Freedom to marry finally got here for all Americans

Perhaps no advocacy group played a more pivotal role in the fight for same-sex marriage rights than Freedom to Marry. Now, with the Supreme Court’s decision to bring marriage equality to the US, the group plans to shut down in the next few months.

But the group is going down with style, posting the video above that amounts to both a history lesson on marriage equality in the US and an incredibly moving celebration.

Now, if we only had a political party with the same level of progressive understanding and guts to represent mainstream America.

First same-sex couples marry in Washington state

Sarah and Emily Cofer hug Superior Court Judge Mary Yu

Hundreds of well-wishers braved a damp and chilly Seattle morning to celebrate the first of 140 weddings at City Hall on Sunday, marking the first day that same-sex couples can marry in Washington state.

Washington, Maine and Maryland last month became the first U.S. states to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples by a popular vote, in a leap forward for gay rights.

“It means that I can use the word husband without question or explaining,” said Corianton Hale, a 34-year-old graphic designer, who was one of the first to tie the knot at City Hall. He married freelance copywriter Keith Bacon, 44.

“We originally registered to come down here to get married at City Hall because we thought we’d just get in and get out,” said Bacon. “It ended up being this incredible experience.”

About 300 people waited outside City Hall in frigid temperatures, cheering couples as they descended the steps to street level, some throwing rice, blowing bubbles and handing flowers to the newlyweds.

The first of the ceremonies – which are scheduled to go on all day – were watched by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, a same-sex marriage supporter.

“What a wonderful thing to be able to support the commitment of these couples to each other and to herald the beginning of a new civil right,” McGinn told Reuters inside City Hall.

Hours earlier, as midnight chimed, the first couples were married at a state court ceremony, starting with public elementary school teachers Sarah and Emily Cofer.

“We’re so proud to live in this state that recognizes love and commitment,” said Sarah Cofer, 31, after she and Emily Cofer, 32, uttered the words “I will” before judge Mary Yu at Seattle’s King County Courthouse.

The Cofers’ union was the state’s first same-sex wedding. Cameras clicked, observers clapped and their 9-month-old daughter Carter – born to one of the pair and adopted by the other – cried.

The couple said they would head home and put Carter to bed.

They were followed by 11 other couples who took their vows at 30-minute intervals through the night in Yu’s 9th-floor courtroom decorated with poinsettia.

Bravo! Wonder how long it will take the rest of the country to catch up – and which state will be last to join the 21st Century?

Suquamish Tribe easily approves same-sex marriage

There were no protests and not much politics when the Suquamish Tribe quietly confronted one of the most tender social issues of the day.

This spring, a young woman stood up at the tribe’s annual meeting on its reservation here on Puget Sound and asked it to formally approve same-sex marriage. The response from the 300 or so people present was an enthusiastic “yes” in a voice vote. There was no audible dissent. Then, after another, smaller meeting (still no opposition) and a little work by the tribal attorney, the tribal council voted unanimously this month to approve same-sex marriage.

No court fights. No ballot measures. No billionaires behind the scenes.

“It was an important statement, but it wasn’t one that was a real struggle to make,” said Leonard Forsman, chairman of the tribe. “We really saw this as a housekeeping issue.”

No same-sex couple has expressed interest in getting married on the reservation soon. Nor is it clear that there would be a practical impact if they did, in part because Washington State already has a domestic partnership law that extends most marriage benefits to same-sex couples.

Yet people involved in the process say the new law was an important act of self-determination. While its specific purpose is to affirm marriage rights for same-sex couples, supporters say the law also is an effort to assert tribal culture and authority over outside influences by people whose very identities have been under assault for more than two centuries, since non-Indian settlers began arriving in the Pacific Northwest.

“The reason for passing it had nothing to do with ‘What benefits do I get out of it?’ ” said Michelle Hansen, the tribal attorney. “You have this community saying, ‘Where we can avoid discrimination, we’re going to do it…’ ”

Experts note that some tribes, including the Navajo and the Cherokee, have passed laws opposing same-sex marriage, but the precise marriage policy of many tribes is not known because tribes do not always make their laws public.

Scholars noted that before tribes came into contact with Christian missionaries, homosexuality was not necessarily viewed negatively.

“It went from tolerated in some tribes to very highly regarded in others,” said Karina L. Walters, the director of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute…

“It wasn’t thought of as homosexual, necessarily, it was thought of as another type of gender,” she said. “The whole idea behind it is tribes never excluded people.”

We’re obviously witnessing the failure of Christian missionaries to instill a proper belief in inequality and gender superiority…and other similar Anglo foolishness.