Scroll To Top

The Community Reacts: Sally Field

The Community Reacts: Sally Field


The movers and shakers of the LGBT community tell The Advocate how they feel about the California supreme court's landmark decision May 15 to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

I know there will be a lot more work to do before all the people all across America accept this ruling as right and fair -- but I so hope that our country is beginning to change even before we elect a new administration.

The Community Reacts: Pete Wentz

I am happy to get married [to Ashlee Simpson on Saturday] in the same state where the state supreme court recognizes the union of gay/lesbian couples. It seems like we could have a hell of a bash as a joint anniversary over in West Hollywood next year!

The Community Reacts: Lance Bass

I am thrilled that the California supreme court has come to realize that you can't outlaw love and has chosen to join the state of Massachusetts in setting a historical precedent in its demonstration that all loving relationships deserve the same level of respect and recognition under the law, regardless of the gender of those involved.

The Community Reacts: Alicia Banks

Oakland, Calif., is my favorite city on Earth... Now I revere California even more as gay marriage has finally been legalized there!!! The coolest gay people I have ever met live in California. Kudos to California's supreme court justices who have now made it possible for gay couples to live as full citizens with fully equal rights.

Civil rights are like pregnancy. They never exist partially. One is pregnant or not. One is married or not. Period. Marriage secures assets, insurance benefits, wills, income, tax breaks, pensions, property, custody, peace, and overall quality of life. Gay bashers are lewdly and exclusively obsessed with gay sex. They absolutely ignore all gay love. God is love. All true love is sacred. God blesses all true love.

I have only two phobias: marriage and divorce. I will probably never get married, as I have been way too traumatized by the droves of divorces I witness... But, if I ever change my mind, I will swiftly return to California to get married...

Thank God for California!!!!!!!

The Community Reacts: California State Senator Sheila Kuehl

The Advocate: What was your reaction when you heard the decision? Kuehl: I was completely overjoyed, and so were all of my Democratic colleagues. Everyone came and hugged me and [Senator Carol] Migden and [Senator Christine] Kehoe.

How did you find out? About one minute to 10 a.m., people started gathering around my desk, and when we were able to get the document, we started going through [Chief Justice Ronald] George's opinion. Then at about 11 a.m., the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee was on the phone with Justice George, and so I got a chance to get on the phone with him and I got to thank him. Then, Justice Joyce Kennedy was in the building, speaking in favor of an appointment nominee, so I went down to the chambers and spoke with her too.

This must be particularly gratifying after the state legislature passed a marriage bill twice only to be vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger both times. I thought it was generous and wonderful of the governor that literally 10 minutes after the opinion was announced, he issued a statement backing the opinion of the court. He said that he would uphold the opinion, and he said he would come out in opposition to any attempts to strike it down.

How are you going to celebrate this victory? I already have tickets to the theater, so I can't go to the big party in West Hollywood. But I felt like I got the best of my world today because my friends in the legislature were all here. We went through all the gay bills together over the past decade -- the students bill, the hate-crimes amendment, the fair employment act. We've got a great group here.

The Community Reacts: Brian Graden, president, MTV Networks Music Group Entertainment and Logo

I'm speechless because the words in the decision have more power than anything anyone can say about them. Visibility, on television and elsewhere, humanizes love and creates a world of inclusion we can all be proud of, gay and straight alike.

The Community Reacts: Andrew Sullivan

This is a great moment and one we have been waiting for for so long. What is critical in this ruling is that the court understands that granting gay couples a "separate and distinct" institution, domestic partnership, inherently asserts our inferiority as family members and citizens. It violates our core dignity. The m word matters -- not just in law, not just for the federal government, but also in our souls and psyches.

But today is also the beginning of something: the chance to win this vital ballot initiative in November that our enemies have launched to take this right away. It will be the biggest and most expensive struggle in the history of the gay civil rights movement, and we had all better commit totally to making the case: person by person, everywhere we can, with anyone we know and love. I will never forget the day I was able to marry my husband. It made all the arguments and ideas a reality. And it changed my life, as it has changed the lives of so many others. This act doesn't just grant us equality; it grants us the chance for a new empowerment, in our hearts and souls.

Today, we all celebrate. In a month, Californians wed. In November, Californians vote. This is a time for great joy but also for great vigilance.

Can we win it? As someone once put it: Yes, we can!

The Community Reacts: Judge David Young

As a judge, I have dedicated my life to fighting injustice. When Martin Luther King Jr. was sitting in a jail once in Alabama, a reporter asked him why he, as a preacher from Georgia, was so concerned about what happened in another state. Dr. King responded that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." His elegant declaration still guides us today -- and that's why we all should be thrilled by the ruling of the California supreme court, which overrules an insidious form of discrimination.

This is not really an issue of gay rights -- it is an issue of basic justice. State-sanctioned discrimination (allowing a government to decide whom we can marry) is a threat to the liberty of all Americans. We no longer allow a government to dictate that we can marry only within our own race (as we once did). And the "institution" survived interracial marriage without incident; it will certainly survive this too. We are a nation of laws. We seek justice in our legal system. We cannot allow fear or hatred to blind us to these goals, which have established the American Constitution as a beacon for the world. And make no mistake -- this is purely a legal issue. No citizen, and certainly no church, will be forced to do anything at all. But the government in California can no longer discriminate. That's all the supreme court ruled.

