This weekend I had the honor and privilege of attending the wedding ceremony in New Jersey of my Daily News friend and colleague Deb Woodell, an editor on the sports copy desk, and her partner for the last 28 years, Fran Clark (above: Clark, left, Woodell, right). The service was beautiful and also so natural, especially wrapped in the same traditional Episcopalian trimmings as the church I've attended (less than sporadically) in recent years. It was the first same-sex wedding I've ever been to, as it was for some of the other attendees, but within a minute or two in you didn't even think about it. It felt like something that's been around for years.
During the service I sat next to my pal David Lee Preston, who was headed off the next day to Washington D.C. for another same sex wedding, of his cousin and his companion. When he came back, David wrote about his weekend -- and what does seem weird, which is that we live in a state where it's still not legal for a loving couple like Deb and Fran to join in wedded bliss:
Pennsylvania still doesn't allow civil unions, let alone same-sex marriages - which Corbett compared to incest on a Harrisburg TV news show last month. On Friday, a federal judge rejected two attempts to block a challenge to Pennsylvania's 17-year-old law banning recognition of same-sex marriage, bringing the case closer to trial.
I met Fran for the first time Saturday, but let me tell you about my colleague Deb. For a decade at the Daily News, she was one of the nation's first newspaper columnists on lesbian and gay issues. In 2007, she advised readers to "keep a watchful eye on how your government officials behave. But don't let it stop you from picking out that china pattern, or setting up your gift registry. There is no need to worry about putting off that wedding. Unless, of course, you just want to wait those couple of years for the real thing."
One of my other colleagues at the service was the Daily News cartoonist Signe Wilkinson. If you read the paper (papers...she's in the Inquirer now, too) you know that Signe draws passionately about improving life in Philadelphia, including reducing crime. Unfortunately, the improvements there have not come quickly enough, in an experience she captured in cartoon form:
On an unrelated topic, today's toon is my first clearly autobiographical editorial cartoon. Held up at gunpoint on SUnday evening AT 7 PM in my nice, safe neighborhood, the little perp made off with my 'purse' which was a canvas bag filled with pens, paper, and sketches for my comic strip, "Family Tree". It put my schedule back but warmed my heart that I've given him the tools that could change his life. Of course, learning to use the pens takes longer than learning to shoot a gun.
The good news here is that Signe is unharmed. This kind of thing should not happen to such a kind soul -- except of course it shouldn't happen to anyone. So goes another weekend at the Daily News, where people probably assume we sit around worrying about "the situation" but in reality we have other, bigger fish to fry. At least it explains why we write about issues like same-sex marriage or crime with such passion, even if our ideas about it aren't always the same as yours. It's kind of shocking, but it turns out that journalists want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- just like you do!