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My 7 Weeks in The Chapel of Love:

by Shams Cohen Portions of this article first appeared in "Alternatives Magazine" (www.alternativesmagazine.com) and are reprinted here by permission.

The spring of 2004 has been an amazing time for gay and lesbian activists,couples, and allies, with marriage equality rising and falling throughout various states like the tides. In Multnomah County, same-sex marriage licenses were issued from March 3rd through April 19th of this year. Couples who received those licenses are now legally married under Oregon law. What follows is a history, diary style, of my own activism around this issue, the stories of many couples who chose to get married, and the state of marriage equality in Oregon as we get close to publication, with a special emphasis on why civil unions do not create equality. Please visit www.basicrights.org for ongoing updates and ways that you can help support marriage equality for all Oregonians.

October 13, 1987 In Washington DC 600 people were arrested in an act of civil disobedience at the US Supreme Court to protest the Bowers v. Hardwick decision. This decision upheld the constitutionality of States rights to arrest people for how they make love as consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes. It was the largest number to participate in an act of civil disobedience since the Vietnam War. [found and modified 4/7/04 at http://www.365gay.com/lifestylechannel/intime/months/10-october/10october.htm]

October 13, 1987 I didnt think to NOT put my hands behind my back when the officer told me to, even though I was prepared to not walk when that command came. Now my hands are cuffed behind my back by a sharp plastic tie that cuts into my wrists, and my shoulder is being painfully wrenched as the police drag my civilly disobedient limp body, along with hundreds of others, into stuffy schoolbusses that will eventually cart us all off to a large gym.. Like many of the other women, I give the name Emma Goldman, and, after a day of solidarity, fear, tears, TV interviews, and song, I am eventually released. I then find the activist ally who was holding my wallet and ID, so I can return to my