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Kate Clinton: He Sees Gay People

Kate Clinton,
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June 16, 2008

After my Memorial Day run at the Crown and Anchor in Ptown, I took a lovely local nine-seater CapeAir plane into Boston for the 27th Annual MA Bill of Rights dinner. The pilot was in training and kept reading the laminated instruction list. It was a quaint reminder of early flight.

But if you want to meet some real risk-takers, look no further than the honorees at the ACLU dinner. The founder of Boston’s Wainright Bank, committed to progressive lending and minority ideals, disproves the real current mantra, “When banks compete, you lose.” While Errol Morris’s film Standard Operating Procedure is certainly not what you’d call a date movie, he deserved the recognition for telling the back story of Abu Ghraib. Ironically, on the same day of the release Scott McClellan’s belated tell-all book What Happened, Watergate’s John Dean, was honored for his work.

MA ACLU also honored the twenty years of work of their legislative director, Norma Shapiro. The diminutive, Jewish grandmother strong-armed the Catholic boys of the Legislature into passing gay marriage in MA. Talk about a vein of iron. Lots of attendees got me aside and whispered, “She knows where the bodies are buried.” I bet she knows the whereabouts of fugitive Whitey Bulger.

And then it was off to San Fransisters and the NCLR Gala Dinner. And more about gay marriage They were partying and celebrating the lifting of the ban on gay marriage in CA before they go off to fight yet another costly ballot initiative. I wondered why we can’t sue the fundamentalists for harassment. The NCLR lawyers told me they couldn’t and that you can’t initiate a ballot to get rid of ballot initiatives. Dang.

Two of the marriage plaintiffs, and my good friends, Jeanne Rizzo and Pali Cooper took me to a Giants Game at their lovely in-town stadium. It was Until There’s a Cure Night at the park and the SF Gay Men’s Chorus did a mini-concert before the game. The crowd cheered them and long time city pol, and comic, Tom Ammiano who read a declaration from Mayor Gavin Newsom. We’ve come a long way since 1981. The Giants lost in extra innings, but we were long gone because it was a gusty 42 degrees and I did not have on my stadium hot pants.

I kicked off Gay Pride Month, by appearing in the True Colors Tour lineup at Radio City Music Hall: The Cliks, the Indigo Girls, Regina Spektor, Rosie O’Donnell, the B-52’s and finally Cyndi Lauper still kicking her eight octave range. I pinch myself.

After the craziness of CA, and I must say there was some flaunting and taunting — “So when are you and yours coming out here to get married?”— it was great to be back in New York, where Gov. David Paterson issued an executive order that NY State must recognize out-of-state, same-sex marriages. After Gov. Spitzer and Paterson’s own revelations about his marital excursions, it might be that NY doesn’t actually recognize in-state, same-old-sex marriage.

Nonetheless it was a proud moment. Paterson said that when he was little, whenever his parents went out, they would leave him with his uncles Stanley and Rodney. They played cards with him and helped him with his homework. Because of that early and formative familiarity, though legally blind, he sees gay people.