recent being Freekbass� The Air is Fresher Underground, released last October.
3:30 pm: Vicki D�Salle
Cincinnati Pride is pleased to present a special solo appearance by Miss Vicki D�Salle. Cincinnati Pride 2004 marks the fifth year that Miss Vicki will grace the stage by playing the piano and singing double-entendre blues, boogie and ballads.
4:30 pm: Antara
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Antara began playing guitar at age 10 and by 18 she was already becoming a recognized cover artist in the coffeehouses and street festivals of Cincinnati. In 1994, Antara performed at the 25th Anniversary Stonewall Concert in New York City. Antara now makes her home on the East Coast, but wouldn�t miss Cincinnati�s Pride Parade and Festival.
5:30 pm: Jake Speed and the Freddies
Their traditional and original folk, bluegrass, country blues and ragtime music is a hit in the community.
Suzanne Mehl is a board member of Cincinnati Pride who handles media relations.
Cleveland--The Cleveland Pride parade celebrates its fifteenth anniversary on June 19, while the festival afterwards turns sweet 16. Both ask the question, �Are you?�
The parade begins lining up at 11:30 am at the corner of Euclid Ave. and East 18th Street by the Cleveland State University law school, with the step-off scheduled for 1 pm. It will wend its way to Voinovich Park, at the end of the� East 9th Street Pier in Lake Erie, and disperse into a rally featuring speeches including the celebrity grand marshal, Dick Feagler, the presentation of �Parade Bragging Rights,� trophies and other speakers.
For the first time, there will be marching bands in the Cleveland Pride Parade. The Cleveland LGBT and Allies Marching Band and the Queen City Rainbow Marching Band will both participate in the parade, as will Flaggots OH!, the state�s only stand-alone LGBT flag corps.
This year�s parade has four grand marshals.
Dick Feagler was selected for his unflinching editorials in the Plain Dealer and on his television show, Feagler and Friends, supporting equal rights for LGBT people.
In February, Feagler announced his support of marriage equality for LGBT people while speaking out against the �defense of marriage� law that the state legislature eventually passed. Feagler, who has won 25 Emmy Awards and the Peabody Award for journalism, also includes LGBT people in the roundtable discussions on his show.
Phyllis Evans, the next grand marshal, is a heterosexual Cleveland Heights city council member who supported the domestic partner registry initiative last year at the risk of her own career. Faced with criticism and a campaign to defeat her, she was reelected with the highest vote of any councilperson up for reelection.
While campaigning during the election, Evans was asked why she supported the initiative. Her response was, �Because it�s the right thing to do.�
John Farina has been active in the Cleveland LGBT community for many years in numerous roles. During his term as president of the board of trustees of the Cleveland Lesbian-Gay Center, he led the initiative with executive director Linda Malicki to raise funds to move to the center to a new, much larger facility. He is also the public policy director of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland and works with AIDS Action and the Human Rights Campaign.
He made national headlines earlier this year with his very public resignation from the Republican Party following President Bush�s public support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Kathy Harvey is an activist in the LGBT community who has worked on transgender and other queer issues. She is a founder of Trans Family and one of the creators of the Sissy Show, a musical revue that explores the personal and social joys and sorrows of transgendered people. She is currently in her second term on the board of the Cleveland Lesbian-Gay Center and is on the LGBT Leadership Roundtable.
After the rally, the Cleveland Pride Festival begins in earnest, with booths from over 130 local organizations and retailers, a food court, beer garden, volleyball and more. Pets are encouraged to attend with their humans as well.
Continuing the success of previous events, there will be special areas for specific demographics: Youth Zone for LGBTQ youth under 18, a children�s pavilion and Senior Space for older members of the community.
The dance stage will be active from 3:30 to 8 pm, featuring the turntable skills of DJs Robbie Rob, Low Key and Jon Garrison.
The main stage, which will present continuous entertainment from 3 to 8 pm, will have performances by local ska band Rude Staff Checkers, who began playing Cleveland Pride as high school students. Just because they�re now in college, that doesn�t mean they won�t return to play!
Local singer-songwriter Anne E. DeChant, fresh from the success of her new album Pop the Star, will play her first Cleveland Pride Festival this year.
Also on the main stage will be New York heartthrob Ari Gold, queer trio Girlyman, lesbian R&B artist Nedra Johnson and headliners Kate Clinton and RuPaul.
Kate Clinton, of course, is perhaps the most famous queer stand-up comedian of all time, having brought her political and social wit to a generation of audiences.
RuPaul, who describes her height as �with heels and hair, through the roof,� emerged into stardom with the single �Supermodel,� and parlayed that success into a talk show, spokesmodel for MAC Cosmetics and roles in movies from A Very Brady Sequel to But I�m a Cheerleader!
