Red Letter Day

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Full court press? Or media whoredom?

Dave sent our press release out to a few papers this morning. It feels weird (and self-aggrandizing) to do it (even though Dave actually hit the 'send' button). One could say this is a public statement of our relationship, but this isn't news (pardon the pun) to anyone who knows us, friends, family, co-workers, and so forth. I think Dave is right that by telling more people about what is really a legal formality will hopefully show the world (or at least a small part of it) that same-sex marriage is not a big deal or any kind of "threat." However, it still feels strange to have this mix of the public and private.

Actually writing the thing felt a little bit like writing a news story for the Onion, complete with the headline. The release was entitled "Lawrence gay couple expect to be first from Kansas to be legally married in California" which sounds much better then "Area sodomites mock God" which is probably how the Christian News Service will run the story.

Anyway, here's the actual release....

Lawrence residents Mike Silverman and Dave Greenbaum will be one the first same-sex couples from Kansas to get legally married in California, and most likely the first such couple from the state to be legally married anywhere in the United States after the pair receive a marriage license in San Francisco, California on at 8:15am on June 17th. Silverman and Greenbaum, who have been together for over twelve years and who had a Jewish ceremony recognizing their union nine years ago, decided to take this important legal step both to provide their relationship with the legal protections of a marriage license as well as make a statement in favor of of equality in Kansas.

California will begin granting marriage licenses equally to all couples on June 17th. Prior to this date, only Massachusetts offered same-sex couples marriage licenses, but these were primarily limited to residents of that state. Although the couple could have travelled abroad to get a marriage license, as American citizens it was important to them to get an American marriage certificate. According to Silverman and Greenbaum, Kansas should recognize their marriage. "When we travelled to California, that state recognized my drivers license issued by Kansas. We would hope that similarly, Kansas will recognize our marriage license" said Greenbaum. The couple realize the Kansas Constitution contains a provision refusing to recognize same-sex marriages, but this may run afoul of the United States Constitution's "full faith and credit" clause, which requires states to recognize other states' official actions.

In past years, the couple submitted testimony to the Kansas Senate in opposition to Kansas' anti-marriage amendment, and made it clear at the time that they intended to seek "any and all legal recognition of their relationship" as was written in their Ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract. This marriage license is the fulfillment of this commitment Silverman and Greenbaum made to each other nine years ago in Omaha, Nebraska at their wedding ceremony at the synagogue Temple Israel.

The couple travelled to California from Lawrence, the first city in the state with both a domestic partner registry and an inclusive antidiscrimination clause and from Kansas, a state founded in opposition to oppression and slavery. Silverman and Greenbaum, who proudly brought their University of Kansas attire with them to California, will provide a sharp contrast to infamous hate preacher Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas, who does not represent the true values of that state. "We wanted to show that we are proud to be from Kansas, and we hope that our home state one day soon will live up to its founding values and recognize marriage for all its citizens" said Silverman.

Silverman and Greenbaum are happy to make themselves available for interviews with media by calling (redacted) or emailing (redacted). They will also be blogging daily about their experience at



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