And really, folks, what's the big deal? If I have the legal right to visit my partner in a hospital, will that interfere with your kid's soccer practice? If I have the right to affirm my love in a public ceremony, will that prevent you from buying an anniversary gift? Or making your mortgage payment? Or getting the car serviced? Or any of the other thousands of things couples do in their daily lives? What has happened in Massachusetts in the years since that state began permitting gay marriage? Nothing. And everything. Because the injustice in Massachusetts ended. And that made liberty for us all a little bit more secure.

How not to end up in my courtroom with your brand-new same-sex spouse

We all know the flip side of same-sex marriage is going to be same-sex divorce. That won't be pretty. But, hey -- we can't get the benefits without anticipating the burdens. Long-term companionship stories are inspiring. But some otherwise rational people will inevitably be reduced to childish behavior when their feelings get hurt. My partner is a judge who presides over (straight) divorce cases now. You wouldn't believe the stuff he sees every day. Lesbians and gays won't be immune from that nonsense, but there are ways to minimize the risks:

1. Write a pre-nup. Disputes over money can cause even the hottest flame to burn out. Talk about jobs. Talk about who pays the bills. Talk about your expectations for each other. Talk now about retirement.

2. Talk about sex. Not for some kinky thrill (although that might be fun) but simply to get your expectations out on the table. And don't make any promises you aren't prepared to keep.

3. Talk about kids. Whether to have them; how to raise them. Again, it's about sharing your attitudes now, while you're calm. Trust me. The talk won't go as well if you are already jealous or resentful. And please -- don't ever put kids in the middle. They deserve a happy childhood, whether you have a happy marriage or not.

Full disclosure is essential. Talk about absolutely everything. Healthy adult relationships are about compromise. But you can't compromise if you keep secrets.

The Community Reacts: Cynthia Nixon

This is a very happy day for California. I know people there have been fighting a long battle for the legalization of same-sex marriage. Americans everywhere should feel proud of this important advance in civil rights.

The Community Reacts: John Amaechi

My very first reaction was that I was quite surprised. I watched the arguments on television and I watched the debates, and to me, as a partisan member of this debate, it seemed like it was such a wonderful logical argument that wasn't about special treatment but about pure equity. Still, I just didn't expect that the supreme court would come back with such a wonderful decision. So I am thrilled.

But at the same time, I want to see how this is going to translate. The sad fact is that when reasonable people move to bring equity to the masses, there always seems to be an objection and someone who wants to try and stop that from happening.

I would have to have a partner, of course, first, before I would consider getting married, but I hope to get married someday. The inability for LGBT people to get married and have their partnership recognized publicly does damage to their relationship. It hinders the recognition of LGBT people in society on the whole. And I think everyone deserves to have that spectacular day that sits beautifully in their memory for the rest of their lives.

The Community Reacts: Margaret Cho

I am overwhelmed. I can't believe it. I am so thrilled. I am proud of my home state of California and so happy for all the soon-to-be-married gay and lesbian couples!!

The Community Reacts: Marc Jacobs

Who to love and how to love should be up to the individual or the couple. Enough said!

The Community Reacts: Ellen DeGeneres

I'm thrilled that the California supreme court overturned the ban on gay marriage. I can't wait to get married. We all deserve the same rights, and I believe that someday we'll look back on this and not allowing gays to marry will seem as absurd as not allowing women to vote.

P.S. I'm registered at Crate & Barrel.

The Community Reacts: Portia de Rossi

Love is the most personal of human emotions. I am deeply grateful to the state of California for allowing all of its citizens the right to express their love equally under the law.

The Community Reacts: Melissa Etheridge

The Advocate: How do you feel? Melissa: I feel they have made an honest woman of me. What a wonderful blessing for us and the gay community. We're moving forward. It makes me feel happy for the whole human race that we are finally getting out of our differences and coming together and we are putting this all behind us. It really is going to be the thing that we talk to our kids and our grandkids and say, "That was the olden days -- wasn't that ridiculous?"

Where were you when you heard? Were you following the case closely? Yesterday my wife [Tammy Lynn Michaels] said, "Hey, they are going to vote." And it had been since March since they said they were going to do it, so you kind of forget that people are fighting every day for this. So yesterday my wife said, "Tomorrow they are going to come down with it." So I turned the news on this morning and they said any minute we are supposed to hear this, and so I have been listening. But then I dropped the kids off at school and I did a couple of errands and when I came home I said, "Honey, have you heard anything?" She went back and got on her computer and five minutes later she came back and said, "Whoo! We are married!" [laughs]

So I assume you are planning on getting legally married now? Well, we had a wedding in 2003, and then we got the domestic partnership after that, so now my wife and I have to sit down and think, what will the formal thing be that we do? I don't know if we want to do the whole full-on thing again because we did do that, and that was our ceremony to ourselves. But I think this calls for a party.