That septet is not, however, the only entertainment available. A second stage, running from 3 to 7 pm, will feature even more talent.
The North Coast Men�s Chorus, arguably the most visible gay organization in northeast Ohio, will perform on the second stage, along with the Sissy Show, the revue of the highs and lows of transgendered life.
Sexy and talented singer-songwriter Ellis will also perform, bringing her hot music from the icy tundra of Minneapolis-St. Paul. She was twice voted Best Musician by Lavender Magazine, and here�s the perfect opportunity to find out why!
Rounding out the second stage performers is Tempting Venus, who opened for Sophie B. Hawkins at the Beachland Ballroom on May 19.
Of course, the parade and festival aren�t the only Pride events happening in Cleveland in June.
There�s the annual Pride Pool Tournament, which got under way May 16. The finals will happen on Thursday, June 10 at Muggs, 3194 West 25th Street.
The Laugh Out Proud comedy show returns to the Improv at the Powerhouse, 2000 Sycamore on the West Bank of the Flats, on Monday, June 7. Toronto comedian David McLean (www.funnygayguy.com) will headline, with local nationally-known comedians Dana Austin and Mike Dodge supplementing the laughs.
The weekend of Pride will also be one of dancing, as a kick-off and after-party will bookend the parade and festival.
On June 18, Twist Nightclub at 11633 Clifton Blvd hosts the kickoff, starting at 10 pm. The following night, also at 10 pm, Bounce Nightclub, 2814 Detroit Ave, hosts the after-party, with nationally known DJs to be announced.
On the political side, Evan Wolfson, the director of Freedom to Marry, will be in Cleveland for three events.
On Thursday, June 10, he will be at Cleveland State University at 6 pm for a town hall meeting on same-sex marriage. The event is open to all, and the location will be announced soon.
The following day, he will be the guest speaker at the City Club of Cleveland, 850 Euclid Ave, for their Friday Forum lunch presentation. Tickets are available through the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats at 216-6477437 or email@example.com.
Wolfson will wind up his visit with a �Get Out the Vote� training session sponsored by Cleveland Pride and HRC. The event will be at Bounce, 2814 Detroit Ave, from 5 to 8 pm, and will also discuss opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment. The session is open to everyone.
For more information on the various events and artists, log onto www.clevelandpride.org. There are also links to the brand-new Pride merchandise for 2004, so order quickly to ensure that it arrives in time for Cleveland Pride.
Dayton--Coming to save the day yet again, Dayton Pride�s �Hometown Heroes� returns for the Pride Expo and Dinner on June 19.
This year, Dayton Pride recognizes the men and women that inspire and strengthen Dayton�s GLBT community.
The second half of Dayton�s Pride celebration, following the parade and festival on June 5, will occur at the Schuster Performing Arts Center, at the corner of 2nd and Ludlow Sts.
The evening starts at 5 pm with the business and organization expo, followed by the 7 pm dinner in the Winter Garden and entertainment at 8 pm.
Businesses and organizations that would like to reserve a table at the Pride Dinner exposition can contact 937-2753059 or PrideDayton@aol.com.
Exhibitors may have items for sale.
The expo includes complimentary appetizers, music and a cash bar.
The dinner will feature Karen Williams, comic, actor, writer and lecturer.
Curve Magazine calls Karen Williams �a laugh riot!� The Sydney Morning Herald proclaims that she is �ferociously funny, with perfect pace, timing and structure.�
Known for her quick repartee, insightful commentary, and audience rapport, Williams is a comic master, a gifted actor, a multitalented writer, and an inspirational lecturer. Armed with her �healing with humor� philosophy, Karen is a modern-day alchemist, whose audiences appreciate her cathartic laughter, and whose peers consider her a comic�s comic.
At the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival Gala in Montreal, host Jon Stewart introduced �Professor Williams� since her credits also include teaching a senior seminar in stand-up comedy at Cleveland State University.
Comedy writer and former television host of the show In the Life, Williams� humor writings appear in numerous anthologies, including Joke Stew, Revolutionary Laughter, Out in All Directions and Out, Loud & Laughing.�
As founder of International Institute of Humor and Healing Arts, the HaHA Institute in Cleveland, she presents humor-related workshops, seminars, and keynotes for corporations, colleges, federal agencies, state departments of health, social service and non-profit organizations, and human rights organizations.
The evening�s entertainment will also include emcees Rob Austin and Matt Driggs with special guests, Dayton Gay Men�s Chorus, Youth Quest, friends and local Hometown Heroes.
