You've probably seen this picture already. It's of 56-year old Larry Duncan and 48-year old Randy Shepherd receiving their marriage license in Washington State this morning.
Photographer Meryl Shenker snapped it and, as the photo became an internet sensation, told Seattle PI she focused on the men because she wanted to challenge stereotypes. She did her job well, and we should all be grateful.
It seems each new state that legalizes marriage produces its own poster couple. For example Phyllis Siegel and Connie Kopelov, the elderly lesbian couple pictured to the right, became famous for their marriage here in the Empire State, and were even asked to be grand marshals at Gay Pride.
And you know what, it's great that Siegel and Kopelov and Shepherd and Duncan become viral images: not only does it show that gays and lesbians are not, as much as Queer Eye tainted popular opinion, all power lesbians or done-up gays, but that we come in every shade, color, size and age.
More importantly, these couples show how long some people are willing to wait for legal recognition of their love. Duncan and Shepherd have been together for eleven years, a short amount of time when compared to Siegel and Kopelov's 23, but still an impressive period to bide your time for marital respect and if you ask me they're in a perfect position to become figureheads for same-sex couples marrying in Washington State, and everywhere else, for that matter.
PHOTO OF THE DAY: Matthew Mitcham shows us his model face.
A look back at today's top stories
Dan Savage and Terry Miller had their union officially recognized in Washington state today, along with many others. Check out Savage discussing the big day here. Congrats to them! NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a divisive figure in the sports world, but I think we can all agree that he was very admirable in standing up for his gay brother.
Today the Mormon Church announced that it wants gays to "stay with them". They would just really prefer if those gays weren't gay. Good news from a Quinnipiac University poll that seems to show a significant uptick in support for gay marriage among Catholic males.
A not so happy trails to anti-gay Sen. Jim DeMint who announced today that he is stepping down to run a conservative think tank. What's scary is that he might be more powerful there than in the Senate.
The wife of New York City Mayoral Candidate Bill de Blasio wants everyone to know that though she might have been a lesbian before she isn't anymore. Now that she is "locked" into a marriage that is. Also, yesterday the White House said that it is looking for a legislative route to an ENDA-type law.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY
Gallup recently asked Americans to weigh in on discrimination against gays and lesbians and a majority, 63%, describe such bias as a "serious" or "very serious" problem. Even more LGBT Americans, those who directly encounter prejudice in its various forms, agreed: 88%.
Interestingly, the same poll shows that people find their particular communities to be more accepting than the nation as a whole:
Americans overall and LGBT Americans have similar views on how challenging it is for gay or lesbian adults to live openly in their community. In this respect, both Americans and LGBT adults are generally positive, with a majority of each group saying it is "not too difficult" or "not at all difficult" to live as openly gay or lesbian. Still, about 40% of each group believes it is difficult to do so where they live.
The generally more negative views about gay and lesbian discrimination nationwide versus the more positive views about the difficulty of living as openly gay or lesbian in one's local community could reflect Americans' tendency to see conditions in the United States as a whole as worse than those in the area where they live.
Meanwhile, the poll shows that 51% of Americans believe the nation will reach a consensus on marriage equality, while 45% say otherwise. And opinion on that matter is clearly correlated with political affiliation: "Specifically, 65% of Democrats think the country will reach agreement on gay rights issues in the future, while 33% disagree. In contrast, a majority of Republicans, 61%, believe the U.S. will continue to be divided on gay rights issues, with 34% expecting a consensus to emerge."
NECN provides more information:
“I think it's important that young people have a seat at the table and that's what I am trying to accomplish here," says Chenette, who won the November election by a huge margin.
Surprisingly, Chenette went into the campaign with strong name recognition. As a high school student, he hosted a political show on public access television and if a candidate wanted to get elected in Saco, they found their way to his show.
There were skeptics [when he announced his candidacy], but Chenette wasn't deterred. "If you believe in something you have to go for it, you can't let other people tell you know when you believe yes, that has been a theme in anything I have taken on."
Chenette took a leave of absence from his position as an assistant producer at Maine Fox 23's Good Day morning show to run for office. Obviously that decision paid off.
AFTER THE JUMP, NECN's interview with Chenette.
The latest Public Policy Polling survey shows more Illinois voters favor marriage equality than those who oppose, 47% versus 42%, and that activists there should focus on convincing white voters to side with equality.
From the Windy City Times:
Fifty-eight percent of voters under age 45 support marriage equality, compared with 37 percent who oppose it, the poll found. Black voters supported same-sex marriage 60/16, PPP said. Latinos supported Illinois marriage equality at 70/23.
The majority of white voters did not support same-sex marriage in Illinois with 40 percent supporting and 51 percent opposing.
Those numbers could be good news for LGBT advocates as many believe Illinois is on the cusp of achieving marriage equality. Two lawsuits filed in Cook County seek to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage in Illinois, and pro-gay lawmakers have stated that a vote on a marriage equality bill could be just around the corner.
Rick Garcia, who has been instrumental in the passage of pro-LGBT policy in Illinois, predicted that marriage equality in the state would come "sooner rather than later."
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of equality, though, that moment will be even sooner than imagined.
REUNITED: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John sing "I Think Might Like It."
WHOA: This device, made in 1890, sounds just like a bird.
'ABHORS': Supreme Court Justice Scalia does not approve of the decision in the landmark free speech case New York Times v. Sullivan.
MAMA DREW: Drew Barrymore talks motherhood with Ellen.
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Posted Dec. 6,2012 at 6:17 PM EST by Andrew Belonsky in Antonin Scalia, Drew Barrymore, Ellen DeGeneres, John Travolta, News, Olivia Newton-John, Tech, Towleroad Guide to the Tube | Permalink | Comments (2)