Commentary on what today’s SCOTUS rulings mean to me

Same sex marriageI must admit, I never thought marriage was in the cards for me. Aside from the fact that same-sex marriage isn’t legal in my state, I chalked it up to consistently making poor choices in the relationship department. But the U.S. Supreme Court rulings today on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and California’s Proposition 8 has made me rethink that. Not for myself, but for all of those who want not just the legal benefits of marriage, but the recognition as well.

I was at a party a few weeks ago for a friend’s birthday. Laughter and fun prevailed all afternoon. In attendance were two other friends, a gay male couple, who were speaking about their upcoming civil union ceremony. A young lady in attendance didn’t have a full understanding of what it all meant, and asked the question.

“Imagine if you will that you and your boyfriend are married,” my friend began, “and God forbid he dies. There is no question of you inheriting his estate without any legal or taxable issues, right”

She nodded in agreement.

“Now, imaging the same scenario for the two of us. Suppose I die, and want to leave my entire estate to my partner. Even though we are joined in a civil union, my death and his inheritance becomes a huge taxable occurrence for him. Does that seem fair?”

The young lady looked at him with a new sense of understanding…and compassion.

“Not at all,” she replied.

I am paraphrasing the actual story a bit, but this is the gist of the content. Did I mention that the gay couple in question has been together for 34 years? I would say that in this instance, that is quite a significant part of the story.

Even though the Supreme Court stopped short of a sweeping ruling on gay marriage with Proposition 8, the death of DOMA is of huge significance. While understandable in its conception, DOMA is been lorded over the gay community like the sword of Damocles for years. Now, with its death, states can re-examine their own laws. I suspect that while today has been a great victory, to battle has just begun for the 35+ states that currently have a same-sex marriage ban on their books.

Later today, my friends will be holding their civil union ceremony in a downtown courthouse. While seemingly less significant to some yesterday, it means quite a bit more today. It means that the struggles and prejudice the have experienced through their 34 years together have not been for naught, and that their relationship takes another step forward to complete equality not just for themselves, but for all of us.

As for me, I do have someone who is becoming more and more significant in my life now. Will we get to the point of the “talk” about a civil union…or heaven forbid…marriage? It’s too soon to say…at least from where I sit. But should the topic come up sometime in the future, I may consider it a bit more seriously. I never thought it was in the cards for me. But he is changing my mind…and today’s Supreme Court rulings are helping to plead his case as well.

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U.S. Supreme Court prepared to rul on monumental issues TOMORROW

p549007_mAccording to the U.S. Supreme Count’s online blog, decisions will be made on a number of key issues and released tomorrow. Among those include DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and Proposition 8. Check the SCOTUS page for updates beginning at 7:00a.m. MDT to learn of their decisions on these hot-button issues. What are your thoughts on the issues on the table? Weigh in with your comments.

“Desperate Housewives” actor part of celebrity coming out train

W Actor Tuc Watkins comes out

Super-hunk Tuc Watkins, co-star of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and daytime drama “One Life to Live” has admitted to what until his admission was only speculation; he is indeed gay. The uber-handsome Watkins made the admission while appearing on the daytime talk show “Marie” with Marie Osmond.

Watkins also revealed that he is a proud single parents to twins via surrogate.

“I played a gay man who was married to his husband, who was trying to adopt a kid,” he says, “And in real life, at the same time, I’m a gay single man who was trying to have a kid through surrogacy.”

Watkins was a guest on the talk-fest promoting the relaunch of “One Life to Live” as an online show. Read more, and see a clip from the show, by following this link.

What do you think of the timing of Tuc’s admission? Think it’s a good idea? Weigh in with your comments.

NBA player Jason Collins comes out

On the heels of an article about an openly gay college football kicker wanting to break into the NFL comes the admission from 12-year NBA veteran Jason Collins that he is indeed a gay man. The gifted center who is a veteran of nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons and is now a free agent, makes the admission in a self-penned article in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

“I’ve reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.”

Read the SI article on Jason Collins by clicking here. What do you think of his decision to come out now? Do you think the NBA is ready for it? Offer your thoughts in our comments section.

UPDATE: Shortly after the release of this story, the first of what will undoubtedly be a homophobic backlash comes from  Miami Dolphins “wide receiver” Mike Wallace. From TMZ, read his comments here.

Former daytime TV actor finds solace, solitude in painting and social media

To millions, actor Thom Bierdz is known as the iconic Chancellor heir Phillip Chancellor on the daytime drama “The Young and the Restless.” Bierdz also has the distinction of being one of the first openly gay soap opera actors. But until recently, many had no idea of the real-life drama endured when it was revealed that Bierdz’s brother, Troy, had murdered their mother with a baseball bat in 1989. 20 years later, Bierdz has penned a new book, “Forgiving Troy,” which outlines his journey towards acceptance and forgiveness.

These days, Bierdz enjoys a solitary but fulfilling life in Lake Arrowhead, California exploring another of his passions; painting.  Bierdz was recently interviewed by Melissa Parker of Smashing Interviews Magazine where he discusses his past, his work, and his love for former co-star Emmy-winning actress Jeanne Cooper. You can also learn more about Bierdz, his artwork, his favorite poses (?) and why he’s “only gay for the gay press” by visiting his YouTube channel. He can also be seen as a guest star on the web series “Old Dogs & New Tricks.”

Remember Thom Bierdz from his daytime years? Share your thoughts and memories with us.

 

NBC News Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk come out, expecting a baby in August

Jenna And StephCongratulations to NBC’s Today Show Weekend anchor and her partner, NBC Foreign Correspondent Stephanie Gosk. Wolfe announced this morning that the couple as expecting their first child together in August.

“We didn’t put in an order, but we are getting a girl, and we are super excited,” said Wolfe on The Today Show this morning. “We are super excited.”

The announcement of the pregnancy may have overshadowed the fact that the two were making a coming out announcement. The couple has been dating for more than 3 years, and is engaged as well. While not necessarily a secret among their NBC family, the news was a surprise to viewers and fans of the show.

Wolf and Gosk join a number of high profile news professionals who have recently come out publicly. CNN’s Anderson Cooper, MSNBC’s Don Lemon and ABC’s Sam Champion have all shared their sexual orientation on the air, while MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts became the first anchor to have a same-sex marriage.

In the upcoming issue of “People” magazine, the couple discusses their life together, their impending motherhood, and what the experience means to them both.

“I didn’t want to bring my daughter into a world where I’m not comfortable telling everyone who I am and who her mother is,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe will also be blogging about her experience of impending motherhood. Recently, she reflected on the moment she and Gosk made the decision to share their life with a child of their own.

“Two years into a great relationship and we felt like we wanted to share our adventures with a wide-eyed, little person. The more we talked about it, the better the idea seemed. And so in December, we embarked on Operation Baby. And might I just add that despite the morning sickness, it’s been the best decision we’ve ever made.”

Read more on the couple, and their journey together here, and in the latest issue of “People” magazine on newsstands Friday. And as always, share your comments with us.

Supreme Court begins hearing gay marriage issue today

Supreme Court building.The proceeding at the U.S. Supreme Court got underway this morning. The decisions regarding gay marriage will have a ripple effect that will be felt for some time, but does same-sex marriage really matter? Follow this link, and see real-time and time-delayed coverage of the proceedings. What are your thoughts on gay marriage? How will it impact your life or the lives of those you care about? Weigh in with your comments.