Category: Beth Robinson

Our Wedding Video, The State of Marriage; Rob Lowe Gay Kiss

Our Wedding Video, The State of Marriage

I heard from Jeff Kaufman yesterday about his documentary on Vermont titled, The State of Marriage. For those who don’t know, I posted about how Tony and I were lucky enough to be part of this, and to be married by Vermont Supreme Court Justice, Beth Robinson, last January when we were married in Montgomery Center, Vermont. Jeff just sent me this latest information about an interesting Indiegogo project he’s doing to raise money to finish the film. Indiegogo is basically the same type of thing as kickstarter. People who support gay marriage and are interested in how a good deal of this all started in Vermont with civil unions can leave as little as $5.00 in support. I’ll post all info below for anyone interested in checking it out. There’s also a clip at the Indiegogo page to which I’m linking where you can see Tony and me at the end, during our ceremony exchanging rings. It’s not just a documentary about equal rights, it’s also about love.

From my inbox:

Today is the 5-year anniversary of the Vermont House and Senate overriding the governor’s marriage equality veto, making Vermont the first state to enact full marriage equality not through court dictate, but through the vote of the legislature – – the will of the people. It was an extraordinary accomplishment, built on decades of tireless work, that we preserve and pass on in THE STATE OF MARRIAGE.

This morning we are launching an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to cover the cost of post production for THE STATE OF MARRIAGE. We’ve completed filming, I’m now doing the script, we will start editing on May 1, and we will complete the film this summer. Please take a look at the Indiegogo site for THE STATE OF MARRIAGE. There is a new trailer (with a personal introduction), dozens of screen shots from the film, some excellent “thank you” premiums, and many ways to contribute (all tax deductible). I hope you can help, and that you will share this important effort through email, text, twitter, and any other means of communication you can think of. Post production involves editing, transcribing interviews, purchasing archival footage, composing and recording music, color correction, sound design, and other (costly) steps. All levels of support will make a difference, and will be greatly appreciated. 

THE STATE OF MARRIAGE at Indiegogo:

THANK YOU to everyone who has been part of this amazing effort . . . and for any help you can offer.

Best – Jeff
 
When you check out the link above and you look at the sidebar where they’ve listed what people who donate will receive, you’ll see that I’ve offered to write an m/m romance novel for someone who donates $5,000.00. The story will feature the people who donated as the main characters, and I’ll be telling their personal story about how they met, the challenges they’ve faced, or whatever they’d like to see me write. To be clear, all this money goes toward getting this film out there. I receive no monetary compensation and I’m donating my time as a writer to the cause. This is what it says:
 
 $5,000USD

Novel About YOU! + BONUS

Ryan Field (www.ryan-field.blogspot.com), author of over 150 gay romance novels, will write a printable eBook based directly on your own story, with the name of you and your loved one as the lead characters. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be immortalized in print – and to share the meaning of your relationship with others. Plus: a DVD or digital download of THE STATE OF MARRIAGE.
 
 
One of the interesting things about this video is that you can see how long it’s taken, and how some of the people who began the fight for equal rights have aged so gracefully during the process. This really is about so many things, from love to history in the making. And all of us, everyone reading this post right now, have been part of it. All the people who’ve been reading and writing m/m romance have been part of it. I’ve seen your updates, tweets, and read all your posts and I know how hard you’ve all worked in your own way to help support equal rights. It hasn’t just been a solitary effort, this time it really did take that whole proverbial village to pull it off. And in some cases donating only $5.00 to the cause in support of a video like The State of Marriage helps just as much as if you went out and held a picket sign in protest.
 
 
Rob Lowe Gay Kiss
 
I really had intended to end today’s post with the documentary information, but I noticed a headline about Rob Lowe kissing a man and could NOT ignore that. Mainly because I think Rob Lowe is now, and has always been, one of the most attractive actors in Hollywood. I’ve also read features in Architectural Digest about his home, and he knows what he’s doing in that department, too.
 