Will you be one of the first people in line when they issue marriage licenses? I...I think so. Maybe we should call and get them to... I don't know. Should I make a big deal out of it or should I just be quiet? I never know when to do the press thing or not.

It seems like you are at the forefront of this. You are the one thanking your wife at the Oscars. You have been a leader on this issue. I think it would be kind of amazing if you were one of the first ones there. Maybe.

Most important, what do you think this means for your kids? You know that's the thing. I was just talking to someone about this, and I get all choked up about this because I think that the part that people who don't really understand this issue don't realize is that we are people with jobs and families. We have kids. And there have been years and years of explaining to them. I remember when it was on Schwarzenegger's desk and we were like "Oh, if he signs it, we may be able to get married." And then he vetoed it, and we were like, "Oh, mean governor!" So they have gone through this with us, and I can't wait to pick them up from school today and say, "Hey, your parents are just as married as anybody else's." That's a big thing. It's going to be a good day.

The Community Reacts: Jane Lynch

Just as it should be. Just right. Finally.

The Community Reacts: Chad Allen

I have to say I was completely shocked at the level of emotion of my own reaction. It's not that I didn't care, it's just that I didn't know that I cared that much. But when I found out about it, I was so full of joy and happiness and I was really emotional. I think that just relays the sense that when you are denied something, at least for myself, I tend to try and disregard its importance. And when all of a sudden it happened, I realized there was a part of me that wanted it so desperately.

I think it's of massive importance for our self-esteem and the personal level of acceptance that we all struggle for as gay and lesbian people, for us to simply know that this part of our dreams is even capable of coming true.

I'm thinking about getting married. I am in love with my partner, deeply madly in love with him, and though I am not ready to propose yet, it is in there. I have always said that I wasn't going to do it until I could do it legally, and now that we can and it's real, there is even a little bit of pressure now, like "I can't use that excuse anymore." It's a kind of pressure that, say, my sister has always had going into a relationship, wondering if this is the one and what about popping the question, and when do you do it and how do you know. But I have lived in ignorance of that until today.

The Community Reacts: Del Shores

Shores: Today was HUGE for our family. And when my 15-year-old daughter, Caroline, sent me a text that said, "Daddy, congrats on gay marriage being legal!!! I sent out a mass text!" -- I completely lost it. Reality finally hit me. So, Jason [Dottley], will you marry me again -- this time legally?"

Dottley: Yes, Del Shores, I will marry you -- and it's about damn time!"

The Community Reacts: Bryan Batt

I think it's great. It's very simple when you think about it -- equal rights, human rights for every citizen -- that is what this country is supposed to be about.

The Community Reacts: Greg Berlanti, writer on ABC's Brothers & Sisters

Since, unfortunately, neither of our remaining Democratic presidential candidates can openly embrace this historic moment in civil rights history, today is as good a day as any to reflect on the words and courage of another politician -- Spain's prime minister, Jose Zapatero. The following is an excerpt from his speech upon passing Spain's historic gay human rights legislation. Hopefully, everyone is already familiar with it. If not, enjoy:

"We are not legislating, honorable members, for people far away and not known by us. We are enlarging the opportunity for happiness to our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends, and our families: at the same time we are making a more decent society, because a decent society is one that does not humiliate its members.

"In the poem 'The Family,' our [gay] poet Luis Cernuda was sorry because, 'How does man live in denial in vain by giving rules that prohibit and condemn?'

"Today, the Spanish society answers to a group of people who, during many years have been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, whose dignity has been offended, their identity denied, and their liberty oppressed. Today the Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and restores their liberty.

"It is true that they are only a minority, but their triumph is everyone's triumph. It is also the triumph of those who oppose this law, even though they do not know this yet: because it is the triumph of Liberty. Their victory makes all of us (even those who oppose the law) better people, it makes our society better. Honorable members, there is no damage to marriage or to the concept of family in allowing two people of the same sex to get married. To the contrary, what happens is this class of Spanish citizens get the potential to organize their lives with the rights and privileges of marriage and family. There is no danger to the institution of marriage, but precisely the opposite: this law enhances and respects marriage.

"Today, conscious that some people and institutions are in a profound disagreement with this change in our civil law, I wish to express that, like other reforms to the marriage code that preceded this one, this law will generate no evil, that its only consequence will be the avoiding of senseless suffering of decent human beings. A society that avoids senseless suffering of decent human beings is a better society.

"With the approval of this bill, our country takes another step in the path of liberty and tolerance that was begun by the democratic change of government. Our children will look at us incredulously if we tell them that many years ago, our mothers had less rights than our fathers, or if we tell them that people had to stay married against their will even though they were unable to share their lives. Today we can offer them a beautiful lesson: Every right gained, each access to liberty has been the result of the struggle and sacrifice of many people that deserve our recognition and praise.

The Community Reacts: T.R. Knight

Our "certain inalienable rights" are protected today. It makes me proud to live in a country that works to correct its sins.

The Community Reacts: Jack Drescher, past chair of the APA's Committee on GLB Issues

As California moves toward equality, we can only hope that the rest of the states will soon follow suit.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories Editors