A Documentary History of America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2007
Jpegs available of Gozemba, Yengo-Kahn and Griffith, McLaughlin and Maynard, and the cover of Courting Equality.
At a ceremony on Monday, September 24, authors of Courting Equality: A
Documentary History of America's First Legal Same-Sex Marriages officially commenced plans to donate a copy of their book to every public high school in Massachusetts. Greater Boston Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) presented the first of these books to Lexington High School. The town of Lexington began receiving national attention when parent David Parker filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the school system after his son was shown a book that mentioned the existence of families headed by gay couples. Brian Camenker of the anti-gay activist group Mass Resistance appeared at the book donation ceremony to stage a protest.
PFLAG chose the Lexington school system to receive the first copy of the book because of the town’s commitment to diverse, safe, and welcoming schools for children of all families. This commitment to education inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues has put the town under legal attack from Mass Resistance.
PFLAG president Stan Griffith, a Lexington resident, said that “Courting Equality captures one of the defining moments in the struggle for equality and dignity for all. The message of marriage equality has resonated around the world. We want students to know about this.”
Carla Yengo-Kahn, a sophomore at Lexington High, accepted the book on behalf of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). Yengo-Kahn, noted, “It is appropriate that my high school should get the first book. We are from Lexington, the birthplace of the American Revolution, which was fought for the very principles of freedom central to our democracy, and appropriately our educational system.” She added, “In our curriculum everyone is a part of ‘we the people.’”
Lexington High GSA advisor, Melissa Buttaro, welcomed Courting Equality. "The book is gorgeous. Thank you for such a generous and moving gift. It will have an important place in our GSA library."
The legal battles over inclusive education continue for Lexington. Despite a victory in February 2007, when Federal Judge Mark Wolf dismissed Parker’s lawsuit, the town will be back in court. Parker and Mass Resistance have now turned to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Greater Boston PFLAG is in the process of filing a Friend of the Court brief supporting the Lexington town officials.
PFLAG’s donation was made possible by a generous gift from Chip McLaughlin and Keith Maynard, the married same-sex couple on the cover of Courting Equality. McLaughlin commented, “It is wonderful to know that this generation of school age kids in Massachusetts can have the same sweet dreams as their friends and potentially healthier relationships with a celebration of marriage.”
Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America’s first Legal Same-Sex Marriages was released by Beacon Press on May 16, 2007
Through engaging storytelling and more than 100 powerful photographs Courting Equality provides a front-row seat to this successful battle for gay marriage in Massachusetts. From early efforts by LGBT activists for family and parenting rights, to the instant celebrations and protests in the months following the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s decision in Goodridge vs. the Department of Public Health, Patricia A. Gozemba, Karen Kahn and photographer Marilyn Humphries take readers inside the landmark fight for equal marriage rights.
Congressman Barney Frank on Courting Equality
"Courting Equality is a very important book on several levels. First, it chronicles the events that led up to same sex marriage in Massachusetts, a historic event in our country’s move towards making the wonderful principles of the Constitution applicable to all of our citizens. Second, it shows how political support in the elected Legislature grew rapidly as the reality of allowing same-sex couples to love each other demolished the prejudices that prevented same-sex marriage previously. Finally, it reinforces the point—which was no surprise to those of us fighting for equal treatment for all people—that same-sex marriage has been an entirely positive thing for thousands of men and women in Massachusetts, and has had zero negative consequences at all. Too often, political literature focuses on the bad news, Courting Equality tells some very good news very well."