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Sunday, February 14, 2016

My notes on autobiography by Michael McConnell with Jack Baker gay marriage activism

Michael McConnell, 73, and Jack Baker, 73, at their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 1, 2015

PHOTO: The first Gay marriage activists and pioneers Michael McConnell, 73, and Jack Baker, 73, at their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 1, 2015. (Courtesy Angela Jimenez) See previous posts Baker on gay marriage in 1972 vs. 2015 reaction to Supreme Court ruling (7/17/15) and Book by Michael McConnell on his marriage to Jack Baker that led to the first Supreme Court case on gay marriage (12/29/15). (Book by Michael McConnell, with Jack Baker, as Told to Gail Langer Karwoski, "The Wedding Heard 'Round the World - America's First Gay Marriage," University of Minnesota Press, 2016)

The pioneering gay activism of Jack Baker and Michael McConnell to obtain gay marriage equality resulted in the first U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage "Baker v. Nelson' (1972) that has been largely ignored by gay history books, including a recent book by Marc Solomon, "Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits--And Won," Foreedge 2014. Yes, Baker's case did not set a national legal precedent and yes, gay activists in 1972 were angrily rejecting marriage, as were many heterosexual couples, in favor of a more egalitarian notion of equal partnership (e.g. living together outside traditional legal marriage) with free love between many people, because in the 1960's virtually everyone believed "modern medicine" had figured out nearly perfect contraception pills and cures for sexually transmitted diseases, therefore pregnancy and safe sex were no longer as big of a concern as they had been for previous generations. Tragically, the discovery of the still incurable AIDS and HIV disease in in the 1980's caused the dream of fee love to be quickly forgotten. (See previous post Oregonian book review of new gay marriage history book (12/9/14))

This shameful oversight by gay history, of ignoring the first gay marriage between Jack Baker and Michael McConnell, has been partly corrected by a new autobiography by Michael McConnell, with Jack Baker, as Told to Gail Langer Karwoski, "The Wedding Heard 'Round the World - America's First Gay Marriage," University of Minnesota Press, 2016.

Cover jacket of 2016 book by Michael McConnell, with Jack Baker, about the world's first gay marriage

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) The front and back cover jacket for the autobiography book by Michael McConnell, with Jack Baker, as Told to Gail Langer Karwoski, "The Wedding Heard 'Round the World - America's First Gay Marriage," University of Minnesota Press, 2016. The book jacket includes a short reference to my book review. (See previous post Book by Michael McConnell on his marriage to Jack Baker that led to the first Supreme Court case on gay marriage (12/29/15))

The publisher asked me to read a galley proof advance copy of the book before publication to provide a short book blurb for the cover jacket (see above), which I did. I decided to wait until the final book came out before I posted my notes and comments on the book. I received the final book a few weeks ago and with my low vision blindness it has taken me awhile to read it, although it has been made easier by the fact that the final copy of the book is virtually identical to the galley proof.

Listed below are my comments and notes, with direct references in quotations marks with the page numbers where it can be found in the autobiography book by Michael McConnell, with Jack Baker, as Told to Gail Langer Karwoski, "The Wedding Heard 'Round the World - America's First Gay Marriage," University of Minnesota Press, 2016:

  • Authors' biography page (no page number, but p. 177 counted forward from end of index p. 174) in the print edition says, "Michael McConnell and Jack Baker are America's first legally married gay couple. They were married in Minneapolis in September 1971 in a small ceremony officiated by a Methodist minister, with an official license issued by a rural Minnesota county. They met in 1966 in Norman, Oklahoma. In 2010, Michael retired from the Hennepin County Library System and Jack retired from his careers in law and engineering. They live in Minneapolis. Gail Langer Karwoski is an author and educator based in Athens, Georgia. She met Michael McConnell and Jack Baker in 1972, the year after they were married."
  • Jack and Mike married May 18, 1970 (p. 70-73) and also on Sep. 3, 1971 (p. 123, 177) after first meeting Oct. 29, 1966 (p. 1)
  • Date of birth -- no specific years mentioned in book, but Mike was born circa 1942 (calculated from information on p. 7) and Jack was born circa March 10, 1941 (1959-18? calculated from information on p. 21)
  • Jack Baker's full name Richard John Baker (p. 31)
  • High school graduation Jack 1959 (p. 31 age 17) Mike 1960 (Graduation dates in captions to photos in photo section in print edition inserted between pages 86-87)
  • Religion -- Jack raised Catholic (p. 16, 31, 107) Mike raised Baptist (p. 18)
  • Religion -- friend and Gay House participant John Preston raised Lutheran (p. 85)
  • College graduates (p. 24) Jack 1959-1963 MBA 1968 (p. 26-27, 29) Jack law school 1969-1972 (4 th year required p. 47, 65, 143, 149, 153) pass bar exam (p. 154) -- Mike library MS degree 1968 (p. 29) job 1973 (p. 92, 161)
  • "I (Mike) was twenty-four, and I had been out of the closet since I was nineteen." (p. 7 also 1, 5, 14) "I was nineteen when I officially came out. The timing was an accident -- my parents discovered that I was gay, and I didn't see any point in denying it." (p. 19)
  • "I had been totally distraught when I moved back home in the fall of 1965, just after a big breakup. I had been with Bob Gaylor, my first lover, for about four years, since I was nineteen years old. I met him when he was a grad student working on his master's degree in library science and I was in my second year of pharmacy school." (p. 7, 14-15, 19)
  • "(jack) was an engineer with the Dolese Company, the largest cement company in the state, headquartered in Oklahoma City" (p. 9, DuPont job p. 33)
  • "Months later, after Jack quit in order to take a higher-paying position at Tinker Air Force Base" (p. 10)
  • "In August -- about a month after Jack took the job at Tinker Air Force Base -- he got a manila envelope in the mail. It contained his official discharge from the armed forces. I knew Jack had been in the Air Force before we met, from 1959 through 1963." (p. 26) General discharge vs. honorable discharge from military -- "The military had paid for Jack to take engineering classes at OU while he was enlisted." (p.27)
  • "In the spring of 1968, we were both graduating from our master's degree programs" (p. 24, 29, 33)
  • artist vs. engineer or emotional logic versus mathematical logic (p. 30-31) "I thought that would show him that I was furious. That he had really hurt my feelings. That if he ever acted so horribly again, he would be sleeping on the couch until his toes froze. Instead, many years later, I discovered that Jack never gave the incident a second thought. Ever the logical, emotionless engineer, he simply assumed that I preferred to celebrate my graduation with my own family and without him. (Believe me, there are moments when I wonder why I ever wanted to marry an engineer!)"
  • "As we were completing our graduate degrees, Jack and I began applying for jobs. He was offered an engineering job at a cellophane plant owned by the DuPont Company. It was located in Tecumseh, a small Kansas town halfway between Lawrence and Topeka. That was perfect! I had lived in Lawrence with Bob, and I knew it was a lively college town, the home of the University of Kansas, and reasonably friendly to gays." (p. 33) DuPont is the company my grandfather Elmer O. Kraemer (1898-1943) worked for where he invented polyester and nylon with his colleague Wallace Hume Carothers (1896-1937). (See previous post James Burton Nichols recalls invention of polyester and nylon at DuPont by Elmer Kraemer and Wallace Carothers (8/15/15))
  • "Jack was eligible to go to school on the G.I. Bill, and he was intrigued by the idea of law school. He already held degrees in engineering and in business. With a license to practice law, he would have a formidable resum‚. He had always pictured himself working for a big corporation or maybe even starting his own business. We began seriously talking about him going back to school for his law degree." (p. 34)
  • "In June 1968, we piled our clothes and books into our VW Beetle and drove to our new home in Lawrence, Kansas. . . Other DuPont engineers lived nearby. Since we would be commuting in different directions during the week, we needed separate cars, so I got a VW for myself." (p. 37) The Volkswagen Beetle automobile (German "peoples' car) was the first popular "compact" car in America and it was one of the least expensive to own due to its low MSRP and the simplicity that you could do your own mechanic work. The VW Beetle was often associated with young college kids and the counter culture movement of the 1960's and therefore it has a deep emotional meaning to many people who lived through that era.