In any event, Lowe has a new memoir and he mentions kissing another man, a straight man…two straight men kissing.
 
Lowe writes: ‘I kissed a man recently, and with romantic intent. I liked and admired him very much, and professionally he is as good as anyone in his field, but truth be told he isn’t conventionally attractive. In fact, he is not tall, lacks any hair whatsoever and is a bit older than anyone I would likely be interested in kissing, regardless of gender.”
 
‘But I did it anyway, and not without the apprehension you would expect from someone completely new to that sort of thing.’
 
I guess that doesn’t sound as if Lowe was overly enthusiastic about kissing a man, especially that man in particular. I can understand this. I’d feel the same way if I had to kiss Joy Behar romantically (ugh). But I wouldn’t mind kissing Beyoncé.  
 
So what I’d really like to know is how Lowe would have felt if he’d kissed a hot guy.
 
 
 
 
 
  

Wedding Remarks Beth Robinson; Gay Marriage Ban Ends in England, Wales

Wedding Remarks: Beth Robinson

I received an e-mail last night from Jeff Kaufman in LA who is producing the upcoming marriage documentary about Vermont, The State of Marriage. While going through transcripts he came across the remarks Vermont Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson made at our wedding in Vermont last January. I’ve already posted about what an honor it was to have Judge Robinson perform the ceremony, but I didn’t have her exact remarks until now. It’s interesting how I actually do recall them, in detail, at the time she made them.

 Ryan and Tony, we celebrate your enduring love. What brings you here today is a deeply personal commitment, but it’s also more than that.  This isn’t only a commitment ceremony, it’s a legal marriage.  I appreciate your thanks to me personally for my role in this, but understand that you and I join together in thanking so many hundreds of thousands of people who have worked so hard including, I’m quite sure, yourselves in bringing us to the place we are today.  Thanks to their perseverance, the hopes you had in the past are reality today.  I’m reminded of the saying, “The personal is political.”  The love you two share is profoundly personal.  The law is willingness to recognize and protect that love is profoundly political.  You’ve acknowledged the work people have done to get us here, but I want to acknowledge the impact that the two of you have had just by being you, by being a committed, loving couple for so many years, seeing each other through the most unimaginable difficult times, modeling the love and steadfastness that everyone has to understand.  It is a model for us all.

The example you have set has made this moment as inevitable as all of the protests in the street and the lobbying in the legislature.  So I thank you for that.  I’m honored to celebrate you Tony and Ryan, to celebrate your individuality, who you are as a couple and who you will continue to be as husbands.  All of us know that you are deeply in love, but beyond the warmth and the glow, the excitement and the romance, what is love really?  Real love is caring as much about the welfare and happiness of your partner, as about your own.  Real love is not possessive or jealous, it is liberating.  It sets you free to become your best self. Real love is not total absorption in each other.  It’s looking outward in the same direction together.  Love makes burdens lighter because you divide them.  It makes joys more intense because you share them.  It makes you stronger so that you can reach out and become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.

Gay Marriage Ban Ends in England, Wales

The gay marriage ban in England and Wales ended today at midnight. There were civil unions there, but many decided to have midnight weddings and celebrate the many wonderful things associated with the fact that they are now able to legally marry. 

The change is largely being taken in stride, with little rancor from opponents and a sense from supporters that same-sex marriage was long overdue. Britain had already allowed gay couples to adopt children, and gay service members are permitted to serve openly in the military.

Unlike in the United States and other countries that have been roiled by debates over gay rights, marriage equality has overwhelming support here, and was passed by a comfortable majority in Parliament in July.

You can read more here.

When I post things like this I often think of this blog as a personal journal and that one day I’ll look back and read all these things again. As of this date, in the US Tony and I are legally married in only the US states where LGBTI marriage is recognized. However, we happen to live in Pennsylvania, where we pay taxes and own property, where LGBTI marriage is NOT yet legal. One mile away in New Jersey, we are legally married.




