Newlyweds… But Not In New York
On August 21, 2009, BJ members Linda Golding and Diane Wondisford were married in Northampton, Massachusetts, by a Justice of the Peace who had moved to the state in 2004 specifically to officiate at same-sex marriages. Their first wedding gift came from the policeman who celebrated them by tearing up the parking ticket he had been writing for them while they were inside having the ceremony.
LG: Let’s jump right in—what do you really think about the shanda, I mean, the situation in Albany?
DW: I feel betrayed. I believe that the majority of the state’s citizens have been abandoned by a non-representative governing body in complete disarray because of a gubernatorial sex scandal. We, the people of the state of New York, deserve to be properly governed, and we all deserve to have our human rights recognized.
LG: So, as first-class tax payers we are being treated as second-class citizens.
DW: Worse—we’re being held hostage.
LG: Frankly, it stuns me that in this secular country we countenance so much dishonor in the name of God.
DW: Well, what are we going to do? You sound like you’re giving up the fight.
LG: Where’s the evidence of the work that’s been done? I am not convinced that a lot of small actions add up to enough of an impact on our lives.
DW: What happened to you and your “one step at time” theory? The only thing there is to do is to take a step forward every day, pick up the pace, and urge others to do the same. I’ve been at this for more than 40 years, and the road is still under construction. When are we going to get a proper general contractor?
LG: Forty years, bad roads. Hmph. Sounds like Moses in the desert. Point taken— where would we be if Moses really had given up the fight?
DW: So, Missus, should we talk about our out-of-state marriage?
LG: Absolutely. Right from the day of the Massachusetts decision we were talking about how to get married.
DW: Remember when Chief Justice Margaret Marshall asked us about our intentions?
LG: And we told her that as soon as New York came on board we would get married. She smiled, and I remember thinking, “Why do we have to wait?” It seemed wrong to have to wait for permission.
DW: And after waiting a few years, we decided to celebrate our seventh anniversary by getting married. Should we talk about the parking ticket or the rings?
LG: Actually, I want to talk about the contrast between how matter-of- factly our marriage was treated in Massachusetts while people in New York are still so surprised. I really see the political capital that comes with being married.
DW: It really feels different being married, doesn’t it?
LG: I feel at my core calm and peaceful. What about you?
DW: I feel complete, and I feel recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Linda Golding and Diane Wondisford have been members of B’nai Jeshurun since 2002 and of the Church of the Holy Apostles since 2008. They are both active in their respective religious and spiritual homes. Linda is a member of the BJ Marriage Equality Hevra and Hevra Kadisha and is completing her clinical training as a hospital chaplain. Diane serves on the CHA Vestry and is Producing Director of Music-Theatre Group.