  • circa 1969 "I happened on an announcement about an upcoming conference, the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations . . Frank Kameny explained his personal involvement in what he called the homophile movement: he had been an astronomer for the U.S. Army until his homosexuality was discovered in 1957 and he lost his job. He had mounted an antidiscrimination suit against the government and taken it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. When we met him at the conference, Kameny was forty-three years old, a trim man, both intelligent and intense." (p. 40-41)
  • "As we neared the end of September 1969, when Jack's law school classes would begin, I found myself sweeping aside waves of emotion. . . " (p. 47, 143)
  • "Oddly, the longer we were apart, the less interested I was in physical intimacy with others. . . I'm pretty sure that Jack didn't withdraw from social life as much as I did. In the same month that I wrote about my nearly celibate existence, Jack mentioned that he'd contracted crabs (pubic lice)! He wondered if he'd picked them up from me. (He didn't.)" (p. 53) This is a classic scenario in the age before AIDS because gay men felt no fear of getting pregnant and so they rarely used condoms or other protection from what was called VD (venereal diseases) or today called STD (sexually transmitted diseases)
  • "By spring (1970), I had a job lined up in Minneapolis. We had a plan for getting our marriage license, and we began to talk about our wedding ceremony." (p. 53)
  • ". . . (Jack) saw an article in the (Minneapolis, Minnesota) city's daily morning newspaper, the Tribune, about Welcome Week events on campus and learned that such a group had already formed. It was called FREE, an acronym for Fight Repression of Erotic Expression, and its stated mission was "to free people from outdated, damaging moral restrictions." FREE was formed as an offshoot of an off-campus course, "The Homosexual Revolution," which had been taught in May 1969 by Koreen Phelps and Stephan Ihrig. The . . . As soon as the University's Senate Committee on Student Affairs approved FREE as a student organization, the group requested the use of campus facilities for a gay dance. It would be the country's first gay dance on a campus. To Jack's surprise, the university granted routine permission. The dance was a small, quiet affair, held on October 28 in the student union's Whole Coffeehouse. It went smoothly and received no notoriety." (p. 56-57) Note: the Stonewall riot occurred June 1969.
  • "In fact, during his months with FREE, Jack began to develop a strategy for the gay pride movement. He called it "steam-pipe politics" because it reminded him of throwing icy water on a hot steam pipe. "That's how you get people to pay attention," he said to me on one of my first visits with him in Minneapolis. "When the pipe hisses and sizzles, the public is reacting to a hot issue. Then you keep the pressure on. You try to cause a backlash. If enough pressure builds, the pipe will crack."" (p.59) This analogy was very appropriate at the University of Minnesota where it was often below zero degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and most University buildings used steam pipes to heat them and so many had a firsthand knowledge of it. The idea of being provocative as a political strategy was the one chosen by post-Stonewall era activists because they say the older, more conservative homophile approach as not accomplishing anything. (see my previous post OSU 'I am gay' writing class essay printed as paid advertisement in student newspaper (11/24/15))
  • "But pressures within FREE were also threatening to cause an explosion. The original founders, Koreen and Stephan, never dreamed of creating such a fast-paced, highly structured group, a group with both public and political profiles. Koreen and Stephan were comfortable operating in looser gatherings. They had created FREE as a meeting place, a cozy atmosphere where gays could get used to their identities, an ongoing "rap group" (discussion group) that provided moral support. . . One incident demonstrated the growing tensions between group members: a local TV station invited Stephan, Koreen, and Jack to appear on a Sunday morning talk show. Stephan agreed to appear only if he was filmed behind a screen, because he hitchhiked frequently and was afraid that his safety would be jeopardized if his face could be identified. Jack objected, and he didn't mince words. 'That reeks of hiding in the closet.'" (p. 60-61) - This type of disagreement between activists is commonly seen in social justice movements and in opinion, there is not one correct approach -- I believe both conservative and liberal approaches were needed to achieve social justice.
