Tag Archives: Kitsap

Marriage Equality – Kitsap County Joins the Nation in Celebration

While there is more work to do on many levels, today’s history making Supreme Court decision is worth celebrating.  In social justice work, in order to keep from being overwhelmed and getting burned out, we need to celebrate even small victories, and today was more than just a small victory, it was a huge one.SCOTUS Decision June 2015 Pics

Kitsap County joined folks around the nation in celebrating with at least two Bremerton bars hosting. One celebration was at the Honor Bar near Evergreen Park, and another was at the Toro Lounge downtown Bremerton.


The Supreme Court decision has far reaching impacts, and it is hard to know where to begin. However, I found some statements from a variety of organizations that I thought worth sharing. I have been working towards marriage equality for about 15 years, and many folks have been doing more for longer. Even though getting to this point in marriage equality has taken a long time, in some ways it seems like it happened fast. I guess because once the marriage equality ball started rolling through the states it really picked up speed.

The decision today is a positive thing for families all over the United States, including military families that include same sex spouses.  Since Kitsap County is a “Navy Town” the decision today affects many military families here. The American Military Partner Association posted in their blog:

“Nationwide marriage equality is a tremendous victory, and the progress made for LGBT service members and their families in just a few short years has been profound.” Before today’s decision “… even after so many states gained marriage equality, and even though the military recognized the legal marriages of our members, once they stepped off their military installation, the laws of the state often took precedence. Even if they lived in an equality state, it was very likely they would eventually be transferred; with no guarantees their new assignment would be in another equality state. They lived in fear of their families losing the everyday legal recognition others often take for granted, like married tax status, the ability to make healthcare decisions for your spouse, or enrolling your child in school.”

 The Kitsap Sun talked with the spouse of a Sailor on the USS Stennis in this article:

The effects of today’s Supreme Court ruling are so far reaching that, in a joint effort, the American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom to Marry, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal and National Center for Lesbian Rights created a page of information for families with questions about how this affects them:

Lambda Legal was a key player in the legal part of the process and posted this on their blog:

“What a day! After decades of work by Lambda Legal and many others, we have at long last secured the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples throughout the entire United States. Today’s moving and inspirational decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is one for the history books.”

This victory for marriage equality is about love and families, and Kitsap PFLAG joins PFLAG National in celebrating the Supreme Court decision. PFLAG National board president Jean Hodges made this statement today:

“Today feels like a wedding that the entire country was invited to, and the whole PFLAG family is right up front with hearts overflowing and tears in our eyes. By affirming the rights of all loving couples to commit to each other with the full weight of legal protection that marriage affords, the Supreme Court has affirmed a founding principle that we must all continue to strive for: a more perfect union.”

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.  On their blog they describe how youth are affected by this decision in a positive way:

“Today we celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to uphold marriage equality across America. This historic ruling not only affects couples who have been fighting to obtain the basic civil right to get married, but also the many youth who live in families with same-sex parents. Today, all youth, including those who identify as LGBTQ, can have hope that they will grow up in a nation that is moving towards respecting all human rights.”

One of the highlights for me today was  President Obama’s expression of support. Part of what he said this morning about the Supreme Court decision is:

White House marriage equality“This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come.”

for the complete transcript of what President Obama said today go to:


To all of you that have played a part in getting us to where we are today, even if that part was just coming to the understanding yourself of how marriage equality is the right thing – Thank You!

Olympic College’s Regional Diversity Conference

Olympic College is having their first diversity conference on June 26-27, 2014.

The theme is “Are Your Roots Showing: Exploring Diversity in the Puget Sound Region”

OCdiversityconf2014outlinedFrom the Olympic College Diversity Advisory Council Web Site, the day and a half of conference “will offer participants the opportunity to enhance their understanding and skills in the areas of diversity, inclusion, multiculturalism and social justice.”



The conference schedule includes two speakers, Dr. Joy DeGruy and Yoshiko Harden.

Here is a little bit about them:

Dr. Joy DeGruy

From Dr. Joy DeGruy’s website:

Dr. Joy DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author and presenter. With over twenty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work, she gives practical insight into various cultural and ethnic groups that form the basis of contemporary American society.

Dr. Joy DeGruy  is the keynote speaker during the conference opening morning.


Yoshiko Harden, Vice President for Diversity at Bellevue College

From the Bellevue College website:

Harden, with over a decade of experience as a student affairs practitioner, comes to us from Highline Community College, in Des Moines, where she has held several positions, including director of multicultural services and student development.

“One of my primary goals is to increase access and success for all students, but particularly for historically marginalized groups,” she says.

Yoshiko Harden  is speaking during dinner on the first day of the conference.















~ Marcie


Kitsap Pride is Sunday July 21st – Let’s Celebrate!

You may have heard about some of the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride events, like Seattle, and these are a lot of fun.  However, for the past 17 years Kitsap County has had its own unique event – Kitsap Pride is a Pride event that celebrates community with Kitsap County style.  The event started as a potluck picnic, and has grown into a festival attended by hundreds of community members.

This year’s event on Sunday July 21st is a chance to celebrate some big advances towards equality, such as Washington State voting in state recognition of same-sex marriage, and at the federal level the Supreme Court’s historic striking down of a significant part of the Defense of Marriage Act.  Since so many folks in Kitsap County are federal employees, these two events add up to many local married gay and lesbian couples having the same employee benefits as their heterosexual married coworkers.  I hope to see many happy couples celebrating at Evergreen Park on Sunday!