To purchase tickets for the Pride Dinner, visit one of the Pride ticket outlets:
Q! Gift Shop, 1904 North Main St, Dayton, 937-2744400
Books & Company, 350 East Stroop Rd, Kettering, 937-2986540
464 on 5th, 464 East 5th St, Dayton 937-2283584
Stage Door, 44 North Jefferson St, Dayton 937-2237418
Ticket outlets may add a surcharge for use of credit cards. Some outlets will not accept personal checks for Pride Dinner tickets. Call ahead for information.
For more information on Dayton Pride, go to www.gaydayton.org/dlgc, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-2753059.
Scotty Didier is the chair of Dayton Pride.
Sandusky celebrates Pride with picnic, party,
Sandusky--Spend a fun-filled day in Sandusky on Saturday, July 10, with a picnic, pre-party and North Coast cruise all in one day.
A second annual fun picnic is being planned by GLBT folks in Sandusky to start out the day. The picnic begins at noon and will be located at Shoreline Drive Park in downtown Sandusky on the bay. Food will be available after 2 pm. Hot-dogs, buns, condiments, pop, water, and paper products will be provided. Please bring a side dish to share. Games, Frisbees, and volleyball will also be provided. No cost to enter the picnic, but donations will be accepted.
There will also be a 50/50 raffle with partial proceeds to benefit the Agape House in Sandusky, which is an AIDS charity. For more information check out www.firelandspride.org.
At 6 pm, down the street from Shoreline Park, there will be a pre-party at Club X. Come and have a few drinks and meet up with some old friends before hopping on the cruise. For more information, call 419-6248118 or www.clubxsandusky.net.
At 8:30 pm the North Coast cruise will leave, rain or shine, and will take revelers around Lake Erie. Drinking, dancing to music by DJ Greg, a show starring Brionna Brooks and guests, and karaoke with Neil are some of the highlights of the cruise. Tickets are available for $23. For more information call 419-6268011.
The Pride group has hosted two successful Holiday Gaylas in the past and plans are under way for the third annual Holiday Gayla in December 2004. Please look at www.firelandspride.org for more information to come. The group has also hosted a gay pride picnic for the Sandusky area in June of 2003. A fun time was had by all. Thanks to everyone that has supported the group in the past and to those who will help support the group in the future.
John Baker is a member of Firelands Pride.
Columbus--This year�s Pride festivities will be bigger and better than ever. With this election year, it�s important that the LGBT community shows its unity and strength. It is a positive civic, social and economic force in the community and this is the chance to show it.
There are literally hundreds of ways to participate: volunteer, enter a float in the parade, have your business become a sponsor, give to Stonewall Columbus, the organization that organizes the parade and festival each year or simply show up and have a good time.
Not just a one-day event, Stonewall Columbus Pride Holiday lasts all month long. Listed below are just a few of the events that take place throughout the month of June. Many of them are free to the community.
On Wednesday, June 9 at Mr Bill�s Bowling Alley, 3525 Cleveland Ave, Columbus, at 9 pm, there will be a bowling benefit themed after the film Grease 2. Tickets are $12 and include two hours of bowling and shoes, as well as performances by Ashley O�Shea, Brandy Lamont, Samantha Rollins and Jackiee Jizzum, along with talents of incredible male illusionists and hot back up boy dancers will perform numbers from the cult classic. Attendees are encouraged to dress as characters from Grease 2 or in other 1961 dress.
On June 12, a brand-new event will take place in the Arena District. The inaugural Run for Pride 5K run, walk or roll will start with 7:30 am registration, and the event itself will begin at 9 am. There is a $20 entry fee, and people can also register online at www.premierraces.com.
The Stonewall Columbus Pride Poker Run will be held on Saturday, June 12. It�s day-long Pride motorcycle ride to benefit Stonewall Columbus. Beginning at the Vine and ending at Slammers, the route will run from downtown Columbus out to Buckeye Lake and back. The run includes a bike judging at the end. The event starts at noon and costs $10 per person.
On Friday, June 18, Stonewall Columbus and the Tobias Project present another new event, a �Celebration of Our Voices of Color.� It�s an evening of creative and artistic expression of same-gender-loving people through spoken word poetry, theater and music. This free event will be held from 6 to 8 pm at Wall Street Nightclub, 144 North Wall St.
�An Exhibit of Pride� art show will take place on June 24, featuring the works of local LGBT artists. There will be many pieces for sale. A champagne reception at 5 pm will be followed by the public showing at 7 pm. Admission to the reception is $25, for the public showing it�s just $5.
Nina West presents a Pride Kick-off Show on Thursday, June 24 at Havana, 862 North High Street.
