HOUSTON VOICE www.houstonvoice.com
JUNE 10, 2005 11
Oillt JASON VICTOR SERNIUS
Marriage equality came up four votes
short in California last week, no thanks
to Bible-quoting pols from both parties.
Painfully close to
victory in Calif.
FOUR VOTES SHORT. YOU COULD LOOK
at it as a body count.
You might practice reciting the figures as would a TV news anchor: eyes
wide open, voice authoritative yet dispassionate, accents on key syllables,
offering bare-bones information while
leaving room for the commercials that
pay the way.
Except this time, detachment is not an
option. The count is about us.
On June 2, the California State
Assembly came up four votes shy of passing AB19, a bill that would have sanctioned same-sex marriage in California.
Introduced by gay Assemblyman Mark
Leno (D-San Francisco), the bill would have
changed the state's definition of marriage
to a union between two persons instead of
a union between a man and a woman.
Even though the final tally was 37-36 in
favor of the bill, it was four votes shy of
the 41-vote majority needed to pass.
For the minority Republicans, voting
was a no-brainer. They followed the party
line, which thanks to Daddy Bush is far
more clearly defined than Dorothy's
Yellow Brick Road to Oz.
Faced with choices about life, liberty,
and the pursuit of property, they chose
the latter, cited the Bible, and voted no as
a solid, I-know-where-my-next-meal-is-
Leno, lesbian Senator Carole Migden
(D-San Francisco), and other members
of California's gay Assembly caucus
did their best. They even enlisted the
help of lesbian couple Orzu and
Ramona Gatto and their 17-year-old
The Gatto family of San Carlos, Calif.,
approached Assembly members on an
individual basis. Among their questions:
"Is this child less equal than another
child? Does this child's family deserve to
be treated differently from another?"
SOME DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY
members also consulted the Bible. Some
thought of their constituencies, others of
future elections and the money they needed to keep their children in private school,
safe from the ruinous influences of
California's abysmal public school system.
Some even changed their minds. But it
was not enough.
After the final vote, 41-year old
Ramona Gatto expressed shock at the outcome. "After talking to a lot of members
face to face," she said, "they would not
look me in the eye and say they would not
Leno was more direct. "If this body
can't pass AB19," he declared, "it should
clarify its position and say we do believe
that gay and lesbian couples are second-
IN RELATED NEWS, ON MAY 31
California Attorney General Bill
Lockyer filed notice to appeal San
Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard
Gay Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) sponsored AB 19, which would legalize same-sex marriages
in California. (Photo by AP)
A. Kramer's March 14 ruling that
California laws restricting marriage
rights to opposite-sex couples violate
equal protection guarantees in the
Lockyer, as the California official
responsible for defending state laws
that have been challenged in court, has
no choice but to appeal Kramer's ruling, but his act guarantees a ruling
from the California Supreme Court
next year on the constitutionality of
California's current prohibition of
So after the California defeat, is our
glass half full or half empty? The
answer may depend upon viewing the
question from a blue state or red state
From my vantage point in
California, cracks are appearing in the
monolith, and neither words nor missiles nor Fox News barrages are enough
to patch them up.
Beyond expressing our outrage at yet
another refusal to honor our love, the only
viable response is to deepen our relationships with each other and press on.
Jason Victor Serinus is an Oakland-based
freelance writer and can be reached at
to gays and
Long-term friends who can live
Big hair, witty sarcasm and the
with each other's bitchiness and
revelation that they weren't the
laugh about it.
only ones wearing '80s shoulder
MIKE EVANS, 33
ANDREA LAVER, 29
The campy one-liners. Everybody
knows 1 love a ba-da-boom joke.
DANNY KALIf N, 45
It takes place in a beauty shop,
and the girls are all purty.
PATTI ALDREDGE, 49
Gay boys love strong Southern
women with attitude and sass.
BRYAN HLAVINKA, 31
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Interviews and photos by Dalton DeHart