Photo above are the actual flowers from our wedding in Vermont, dried and arranged differently two months later.

Our Vermont Wedding; T. J. Klune Post; Free Gay Excerpt

Our Vermont Wedding

When I mentioned that Tony and I were engaged to be married last December, I also told people we hadn’t officially made any plans because our goal, after twenty-one years together, and after sharing the first half of our lives together, was to keep the wedding very simple and quiet. But then a few unplanned events started to unfold, one thing lead to another, and there are now a few significant details about our wedding I’ve been waiting to share for the right time that include a movie, a supreme court justice, and a very gracious woman at Phineas Swann Inn.

We started making plans to get married at Phineas Swann, an Inn in Vermont, earlier this month. We did this because we’ve been all over New England but never Vermont, it’s pet friendly and we’re bringing both dogs, and also because of so much that has happened with gay marriage took place in Vermont. That last part was planned, and we did want that historical touch because that’s important to us both. But the rest was a big surprise to both of us. A couple of weeks ago we received a call from the owner of Phineas Swann and she informed us that an indie filmmaker, Jeff Kaufman, from Los Angeles was doing a documentary called The State of Marriage on same sex marriage and he was interested in filming our wedding. And then she told us that Beth Robinson, Vermont Supreme Court Justice, would be there and she would actually be performing the ceremony for us. Of course the owner of Phineas Swann was very gracious and she wanted to make sure this was all okay with us, and that it wouldn’t interfere with our original plans. And it was her graciousness, and our strong feelings about legal same sex marriage, that helped us make the decision to agree to do everything they were asking.

So that’s about it for now. We’re heading to Vermont early next week and the ceremony will take place at eleven o’clock on Tuesday at Phineas Swann Inn. I wish I knew how to do those streaming feeds so family, readers, and online friends could watch it live, but I’m just not good enough at those things to pull it off. But I will post photos and other things I think people and blog readers might enjoy, here on the blog and on social media. I’ll have tablets and iPhones with me the entire time and I’m not planning to go blank next week. In fact, we originally planned to keep this all so simple we’re heading back the next day because of work obligations.

I’ll also keep updating about the film, The State of Marriage, in the coming months. I have no idea what part of the film we’ll be in, or how we’ll come off. But Kaufman has a good reputation for doing what he does, and we’re both looking forward to meeting him.

Side note: the only regret will be returning to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where we live and pay taxes, and where gay marriage still is not considered legal.

T. J. Klune Post

I have to admit that it takes a lot to gut me sometimes. But I’ve become very emotionally involved in what’s been happening with M/M authors, TJ Klune and Eric Arvin. The post I’m linking to now, written by Klune, will explain everything to those who don’t know what I’m talking about right now.

I know we all go through serious times in life, and everyone gets his or her own share of pain and sorrow. But the health crisis with Klune and Arvin hit so close to home for me, and for what I experienced with Tony’s health crisis in 2007, I actually do feel gutted each time I read something else. I also feel a strong sense of pride when I see how so many have supported Klune and Arvin during this time. I don’t think of this as fandom. I think this goes deeper and shows how strong online relationships can be, and how they continue to evolve and grow.

Here’s an excerpt from TJ Klune’s most recent post.

As I write this, I am sitting in a waiting room of a respiratory hospital in Richmond, Virginia.  It’s 11 in the morning on a rainy Friday.  It’s cold outside.  We’re supposed to get snow later.  I forgot to grab my heavy coat when I packed my bag this time. I accidentally left my gloves at the hotel. Forgetting little things is normal for me these days, as are the purple lines under my eyes from lack of sleep that don’t ever go away.  Normal is the leaner face I see in the mirror from the weight I’ve lost. Normal is the Kleenex I keep in my pocket to wipe away the tears that too come easy so he doesn’t see them when I sit beside his bed.

You can read more here.

Free Gay Excerpt

I know this isn’t the longest excerpt I’ve ever posted, but it’s my latest novel in the Glendora Hill series and I often do these things for selfish reasons. I like seeing how they look on the blog, and in these raw versions (this is unedited) I often find a lot of inspiration that’s very hard to explain.