Even without the historic milestones, Kitsap Pride is a meaningful and affirming community event – a place to listen to local musicians, enjoy food, visit vendors, and best of all to be with friends.

For more information about Kitsap Pride go to www.kitsappride.org

or on Facebook at : https://www.facebook.com/kitsappride


~ Marcie

What the Supreme Court’s Historic Ruling Means to Kitsap County Couples

What does the Supreme Court’s historic ruling striking down Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) mean to married couples in Kitsap County?  It was a huge step forward towards equality for same-sex couples and their families, with far reaching effects – from income taxes to immigration.

There are over a thousand federal benefits now available to married couples in states that recognize their marriages, like here in Washington.  Couples in states that do not recognize their marriage will only have some of the federal benefits, and that part is a little more confusing.

The Lambda Legal website had more information about the decision and what it means.
In addition, many folks in Kitsap County are federal employees, so the US Supreme Court decision to strike down the part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that prevented federal recognition of married same-sex couples opens up employee benefits previously only available to heterosexual married couples.  The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was swift to put into place an open enrollment period for any couples already married.

Here is a link to more information:

~ Marcie


Bike to Work Day is Friday May 18th

One of the many aspects of diversity is how we each get to work – many of us take the bus, others drive, carpool or vanpool.  Then there are the bicycle commuters – A hardy group of folks that bicycle to work for a variety of reasons.  For some folks it is actually quicker to ride a bike than it is to drive, although this is truer in a big city than here in  County.  Saving money is another popular motivation.  However, probably the most common reason to ride into work is as part of a healthy life style.  I have always enjoyed both the challenges and the invigorating start to the day bicycle commuting provides.

This Friday, May 18th, we celebrate the bicycle commuter, and encourage others to take it up, by having Bike to Work Day.























If you do ride your bicycle to work, please stay safe out there!

~ Marcie




Standing on the Side of Love

A group diverse in age and religious affiliation gathered on Tuesday evening at the Library in Poulsbo to talk about the importance of marriage equality and “standing on the side of love.”

Much of the discussion was around religion, even though it is the legal aspects of marriage that are likely on the line in November. One of the people who spoke was Washington State Representative Drew Hansen (23rd Legislative District).  As a self-proclaimed devout Christian, he eloquently conveyed why what he sees in the Bible shows him that Christians should support marriage equality.

While there was a predominance of Unitarian Universalists attending, many Christian denominations were represented as well.

Also speaking was a young couple from Bremerton, one of which is a U.S. Navy Sailor, who both shared how heartening it was to see such a supportive group assembled.  This couple is an excellent example of why marriage equality is important – One of them is fighting for the rights of all of us, the other is his supporter at home, yet they are denied equal access to the right to legally marry the person they love.

Two representatives of Washington United for Marriage explained how they are gearing up for the fight to approve Referendum 74 if it ends up on the ballot in November as expected.  For supporters of marriage equality there are many ways to help and information is available on their webpage: http://washingtonunitedformarriage.org/
Also, look for them at community events around the state over the next few months.

Washington United for Marriage and the North Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Church sponsored the Marriage Equality Town Hall.  Standing on the Side of Love is a Unitarian Universalist Association sponsored public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression.





~ Marcie

Marriage Equality in Kitsap County, Heroism in Norway

A couple of things have happened recently that I think are worth noting –

One you probably heard about…

Here in our Kitsap County corner of the world, we had a piece of good news about marriage equality, and I applaud the Suquamish Tribe for stepping up and doing the right thing – recognizing the same-sex couples in their community with the right to civil marriage.  I also applaud the woman who stood up and asked for the Tribal Council’s consideration of approving same-sex marriage, which started the ball rolling towards marriage equality for the Suquamish Tribe.

The second you probably did not hear about…

Not too long before the unanimous vote of the Suquamish Tribal Council, in a distant land and in the midst of tragedy and terror, a married lesbian couple in Norway was showing that they were heroic members of their community by saving 40 youth from the shooting on Utoya island.

The Finnish capital city’s largest daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, published an article about what these courageous women did in Norway, which was translated into English and published in a blog post of Talk About Equality: “If a Married Lesbian Couple Saves 40 Teens from the Norway Massacre and No One Writes About it, Did it Really Happen?”

Here is the article (translated from Finnish):
Hege Dalen and her spouse, Toril Hansen were near Utöyan having dinner on the opposite shore across from the ill-fated campsite, when they began to hear gunfire and screaming on the island.

“We were eating. Then shooting and then the awful screaming. We saw how the young people ran in panic into the lake,” says Dale to HS in an interview.

The couple immediately took action and pushed the boat into Lake Tyrifjorden.

Dalen and Hansen drove the boat to the island, picked up from the water victims in shock in, the young and wounded, and transported them to the opposite shore to the mainland. Between runs they saw that the bullets had hit the right side of the boat.

Since there were so many and not all fit at once aboard, they returned to the island four times.

They were able to rescue 40 young people from the clutches of the killer.

“We did not sleep last night at all. Today, we have been together and talked about the events,” Dalen said.


Lesbians making history both near and far.

~ Marcie