Friday, June 5, 2009

Rapid City, South Dakota, speaks on gay marriage

Remember this is a state which (barely) passed a gay marriage + civil union ban in 2006, with their neighbor to the north passing one in 2008.

Rapid City woman likens gay activism to 1960s civil rights movement

Sandy Magnavito can relate to her son's worries about the legality of his marriage.

Freddie Magnavito wed his partner, Dan, in a ceremony held three years ago at the Black Forest Inn. Recently, the couple made it legal by obtaining a domestic partnership certificate in Olympia, Wash., where they live.

But they still worry that their legal rights as a "married" couple won't be respected if they move away from Washington, one of 11 states and the District of Columbia that currently offer legal recognition of same-sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships.

"It's my understanding that they can still have problems when they move to another state -- that their civil union won't be recognized legally," Sandy Magnavito said.

Those problems take Sandy Magnavito back to 1970, when she was a new bride in an interracial marriage. State laws prohibiting marriage or sex between men and women of different races had been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967. But as a black woman married to a white man less than three years after that decision, Magnavito was still nervous about driving across the South in 1972 on their way to the University of Texas, where her husband, Fred, was enrolled in a doctoral program.

Sandy Magnavito and her husband never encountered questions about the validity of their marriage certificate. But she worries that Freddie and Dan may have problems, with insurance coverage or medical issues that most married couples take for granted, if they move to one of the many states, including South Dakota, that officially prohibit gay unions.

Read the rest at the RCJ website ....

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