It’s so new I’m only about 25,000 words into it. I don’t even have a title, or a blurb. But I will say this: I see a lot of Christians slamming gays all the time and never taking into consideration that there are gay Christians. I wanted to put that in a book and show them.

When Kelly Barrett mapped out the route he would take from Buffalo, Wyoming to Glendora Hill, Texas, he chose one that would take him through Arizona so he could see the Grand Canyon. He planned this without fanfare or misguided expectations. He’d always dreamed of going there and knew he might not get the opportunity again for a long time.

            Kelly had taken a new position as ranch manager for a small ranch in a town set deep in Texas Hill Country called Glendora Hill. Although he’d loved working as a ranch manager in Buffalo, Wyoming, Kelly’s partner of five years, Dudley Long, had accepted the position as Pastor of a new church between Glendora Hill and Austin, Texas, and Kelly couldn’t hold him back. For a gay minister it was the opportunity of a lifetime. This new church was one of the most progressive in the country and they welcomed LGBTI people with wide open arms to the point where they’d specifically gone searching for a gay pastor.  

            The job offer came fast and Dudley couldn’t refuse because the church in Wyoming where he’d been pastor had closed six months earlier for lack of funds. When Dudley heard mention a gay couple in Glendora Hill, Texas were looking for a new ranch manager, it sounded too good to be true. The ranch in Texas was only twenty miles from the church where Dudley would be working. It was such a poor congregation there were no funds for housing and Kelly and Dudley would have to find a home of their own at their own expense. So when Kelly discovered the ranch manager position in Glendora Hill came with a great salary, full benefits, and included housing at the ranch, he aggressively went after the job without thinking twice. It was one of the few times in Kelly’s life when things actually fell into place without having to struggle too hard.

            As he pulled out of a gas station not far from the Grand Canyon, he frowned when he glanced into the rear view mirror and saw a guy on a motorcycle tailgating his truck. He was wearing a lime green and black helmet and Kelly couldn’t see his face. It was eight in the morning and there weren’t many cars on the road. Kelly glanced at the speedometer and frowned again when he saw he was doing the posted speed limit. He also wondered what was going through the guy on the motorcycle’s mind, and how he could take so much for granted. The guy seemed to trust that Kelly would not stop short or make any sudden moves, which made no sense at all for anyone who knew the basic principles of defensive driving. The motorcycle resembled a toy compared to the huge black pick-up truck Kelly was driving.

            The guy on the motorcycle followed him to the entrance of the Grand Canyon and then disappeared when Kelly pulled up to pay the admission fee. When he entered the park and spent the day walking and taking photos, he forgot all about the guy on the motorcycle. But as he pulled out of the park around five o’clock that afternoon he took a deep breath and sighed when he saw another motorcycle not far behind.

            He knew it was the same motorcycle from earlier that day because he spotted the lime green and black helmet again. But just to be certain he pulled over to the shoulder and made a phone call to Dudley in Texas to let him know where he was. As he pulled his phone out of his pocket the motorcycle passed him without fanfare, he got a closer look at the helmet, and he took another deep breath and sighed aloud. Then he dialed Dudley’s number and waited for him to answer.

            “Hey,” Dudley said, on the fourth ring. “Where are you?”
            “I’m just leaving the Grand Canyon now,” Kelly said. “It was spectacular. I wish I could have spent a few days here. I wish you could have been here. You would have loved it.”

            “We’ll make that a plan,” Dudley said. “As soon as we get settled here, that will be our first vacation.”

            “I’d like that,” Kelly said. “You’d be amazed at how many private little trails I saw. We can have so much fun behind a rock.”

            Dudley laughed and said, “I’ll bet we could.”

            Kelly smiled because Dudley’s reaction sounded fake, which meant he probably wasn’t alone. “Who’s there with you?”