Rockin� in the Streets returns on Friday, June 25, at 8 pm, featuring national and local women�s talent hosted by Susan Powter and featuring Bitch and Animal with the Katie Reider Band. The action will happen in the Axis Nightclub parking lot, 775 North High St, while inside, at 11 pm, Falcon Studios star Andy Hunter featuring Missy Marlo and her boys will be performing a saucier show.
The faith community will gather Saturday morning June 26 for the traditional spiritual show of Pride at 10 am in the gazebo at Goodale Park for a free ecumenical service.
An hour later, the Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade will continue the festivities. Floats enter Goodale Park off Neil Avenue at Poplar, then proceed to Dennison. Line-up begins at 11 am and parade step-off is at 1 pm. The cost is $75 for any type of motorized vehicle, and free to walking groups.
The parade ends at the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival at Bicentennial Park downtown, featuring a marketplace, food court, children and family areas, two stages of live entertainment and much more.
Entertainers at Columbus Pride this year will be headliner Evelyn �Champagne� King, best known for her giant 1978 hit �Shame.� Joining her in keeping the crowd going will be bisexual singer-songwriter Skott Freedman, fitness guru Susan Powter and the Kinsey Sicks, America�s favorite dragapella beauty shop quartet.
Following the festival, Dancin� in the Streets returns to the Axis parking lot at 8 pm, featuring �All Things� Simone Denny along with a Modern Persona fashion show.
The next morning, the Stonewall Columbus Pride Brunch will be held at the Westin Hotel, 310 South High St, at 11 am, for $35.
After gaining strength from brunch, come out to cheer Bat �n� Rouge at 3 pm. Again held in the Africentric School field at the corner of Grant and Livingston, tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the gate.
Another new event this year is the �GLBT Issues in Judaism� panel discussion on Sunday, June 27. The event will familiarize participants with the issues of GLBT Jews and the Jewish community�s general treatment of this homosexuality. It will be held at� Congregation Tifereth Israel, 1354 East Broad Street from 4 to 7 pm. The event is free, but a kosher dinner can be ordered in advance for $8 by calling 614-253 8523 before June 21.
To volunteer for this year�s Pride Parade and Festival, to purchase tickets for any of the Stonewall Columbus Pride events or if you have any questions at all, please contact Stonewall Columbus at 614-2997764 or visit the web site www.stonewall-columbus.org for a complete listing of Pride events and information.
Michael Dutcher is the co-chair of Stonewall Columbus Pride Holiday 2004.
Even though it is not yet recognized here, Ohio couples who travel to marry find that it strengthens their relationships and adds a new level of respect
�Asking him to marry me was so much more than just, Hey, come live with me,� said Henry Pabian of Canton.
Pabian married Jason Rawls, 37, at a small City Hall ceremony in Toronto, Ontario on June 27, 2003.
�We were going to Canada anyway� that summer, said Pabian, 52.
The couple had been together as life partners four years before the rings were ordered. Rawls accepted Pabian�s life partner proposal during a white carriage ride in New York�s Central Park. But for them, it was not enough.
�Partner is a relative term,� said Rawls, �but people respect the word marriage. It has instant definition.�
Karen and Dorrie Andermills of Columbus agree that unclear, unfamiliar terms to describe their relationship were not good enough.
The couple was the first from Ohio to travel to Vermont on July 1, 2000 for a civil union. It was the first day Vermont honored the newly-created status.
Even after Karen and Dorrie legally assumed the same last name in 2002 by combining their previous names, they felt they lacked the clarity enjoyed by their non-gay counterparts.
�The civil union was the best available at the time,� said Karen Andermills, �but people don�t know what a civil union is. We wanted marriage.�
So the couple traveled to Windsor, Ontario on the third anniversary of their civil union and, with the help of a minister, �upgraded� to marriage.
Their family was not with them. Though their families, including Karen�s stepchildren from a previous partner, are close and supportive, the couple is not comfortable inviting them to travel for something that �doesn�t really count� because it is not honored in Ohio.
�We�ll have marriage 3.0 when it�s recognized here, then we�ll invite everyone,� said Dorrie.
For former Ohioans Nikki Raeburn, 36, and Liz Pesch, 38, the decision to marry came about quickly. The couple now lives in San Francisco, but met and lived in Cleveland.
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom announced he would order city officials to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples February 12.
Raeburn and Pesch were number 59 in line at San Francisco City Hall at 7:45 am the following day.
With their two-year-old son Joshua as best man, the couple was married by San Francisco Assessor Mabel Teng, who told them to hurry up and get their license filed quickly before the anti-gays could get a court to stop the marriages.
