Monday, June 9, 2014

Further Updates, Same-Sex Marriage in Arkansas: Democrat-Gazette Publishes Rejoinder to Jason Rapert, and On Marrying Where We Live

Last week, I expressed doubt about whether my state's newspaper of record, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, would publish Judge Wendell Griffen's rejoinder to an anti-marriage equality article written by state senator (and Baptist pastor) Jason Rapert, who is leading the crusade to have the state Supreme Court once again outlaw same-sex marriage in Arkansas. As my posting noted, Judge Griffen is also a pastor — of New Millennium Baptist Church in Little Rock — and is the minister who married Steve and me (and other same-sex couples) on May 12.

It turns out I was wrong in my prediction that the Dem-Gaz would probably not publish Judge Griffen's response to Rev. Rapert. The article appeared in yesterday's paper (but is behind a paywall; as I noted previously, Wendell made the text of his response to Rapert public on his Facebook page on June 1, in case you want to read it).

As I've also noted, in his rejoinder to Rapert, Wendell draws on his history as an African American citizen of a state whose white majority long denied rights to black citizens to argue that it is immoral (not to mention, unconstitutional) to determine whether a minority group deserves to have rights on the basis of popular votes. 

And another brief update: shortly after our marriage, I wrote about our decision to marry in our own state of Arkansas, when that option presented itself to us, and not someplace else, because we're not someplace else but here. I noted what I called the "testimonial advantage" of marrying here and not there.

This past Saturday, I was interested to read John Nichols's piece on marriage equality in Wisconsin entitled "Getting Married 'Where We Live': Why Each Marriage Equality Ruling Is Historic." Nichols notes that the first same-sex marriage in Madison, Wisconsin, was between Shari Roll and Renee Currie, who married following Judge Barbara Crabb's ruling striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in that state.

He points out that Roll and Currie have been together for years and could easily have driven to the neighboring state of Iowa to marry some time ago. But:
"We wanted to get married where we live," explained Shari Roll. 
I understand that. There are a great many Americans who choose to marry in the place where we live, embraced by the people we know, grounded in the values and the unique interactions of the very different communities and states that make up these United States.

All of which makes perfect sense to me.

The photo is by Brian Chilson at Arkansas Times and shows Judge Wendell Griffen marrying Thomas Baldwin and David Rudeseal on May 12 in the Pulaski Co., Arkansas, courthouse. I see that my soon-to-be husband (Wendell performed our marriage ceremony not long after this one) has photo-bombed this snapshot.

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