Straight Mom Speaks “From The Heart” To Encourage Marriage Equality

“Straight people are in their own type of closet,” says Gretchen Hamm. When her daughter told her that she would be getting married and had finally set a date, Gretchen Hamm was thrilled. But then she realized that she wasn’t sure how to tell her friends that her daughter was marrying a woman, not a man. “The more I talked about the fact that I had a daughter who was getting married, the more I came to realize that, at some point, I’d have to say, ‘Oh, she’s marrying a woman.’ It was confronting for me to start doing that because I never knew what my listener thought.”
Mrs. Hamm soon realized that others felt the same way. “Most often they’d go, “oh my sisters gay, my best friend’s gay, my uncle’s gay… it was like opening the flood gates for people to talk about what they can’t talk about!” Mrs. Hamm, owner of &, founded her online wedding boutiques for GLBT couples long before it was vogue, and is just one of the sincere voices featured on the new CD, From The Heart.
From The Heart will be released on September 20, 2005 and is a creative partnership between the Wedding Party and Tone 1 Music Group. “This CD has 18 talented artists, who identify as straight and gay, are influenced by several different genres (including pop, rock, folk, ballads, gospel, R&B, dance), and all of them have generously donated their songs for everyone’s right to marry,” says producer, Mykel.
“Creating this CD was a real labor of love,” says associate producer Jason Kadlec. This unique listening experience unites real voices with song, weaving together into one huge story about love. “This collection of songs,” says Kathryn Hamm, lesbian daughter of Gretchen and another featured voice on the CD, “is made all the more powerful by the excerpts of personal stories which introduce each song.”
From The Heart has real emotion with refreshing insights and it reveals an important key to ending discrimination: communication,” says Renee Rotkopf, Executive Director of The Wedding Party, a non-profit organization based in New York City, which celebrates same-sex partnership and educates the public on the need for equal marriage rights.
From The Heart creates conversations,” says Anthony Brown, Director of Development for the Wedding Party. “It’s an effort that The Wedding Party knows will inspire Americans and others around the world to speak out and support every one’s right to marry.”
Åsa Rydman, a Swedish-born singer and songwriter whose songs were featured in the film, “Funny Valentine,” starring Anthony Michael Hall, and who counts Queen Silva amongst her former audience members, performs “Seeds of Love” on the CD. “I believe,” she says, “that music can enlighten people’s souls, build bridges between people, and be a means to celebrate love.”
Another contributing artist, Deena Noroian, who has performed as an opening act for Pat Benatar, puts it quite simply: “To me, equality is just an obvious means to a civilized society. It’s so plain and simple. I don’t understand what all the resistance is about.”
Song samples from From The Heart are available here.

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