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The Times July 22, 2006
First US gay couple to marry have broken up
From James Bone in New York
THE lesbian couple who pioneered gay marriage in America have split up, saying that their marital troubles show that they are no different from heterosexual partners.
Julie and Hillary Goodridge led the legal battle that forced Massachusetts to become the first state in the US to allow same-sex marriage. The two, who met 21 years ago at a Harvard University course on disinvestment in South Africa, became the public face of a loving, financially stable, committed same-sex couple.
As lead plaintiffs in the landmark case, they were featured in People magazine. Julie, 49, is president of an investment advisory firm, and Hillary, 50, is a grants manager for the Unitarian Universalist Association. The pair went to court after a hospital refused to allow Hillary to see Julie when she suffered complications during the birth of their daughter, now 10.
They wed in Boston on May 17, 2004, the first day of legal gay marriage in America. “Next to the birth of our daughter, Annie, this is the happiest day of our lives,” Julie said. Two years later, however, the couple have broken up. “Julie and Hillary Goodridge are amicably living apart,” Mary Breslauer, a spokeswoman, said.
A survey undertaken by the Boston Globe indicated that about 7,300 same-sex couples have obtained licences since gay marriage was legalised in Massachusetts, and about 45 have divorced. The news of the break-up comes as gay rights activists have suffered a series of setbacks in their campaign for same-sex marriage.
Gay 'marriage' first couple splits up in Massachusetts
By Cheryl Wetzstein
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published July 22, 2006
Hillary and Julie Goodridge, the namesake couple in the landmark lawsuit that introduced same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts two years ago, have separated.
The Goodridges are "amicably living apart," said Mary Breslauer, a friend and communications specialist who has been acting as the couple's spokeswoman.
The couple, who have a 10-year-old daughter, are seeking to maintain their privacy as they sort things out, Ms. Breslauer said.
"It's very sad," she said, adding that the couple has been receiving a tremendous amount of support from friends and family.
The Goodridges' breakup was first reported Wednesday in Bay Windows, New England's major newspaper for homosexuals. The paper said a breakup had been rumored for months, but the women had worked to time release of the news in the best way to protect their daughter.
Ms. Breslauer yesterday declined to discuss why the Goodridges have broken up but said that, despite their nationally covered marriage in 2004, "they are real people with real lives."
"Our marriages are not unlike everyone else's marriages, which is that they are both precious and fragile," Ms. Breslauer added. "I think the significant difference with our marriages is that ours are constantly under attack."
Shannon Minter, spokesman for the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, said that while the breakup was "very sad news," "same-sex couples are no more immune to the possibility of divorce than heterosexual couples."
Being in the public eye was probably "particularly difficult" for the Goodridges, "but they are still conducting themselves with integrity and dignity," he said.
It is also good, he added, that they have the protections of wedlock "as now they and their daughter will have all of the security and clear rules that married couples benefit from when they do divorce."
Conservative observers expressed concern for the family, especially the daughter, noting that research points to instability in many homosexual relationships.
"Of course, we don't take any pleasure in the sadness of any individual or couple, and I don't believe one couple's experience necessarily proves anything," said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.
But there is research indicating that homosexual relationships are less likely to be monogamous or lifelong than heterosexual relationships, he said.
"I think it demonstrates again why we are so concerned for children in inherently unstable relationships," said Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America. Recent court decisions have recognized that homosexual unions "are not the equivalent of heterosexual marriage" and "it's better for children to be in stable, heterosexual marriage with a mom and a dad," she said.
The Goodridges and six other homosexual couples sued Massachusetts for the right to "marry" in 2001. They won when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4-3 in their favor in November 2003.
The court stayed its ruling until May 17, 2004, to allow the state to prepare for the unprecedented nuptials. The Goodridges, who had been together about 17 years at the time, were among the first same-sex "marriages" that day.
Julie Goodridge, 49, is president of an investment advisory firm, and Hillary Goodridge, 50, is program director for a Unitarian Universalist Association funding program.
Ms. Breslauer said they have not filed to end their union.
A 2006 Boston Globe survey said 7,300 same-sex couples have "married" and 45 have formally ended their union.
July 22, 2006
Same-sex marriage plaintiffs separate
Women won right to wed in Massachusetts; split after 2-year marriage is called amicable
By Katie Zezima
New York Times
BOSTON -- The lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit that made same-sex marriage legal in Massachusetts have separated, their spokeswoman said Friday.
The couple, Julie and Hillary Goodridge, separated after nearly two decades together, including just over two years of marriage, the spokeswoman, Mary Breslauer, said.
"They are amicably living apart," Breslauer said. "Plaintiff couples, even those who have that kind of spotlight, have real lives, and they're not immune from the ups and downs and stresses that any relationship faces."
The couple and their daughter, Annie, 10, became spokeswomen of sorts for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, making their lives public in an effort to show they were like any other couple who wanted to marry.
The women were married May 17, 2004, the day same-sex marriage became legal in the state.
Breslauer said neither woman had filed for divorce. Bay Windows, a weekly gay and lesbian newspaper, first reported the news.
The Goodridges and six other couples filed the lawsuit, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, in 2001 after being denied marriage licenses. The case made its way to the state's highest court, which ruled in November 2003 that the Massachusetts Constitution guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry. The first same-sex marriages took place six months later.
More than 8,000 same-sex couples had married in Massachusetts as of May, said Carisa Cunningham, a spokeswoman for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, which argued the case. A Boston Globe survey this year said about 45 of those couples had divorced.
The Relationship Is Over for a Pair of Gay Pioneers
The two women at the center of Massachusetts' landmark marriage ruling have separated.
By Elizabeth Mehren, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 22, 2006
BOSTON — The couple who lent their name to the lawsuit that legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts have separated, a family spokeswoman confirmed Friday.
