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Prop. 8: Gay and lesbian families say they feel part of history

March 26, 2013|By Jessica Garrison
  • Sandy Stier, left, and Kris Perry of Berkeley, plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case.
Sandy Stier, left, and Kris Perry of Berkeley, plaintiffs in the Proposition… (Jose Luis Magana / Associated…)

Alan Acosta, 60, has been with his partner, Tom Gratz, for 32 years.

They were married in 2004 in San Francisco, a ceremony that felt "more like a political statement because it seemed like such a pipe dream that we would ever have marriage equality in our lifetime.”

They got married again in 2008, during the brief window when it was legal. That marriage was more "practical," he said. "We had been together 20 something years and we deserved to have this recognition."

Now, with the marriage question before the Supreme Court, Acosta, who worked at the Los Angeles Times in the 1990s and is now at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, said he is taking the long view: “I really do feel that we are part of history, and history is going to happen in our lifetime, which I [didn't] think I’ll ever see.”

But Acosta said he does not intend to lose too much sleep worrying and wondering about how the court will rule between now and June.

“History takes a little while," he said. "If we have to wait another three months, then that’s what it will take. I also feel that if it doesn’t happen in three of four moths, then it will happen in my lifetime.”

Spencer Cohen is less focused on the sweep of history. Spencer was 6 years old in November 2008 when his mothers, Susan Cohen and Nikki Bauer, got married in a ceremony at their temple. He was in the wedding. "I remember I did something with walking up the aisle," he said.

Spencer was aware of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday, and said he hoped the judges would find that Proposition 8 was not constitutional. “I just want it so people who love can be married," he said.

But he also seemed slightly mystified by what all the debate was about. “They’re normal people,” he said of same-sex couples. "They’re equal. And it wouldn’t be very fair if they can’t [marry]. It’s discrimination."

Bauer was much more aware of the stakes. "Whatever ruling comes out, it is the ruling of the land, of our country. It will hit hard should the decision not be in our favor."

Still, she said she does not intend to wait on pins on and needles for the decision to come out.

"I’m going to continue to raise my kids and be the citizen that I am," she said. "Honestly, I believe all this is an issue of time," she added. Even if the court rules against gay marriage in June, "I will be alive and my children will be alive to see this."

But she said she took heart that Spencer and his friends were so unmoved by the great debate raging around them.

"That’s the beauty," she said. "To children, this is normal. It’s like, yeah, what’s the point?"

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