More than 4,000 couples married in San Francisco before the order came to stop.
Nick Staup, 36, and Rolando Ramon, 51, of Columbus, married in a church in Olinda, Ontario last November 28, after five years as a couple.
�It�s not that marriage changed our relationship as much as it strengthens it,� said Ramon. �[Marriage] sent a rippling effect through our families that took the guessing out. They know that we are to depend on one another, and they know that they are each others� families, too.�
Staup said that marriage improved his relationship with Ramon, in addition to the stability.
�It deepens the sense of honor and respect we feel, too,� said Staup, adding that the two have since put their financial accounts and insurance policies together.
Having lived through the 1980s and 1990s, Pabian also saw marriage as a way to protect Rawls.
�I know the stories of friends who passed,� said Pabian. �There are horror stories of bad relatives.�
Since their marriage is not recognized, �It may not be much, but it is a step.�
Rawls said their neighbors know of their marriage, and have mixed reactions to it.
�The neighbor on one side thinks its cool,� he said. �The one on the other side won�t have anything to do with us.�
�Older people seem to find our marriage harder to accept,� added Rawls.
Immediately after their wedding, photos of Rawls and Pabian appeared on the cover of the Canadian Auto Workers magazine, and in an America Online story celebrating same-sex marriage.
�Canada is proud of same-sex marriages,� said Pabian, �Its another thing they can brag about that the U.S. doesn�t have.�
Pabian has little family. Rawls� parents live in Louisiana and don�t know of the couple�s nuptials.
�My father would ostracize me if he knew,� said Rawls. He is also unsure that his father knows he�s gay.
�He knows we live together and went to Paris together,� said Rawls. �He knows Henry and thinks he�s a nice guy. When he talks to him, he tells Henry, �Take care of my baby,� but to come out and tell him, he would have to face it, and that�s another matter.�
Rawls grew up in Tripoli, where his father worked in the oil business. The Libyan government might not have recognized his parents� American marriage. He sees similarities with the lack of U.S. recognition of his Canadian marriage.
Pabian considers himself a �recovering Catholic.� Rawls was Amish and taught Amish Bible school for nine years. The two consider their marriage �a vow before God.�
The couple has no plans to marry in Massachusetts or any other state that might honor their relationship.
That sentiment is echoed by Ramon and Staup, who also consider themselves already married.
�Straight couples married in Ontario don�t have to go to Massachusetts or anywhere else to prove it,� said Staup, �and we won�t, either.�
Pesch and Raeburn also see no reason to marry anywhere else, even though the permanent status of their marriage is unclear, and only provides a few benefits by the city of San Francisco.
�We were soulmates before,� said Pesch. �The certificate is incredible, and we never thought we�d see the day, but it hasn�t changed the relationship.�
Raeburn joked that the marriage confused their families. �They are thrilled for us, but want to know which anniversary to celebrate, the wedding or that of our commitment ceremony.�
More seriously, the couple was initially concerned that the marriage might put their parenting arrangement at risk. Pesch is the biological mother of Joshua. Raeburn adopted him, giving equal rights to each under California law.
Once they found out the marriage would not change the adoption, the couple ignored the disclaimer given them by city officials that their license may be voided. �We can jump through legal hurdles later,� said Pesch. �We just wanted the license.�
Both said it was important to the LGBT community of San Francisco to beat Massachusetts to same-sex marriage licenses. Being first was a matter of civic pride.
Pesch said hundreds of people lined up at city hall to cheer each marriage and photograph the newly weds.
The Gay-Straight Alliance at the University of San Francisco, where Raeburn teaches, took up a collection to serve wedding cake and send flowers to couples waiting in line.
The Andermills felt more connected to America after their Vermont civil union, in addition to the deeper spiritual connection to each other.
�It�s a feeling of belonging to the United States for the first time,� said Karen, �probably like women and African-Americans felt when they got the right to vote.�
The Andermills founded Ohio Freedom to Marry and have testified before the Ohio legislature in favor of marriage rights.
�Once you have that feeling, you never lose it,� said Karen. �That�s why we do what we do.�
All of the couples say marriage is about love and commitment to each other, and no one should do it for reasons other than that. But Dorrie Andermills said that lesbian and gay marriage is a political act that is similar to the act of coming out to family and friends.
�It changes the world,� said Karen. �The people we know and work with get our relationship on a new level.�
Ramon and Staup recognize the effect of their marriage on the rest of the world, but also its limitations in Ohio, which is considering a constitutional amendment that would forbid honoring their marriage in any way.
If they needed the rights of marriage to protect one another, Staup said, they would consider moving to Canada.