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#DecisionDayPA is here!  Pennsylvania Joins the 21st Century

#DecisionDayPA is here! Pennsylvania Joins the 21st Century

U.S. District Judge John Jones issued a ruling today that Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional!

(Reuters) – A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage, the latest in a series of court decisions across the country confirming gay couples’ rights to wed.

Finding Pennsylvania’s 1996 Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, District Court Judge John Jones III wrote: “By virtue of this ruling, same-sex couples who seek to marry in Pennsylvania may do so, and already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth.”

The ruling makes Pennsylvania the 19th U.S. state where gay marriage is allowed, a movement that has gained momentum since the Supreme Court ruled last June that legally married same-sex couples are eligible for federal benefits.

I am so happy. This has been a long time coming for some of us.  On September 2nd, 2001, Brian and I, along with some of our friends made the trek north to Warren, VT so Brian and I could be joined in a Civil Union in the only place in the Eastern USA where that was possible.  In the 13 years since then we have watched couples like ourselves achieve legal recognition of their relationships as, state by state, we watched the world change and become more equal and more compassionate.

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Farewell to a Landmark: Giovanni’s Room is Closing

Farewell to a Landmark: Giovanni’s Room is Closing

Giovanni's Room MarkerI heard the sad news tonight on Facebook.  One of the key locations I associate with my teenage years is closing its doors for good.  As a teenager in Bucks County I took SEPTA down into Center City every Saturday for the meetings of the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Youth Group that met in the Dignity space on 12th street between Locust and Spruce.

This was in 1985-1986, so the meetings tend to run together in my head now.  What I remember more than the meetings was the walk down to Pine Street Pizza after the meeting where some of us would hang out and talk for an hour or two over a couple of slices for lunch.  When lunch broke up I always – and I mean always – walked across the street to Giovanni’s Room.   I saved my money all week so I could spend it there.  The store was full of amazing things for sale from (to my youthful eyes) the raunchiest prose on earth to some of the most beautiful art and photography books I have ever seen.  I’ never had enough money to get everything I wanted between the novels and music and comic books I needed to own.

Despite moving many, many times since those days, I still have a few things I bought there.  I still have my anatomically correct Billy doll (It was the cowboy version) that, according to eBay, would be worth 100-200 bucks had I left it in its original box.  I also have one of my all time favorite collections of comics:  Howard Cruse’s Wendel on the Rebound.

Wendel on the Rebound

Wendel on the Rebound

I’ll be traveling to New York for Streaming Media East the week the store closes, so I hope that this weekend or next I can get downtown to grab a few more mementos to keep those quasi-closeted 1980s memories alive.
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