Marriage Rights in the Media.

Author:Gaffney, Stuart
Position:6D Paper Summary

My mother, who is Chinese American, was only able to marry my father, who is white, because of the California Supreme Court's 1948 Perez decision overturning California's anti-miscegenation law. Without that decision, my family might not exist. Similarly, I was only able to marry my partner of nineteen years, John Lewis, because San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom enforced the California Constitution's guarantees of equality under the law in 2004.

In "Marriage Rights in the Media," I discuss the contrast between directing marriage-themed films and videos and then having the camera turned on me as my husband and I became the subjects of media coverage. I presented two of my own video works--Muni to the Marriage, which explores the parallels between my parents' marriage and my own, and Secret Sounds, which tells the story of my discovery that my grandfather had two wives. I then presented news clips from television coverage of our 2004 San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade wedding float featuring same-sex couples married in San Francisco City Hall. In addition, panelist Willy Wilkinson and I each told our personal stories of getting married in San Francisco City Hall and experiencing our city government recognizing our relationships as fully deserving of equality under the law.

In the proud tradition of Chinese Americans and Asian Pacific Islander people standing up for equal marriage rights, John and I became plaintiffs with Cristy Chung and Lancy Woo in Woo v. Lockyer, the California lawsuit seeking to declare California's ban on marriage for same-sex couples unconstitutional. I closed my presentation by quoting from California Assemblymember Judy Chu's remarks before the California Legislature when she rose in support of AB 849, Assemblymember Mark Leno's marriage equality bill. She stated:

I rise in support of AB 849.... 125 years ago, on this very floor of the California State...

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