            “Ah, well,” Dudley said. “I’m here with one of the church women and we’re discussing a new youth committee.”

            Kelly laughed. “I see. I guess you can’t talk about having hot sex with me in trails now, or about how I want you to pull my pants down behind a rock.”

            “I think you’re right about that,” Dudley said, pretending to laugh a little too loudly.

            Sometimes it bothered Kelly that he couldn’t act and react like other gay men he knew. It was bad enough that he was a cowboy and he had to deal with certain restrictions of his own, let alone the restrictions he faced all the time being married to a minister. As the husband of a minister he was expected to be prim and proper. He couldn’t tell dirty jokes, or swear in public. He couldn’t make campy gestures, allow his wrist to go limp, or talk about gay culture in depth. Even though Dudley’s church was highly progressive, it was still a church and people expected the pastor and his partner to behave a certain way. But he was used to it and he didn’t let it bother him often.

            “I’ll let you go then,” Kelly said. “I can see you’re busy. I’m driving through Arizona tonight and I’m not stopping until I reach New Mexico. I’ll call you in the morning.”

            “Be safe,” Dudley said. “Love you.”

            “Love you, too,” Kelly said.

            He stopped for something to eat at a fast food drive through about an hour later. He wanted to reach Silver City, New Mexico before midnight without wasting a moment. He’d planned ahead and made a reservation at a motel earlier that morning. Now that he’d seen the Grand Canyon and he’d gotten that out of his system the long road trip had lost a good deal of its excitement and all he wanted to do now was get to Texas, start his new job, and be with his husband.

            Though he’d planned for seven hours on the road, he pulled into the motel in Silver City around one in the morning and yawned when he noticed the front office was open twenty-four hours. The motel complex was a low-slung one story affair designed in an L-shape, with beige stucco exterior walls, a roof with missing Terra Cotta tiles, and a vacancy sign at the entrance that hung slightly to the right from old rusty chains. He noticed a swimming pool in the center of the complex, with plastic tables and chairs he’d seen in low-end discount stores. The pool area was surrounded by a rusted chain link fence that reminded him of an old junkyard back in Wyoming. And the only landscaping he noticed between brown weeds and thorny grey shrubs were those stereotypical cactus plants that didn’t even look real.

            He yawned again and pulled up to the front office to check in for the night. It wasn’t the kind of place he would have stayed in if he’d been traveling with Dudley. But he figured because he was alone he might as well save money, sleep in the cheapest places possible, and save up for a few new things he wanted to buy in Glendora Hill. The ranch manager’s cottage on the ranch where he would be working came furnished, and Dudley was already living there and he said he loved the way it looked. But Kelly had always been picky and he had very specific tastes. He knew, without even seeing the cottage, he would want to make changes there and those changes would cost money.

            The clerk in the main office reminded Kelly of a character in an old film, but not just one specific character. She was more of a combination of several. This woman had to be in her seventies, with long straight blond hair, parted dead center with a long chunky braid that trailed down her back. She wore too much pancake make-up in the most garish pale shade just shy of clown white, dark red lipstick, and two heavy dots of blue eye shadow. He dress was a flouncy cotton deal, with tiny pink roses and vines of ivy, a matching belt at the waist she’d cinched to the point of discomfort, and a lace collar. If she hadn’t been so deadpan in tone and lackluster in expression Kelly would have thought he’d run into the reincarnation of Baby Jane Hudson from the old Bette Davis classic, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. But when she refused to even look up and make direct eye contact with him once, she reminded him more of Norman Bates in Psycho.

Craigslist Story From Hell; Beth Robinson Vermont Supreme Court

Craigslist Story From Hell

In the past Tony and I have used Craigslist/Philadelphia for ads to find new tenants for our garage apartment rental and to sell things that range from antique rugs to cars. And other than a few of the expected quirky experiences most people expect on Craigslist, we haven’t had any grand scale unusual issues. At least not until today, and I thought I’d post about it for other people in case they aren’t familiar with Craigslist…especially if they have kids.

