Wednesday, June 26, 2013

South Sound GLBT Activists Celebrate Supreme Court Rulings

Above: Local GLBT activist Anna Schlect, dressed as a Supreme Court justice, celebrated today's United States Supreme Court rulings at the Urban Onion in downtown Olympia tonight.
By Janine Unsoeld

South Sound gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community members and their allies gathered tonight at the Urban Onion in downtown Olympia to celebrate the United States Supreme Court’s historic day of decision on two marriage equality cases.
The court's striking down of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denies benefits to same sex couples, now means federal benefits, over 1,000 statutes and regulations involving tax, survivors and veterans benefits, bankruptcy, housing, visitation rights at hospitals and more, will be extended to all married couples, including gays and lesbians. 
The court also sent Proposition 8, which banned same sex marriages after it had been legalized by the California Supreme Court, back to California. It was rejected by the Supreme Court today on a technicality, with the court saying it lacked jurisdiction in the case. Activists expect same sex marriages to resume in California in about a month. Both decisions are seen as a victory for the GLBT community and their supporters, making it just a matter of time that marriage equality may be extended to all 50 states.
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia currently have marriage equality legislation in place. Governor Chris Gregoire signed legislation legalizing same sex marriages in Washington on February 13, 2013.
South Sound Activists Celebrate....And Remember
Moderated by local GLBT activist Anna Schlect, who was humorously dressed as a black robed Supreme Court justice with numerous strands of colorful Pride beads, tonight's celebration welcomed GLBT activists and allies to speak, including several members of the local faith community. It was standing room only as some recalled past campaigns and those who are not here today to witness the victory.

Schlect said she received an early morning telephone call from the Governor's office asking her to bring a Rainbow flag to hoist at the Capitol Building. She did so, although the flag has yet to be flown, given the urgent budget battle, the outcome of which is still to be determined.

"For those of you who haven't lived through a historic occasion, this day is for the books! This is a sea-change, a watershed moment that will make a difference in the United States...but there's lots more work to do...and more conversations with friends and neighbors about this....There has been, and will be, more backlashes by fearful, ignorant people, so we all have to keep the fight going!" said Schlect.

The Reverend Amy Walters of First Christian Church said, "Faith communities know that each person is created in the image of God - the death of DOMA is a tremendous step toward justice and equality....but the fight is not over...." The Reverend Carol McKinley of the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Church and Rabbi Seth Goldstein of Temple Beth Hatfiloh also spoke.
Gib and Beth Rossing are parents of two gay sons and two straight daughters. Active with PFLAG, a support group for parents and families with GLBT children, they said they are very excited about the decisions, and said that one of their sons, who lives in Indiana, a state that does not yet allow same sex marriages, was married to his partner this past weekend at Priest Point Park.

Above: Flirticia Fondue performs at the Red Ribbon Gayla event at the Olympia Ballroom on Saturday night.
Hearing this morning's Supreme Court news, drag queen Flirticia Fondue, 50, of Olympia, who was not dressed in drag tonight, said, "For me, I was elated, but I also felt a loneliness for all the heroes who could not be here tonight. We know Harvey Milk and Matthew Shepard, but there are many other nameless heroes who are not with us today....We have them to thank for where we are today." After asking the crowd for a moment of silence to remember those heroes, Fondue added, quietly, "I'm glad I got to experience this while I'm still alive."
In an interview later, Fondue said that he was one of five young gay children adopted by a gay man. "I'm the only one of the five who is left...the others died of AIDS. Now I'm an only child...."
Above: Partners Lisa Brodoff, left, and Lynn Grotsky spoke tonight at the Urban Onion. Brodoff and Grotsky were litigants in the first "out" second-parent adoption case in Washington State in the 1980's. Brodoff said, "This is a day to show our children that the arc of justice does bend toward justice...."
Asked before the party what this day means to her and her partner Lisa Brodoff, Lacey resident Lynn Grotsky gushed with emotion, “We were already excited for our wedding at our Temple on July 28, but the joy to know that we are granted the same 1,000 or so rights that heterosexual couples have….that we are truly full-fledged equal citizens of the United States of America and that we, nor our children, will ever again have to feel as "other" simply because of love, is astounding! I have been floating above the ground all day! And our wedding will truly be a full acceptance of our 32 year relationship, both under the eyes of God and the laws of our country. And now we'll work towards equal rights for all the other states in our nation and the world.”
For more articles about marriage equality in Washington State, GLBTQ issues, Capital City Pride, and other related issues, go to and type in key words, using the search button.
Above: The Urban Onion on Legion Way is a great place to have a party....