On The Road With Kathryn

teamHRC2.jpgEvery so often, I find myself immersed in a whirlwind of activity. This weekend certainly ranks up there.
On Friday, I spent a few hours at my fifteenth college reunion and enjoyed participating as a distinguished speaker on a panel called “Love, Courtship and Marriage: How Have Relationships Changed?” at Princeton University’s Alumni-Faculty Forum series. Hendrik Hartog, who wrote a book on the history of marriage and serves as the Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton, moderated our discussion.
I’m not certain as to the exact head count in the auditorium, but I do know that our panel offered its two cents on the topic to a standing room only crowd. Who can blame them? If one wasn’t drawn in by curiosity about the topic of gay weddings on the eve of a President’s Bush renewed and unfortunate support of the Federal Marriage Amendment, one would most certainly have been drawn in by the likes of retired minister and published author, Robert K. Hudnut; clinical psychologist, Miguel Firpi; or, the nationally-renowned pediatrician and author, Dr. Alan Greene, who pioneered the first physician online resource and is the pediatric expert for Yahoo!.
The discussion, which Professor Hertog began with a 10 minute overview of marriage and societal trends, ranged from the role of rituals in relationships to questions about divorce and its effects on other family members, especially children. After the panel, I had the opportunity to speak to a few audience members and one young man’s comments, in particular, resonated with me.
He said that he is in a committed heterosexual relationship and wondered if he and his partner should go to Massachusetts to get married. Perhaps, he suggested, a marriage license from Massachusetts which is available to both opposite and same sex couples, would, as such, be the most valuable license and statement of commitment there is. An interesting thought, indeed.
Speaking of Massachusetts, you might also appreciate a statistic which Bob Hudnut offered: the state with the lowest divorce rate in the country (Massachusetts), is also the only state to offer a marriage license to same sex couples. A compelling statistic, to be sure. Perhaps embracing same sex unions rather than maligning them might help this country reverse its growing divorce rates.
On Saturday, I was on a plane to Dallas to set up shop for the week in our Texas HQ and to play in HRC’s Fairways to Equality Golf Tournament with my dad. He is an avid golfer and is a new member of HRC’s Dallas Federal Club. And, when he heard about this tournament, he didn’t hesitate to ask me to come and play with him.
Those of you who have followed our family’s story know that we all stand by the notion that same sex unions can be transformative for the entire family. My dad is certainly one who was transformed by his time with my community and wedding.
If you’d told him 10 years ago that he would be playing in a golf tournament with 140 lesbians, I don’t think he would have believed you.
But, play he did. He joined me, another straight ally, and a new friend (who joined us on the day of the tournament) to battle talented golfers, a tempting martini service cart, and 100+ degree weather and we had a wonderful time. We even managed to win low gross on the tournament which was a very proud moment for us.
As I consider what this week holds in store for our community, especially with President Bush and his political shenanigans and scapegoating of same sex couples, I begin with an appreciation of those straight allies, like my parents, Bob Hudnut and the other folks I met at Princeton, and so many others. If we can pull together and build bridges between our communitiees rather than erecting walls, our country will be that much better off.

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