We’re in the process of selling one car that we’ve had for eleven years. We’re not in a rush, the car is still in great shape, and it’s been babied and garage kept since the day we took it off the showroom floor. In fact, I don’t even like selling it, which is why we’ve kept it this long. Whenever Tony brought up the topic I would change the subject. But it’s time for something newer and we put an ad on Craigslist last week. My problem is the emotional attachment. I LOVE it.

The ad we posted was a standard affair, with a dozen photos that I thought looked better than some I’ve seen dealers post in their web sites. So far, we’ve had replies from some very nice, wonderful people, one of whom actually did a car fax report and offered it to me for free. He’s in Richmond, VA, and couldn’t make it up here last weekend because of the weather. He still might be a strong buyer, but even if he’s not he’s still a great person for going to that trouble. He didn’t have to do that. And he’s not the only nice person who has contacted us. We had one guy who was a small dealer locally see the car and make an offer, but we couldn’t agree on a price and parted friends. Two days later, he e-mailed me and told me he did buy a similar car at the price he wanted, but then told me to stand firm on my price and that he thought it was fair. Seriously. You don’t find nicer people than that!!

But today I had the all-time fruitcake of Craigslist contact me, and it was the most unusual thing I’ve ever seen. Instead of stating interest in the car, he wanted to trade some kind of alcoholic beverage event for the car, which was really nothing more than vulgar, low-end self-promotion through craigslist in order to promote himself and a small unheard of radio show he has on a small local radio station no one listens to. I replied this way, verbatim, from my inbox:

Please don’t spam me again. I’m not fond of that and I’m being very polite right now.

I’ve had a long day. I really was trying to be polite to him. I don’t spam people that way and I don’t like anyone doing it to me to promote themselves. ESPECIALLY on Craigslist.

He replied this way, verbatim with all the spelling errors:

You are a total imbecile and ill be flagging your post…and im not selling XXXX…you’re very defensive…buyers beware methinks…get off of craigslist you amateur con man

Again, my reply, which I always keep, with screen shots, just in case:

Spam is spam. I’m selling a car honestly and with good intentions to nice people. I’m not interested in XXX or anyone hocking XXX.

As you can see I haven’t posted his name or what he was selling and promoting because I don’t want to give him any more attention than he deserves. But what really bothered me the most was that young adults who are underage are buying and selling cars (and things) on CL and his spam could have been sent to any of my nephews and nieces and they could have been taken in by his scam.

He continued to harass me a few more times, and even laughed at the fact that I was concerned about minors and blasted me for being too “American.” I’m not joking about that. I won’t repeat the things he said here now. But it ended when I stated in no uncertain terms that I would report him to CL if he continued to harass me. I still might. I’m not sure about that. I’m also not sure about whether or not CL will even do anything about it. I’ve been through situations like this with other online places like CL and I didn’t get much satisfaction. So I decided to post about it here anyway, so people can see some of the things you might have to deal with on CL. In some cases, we are all dealing with the Wild West days of the Internet. Most of the time it’s safe and there are no issues, but you always have to be on guard for the few wing nuts out there spamming who don’t think there’s anything wrong with minors having controlled substances.

Beth Robinson Vermont Supreme Court

I’m posting about Beth Robinson who serves on the Vermont Supreme Court for several reasons, one of which I can’t disclose right now but will announce sometime very soon.

Robinson is openly gay and has been important to same sex marriage and civil unions. From wiki:

Robinson served as co-counsel in the case of Baker v. State, the landmark 1999 decision that led to Vermont becoming the first state to enact civil unions. She was subsequently involved in the 2009 legislative battle to enact same-sex marriage, chairing Vermont Freedom to Marry and working closely with Shumlin, a prominent supporter of same-sex marriage, who was then president pro tempore of the Vermont Senate. Robinson was also involved in Shumlin’s gubernatorial campaign.

You can read more at the link above, and I’ll be posting something else about Robinson very soon.