Julie Goodridge, 49, and Hillary Goodridge, 50, were married on May 17, 2004, the first day that same-sex couples were permitted to wed in Massachusetts under the terms of the court case Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health.
The landmark 4-3 decision by the state's Supreme Judicial Court made Massachusetts the first state to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
No other state has followed suit, although Connecticut has legalized same-sex civil unions, which already were permitted in Vermont when the Goodridge decision came down.
On the heels of the Goodridge decision, 20 states have passed constitutional amendments to classify marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and at least 19 states including Massachusetts are exploring such constitutional amendments.
The Goodridges, who selected a common surname after perusing their families' histories, declined to comment Friday on the split. They have a 10-year-old daughter, Annie.
Family spokeswoman Mary Breslauer said Friday: "Julie and Hillary Goodridge are amicably living apart. As always, their No. 1 priority is raising their daughter.
Like the other plaintiff couples in this case, they made an enormous contribution toward equal marriage, but they are no longer in the public eye and request that their privacy be respected."
Breslauer would not speculate whether the pressures associated with the legal battle had contributed to the Goodridges' breakup. Seven same-sex couples acted as plaintiffs in the Massachusetts lawsuit.
"I think this is much more about recognizing that plaintiff couples, even those that are at the center of the storm, are simply at the end real people with real lives," Breslauer said.
"Relationships and marriages are both precious and vulnerable, all at the same time, and theirs is no different."
The Goodridges have not filed for divorce, Breslauer said.
More than 8,000 same-sex couples have traded vows in Massachusetts since the Goodridges walked down the aisle of a Unitarian Universalist church as wedding guests merrily sang "Here Come the Brides." About 45 gay and lesbian couples have divorced, according to state figures.
Among activists on both sides of the marriage issue, reaction to the Goodridges' split was muted.
Said communications director Lisa Barstow of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which is heading the move to end same-sex marriage in the state: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Annie, the Goodridges' 10-year-old daughter, and that's really all we choose to say about this. This is a personal matter, and I think we need to treat it with that kind of dignity."
Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, also declined to discuss what he called "a personal thing between the Goodridges," except to say he did not think their split would hamper the broader same-sex marriage effort.
"It will have no impact on the struggle for marriage equality," he said. "This is a long-term struggle, and we're going to have advances and setbacks along the way."
At Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders — the Boston-based nonprofit that brought the historic lawsuit on behalf of the seven same-sex couples, Executive Director Lee Swislow said: "We're just very sad…. We care so much about Hillary and Julie. They were so brave and so powerful, and they made a difference."
|| News ||
WorldPride canceled due to Israeli-Hezbollah conflict
With the crisis in the Middle East approaching an all-out war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, organizers of WorldPride in Jerusalem have announced the cancellation of the pride parade in August. But organizers vow that other events in the festival will go on as planned.
In a statement released Friday, Jerusalem Open House cochair Hagai El-Ad said, "These are not the times for festivities." With a large portion of the Israeli army massing along the Lebanese border, WorldPride organizers said they were forced to cancel the gay pride parade because there aren't enough soldiers left to protect the marchers.
In a show of unity atypical for the region, radical Jewish, Muslim, and Christian groups all came together to condemn WorldPride and threaten violence against anyone in the parade. WorldPride insists that it is the threat of war—not the threats of violence from extremist clerics—that forced the parade's cancellation.
Many of the WorldPride events will go on as planned, however, including a multifaith gay clergy conference, a gay film festival, and other activities. Cathy Renna, spokeswoman for WorldPride, says that thousands are still expected to attend those events, which will run on schedule August 6–12.
WorldPride is held in a different city around the globe every four years. WorldPride postponed festivities in Jerusalem last summer after Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip. (Sirius OutQ News)
WorldPride Parade Cancelled
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
July 21 2006 - 1:00 pm ET
(Jerusalem) Organizers of WorldPride to be held next month in Jerusalem on Friday cancelled the pride parade but say other events will go ahead as planned.
WorldPride is scheduled to be held in Jerusalem from August 6 - 12.
Police denied Jerusalem Open House a parade permit saying that they are unable to provide a safe environment for the march in light of the current hostilities in the region and the excessive stress it puts on the police's manpower.
"We feel it would be neither responsible nor appropriate to hold the march until such time that circumstances allow for a safe and peaceful gathering for all," said a statement from Open House co-chair Hagai El-Ad.
El-Ad said though that the cultural aspects of WorldPride are going ahead.
Those events include an Multifaith LGBT Clergy Conference, an outdoor festival, Human Rights Day, LGBT Health Day, an International LGBT Youth conference, and an LGBT Film Festival.
The event which is held in a different world city every four years was to have been in Jerusalem last summer but postponed due to the Israeli pullout from the Gaza.
WorldPride spokesperson Cathy Renna in New York told 365Gay.com that despite the situation in the Middle East there have been few cancellations.
She said that thousands of people from around the world will attend.
WorldPride has been under fire from conservative religious groups including Muslims, Jews and evangelical Christians.
On Thursday the head of an extreme Orthodox group blamed WorldPride for the ongoing attacks on Israel by the Islamist terror group Hezbollah. (story)
"We have not protested enough against this parade of abomination and therefore we have received this warning," Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, who heads the Eda Haredit rabbinic court.
"Who knows where things will get to if we do not act further and more stringently against it," he said in a hand-written message to his followers.
Last month a Moslem leader, sheik Ibrahim Sarsur who is also a member of the Knesset, warned gays that "if they dare to approach the Temple Mount during the parade – they will do so over our dead bodies."
Jerusalem World Pride 2006 (August 6-12)
患者数など初の実態調査 性同一性障害で厚労省 (共同 2006/07/22)