  • "The first term in law school includes a course in how to do legal research. As Jack learned, this is the cornerstone of all legal work. Always the eager student, he decided to put his newly mastered research skills into action as soon as his finals were completed in December 1969. So off he trotted to the law library. . . 'We're going to get married,' he said. . . .'We can get the license. Now. Anytime. All we have to do is apply. It's legal. There is nothing in the Minnesota statutes that mentions gender. We're old enough to get married, and I'm residing in the state. Nothing says you have to be a man and woman to get married."' (p.65)
  • Mike offered University of Minnesota librarian job Mar. 1970 (p. 67) and job offere was withdrawn when "the Regents' Executive Committee met in private and recommended that the full board deny my appointment" because he was gay (p. 75) -- today this type of job discrimination is still legal in many states, to not hire or fire somebody because they are gay, and it still goes on, however, most companies and organizations have learned to hide it so as not to appear discriminatory
  • "Hennepin County attorney George Scott: "'Without getting into the law . . . I'll just say that it's my understanding that there should be a male and female involved.' . . . He recommended that our application be denied on the basis of some fine print in the statutes regarding procedures: in order to distribute the task of processing marriage licenses fairly among jurisdictions, the State of Minnesota had specified that a license was to be issued in the county where the woman lives. Scott interpreted this as meaning that "if no woman is involved, a license can't be issued." (Talk about ridiculous-by this reasoning, it would have been perfectly fine for two women to marry.)" (p. 72)
  • "The university's attorney actually admitted that in the ten years that he had held his position it was unprecedented for the Regents to single out and reject one person from a list of candidates to be approved for employment. During his testimony, regent John Yngve, who chaired the committee that had rejected my appointment, called me a criminal. He said that he 'presumed' I had committed sodomy, which was illegal in Minnesota." (p. 78) -- this is why repealing sodomy laws was a key agenda item of gay activists, in addition to removing the lavel of being mentally ill by the American Psychiatric Association. In Oregon, the law was repealled with the help of liberal legislators because Oregon's old blue law against sodomy also criminalized heterosexual oral sex, including the mere licking of genitals!
  • "It was now becoming painfully clear to me that what should have been an easy victory was going to become a protracted, tedious, and costly battle. I couldn't survive on frustration alone, so I took a seasonal job selling clothes at Dayton's department store, and I started working a shift at a gay bar a few nights a week." (p. 79) -- department stores famously employed many gay men whose skill with working with women led to great sales commissions -- the stereotypical women's fashion designer back then was a gay man
  • "During this difficult period in my life, I began talking with John Preston, one of our friends, about the lack of services for gays in the Twin Cities. John and I started dreaming up a center that would soon become Gay House. Although I didn't get my college degree in social work and never envisioned myself in this type of service work, Gay House became an important part of my life for the next few years." (p.80 and Chapter 9) "He left the Twin Cities to become the editor of the Advocate, the national gay paper of the time. After leaving that job, he actually earned his living as a hustler in San Francisco for a while. Later, he fearlessly described his experiences in articles and in a successful series of gay erotic novels. Sadly, John contracted AIDS and died at the age of forty-eight." (p. 84) -- Today, this type of important service for gay tudents is institutionalized in many places, including the Oregon State University Pride Center. John Preston helped me personally before I decided to move from Minneapolis to Corvallis, Oregon to complete my graduate degree at OSU.
  • Mike quotes extensively, "One young fellow, a college student from Ames, Iowa, named Dennis Brumm, drove all the way to Minneapolis to visit the center." (p. 90-92) -- Brum was born circa 1952 an was 19 years old at the time. See the original blog post by Dennis Brumm, "The early gay liberation movement at Iowa State University, 1971-1978. My Own Early Gay History. The Personal is the Political," accessed Feb. 12, 2016 that says, "Jack Baker's letter told me Minneapolis had a Gay Community Center called Gay House" -- in the days of physical letters sent through the U.S. mail (no email) pen-pal contact was the only way many gay men could talk to other gay people
  • "While I remained closely connected with Gay House for its first few years, I gradually let go of my leadership role on the board and moved on to other activities. Jack and I were doing a lot of public speaking by then. In 1973, I got a job in a public library, and I became absorbed in my work. Jack and I began playing an active role in city politics. Unfortunately, Gay House came to a sad ending when a scandal involving its last director tarnished the center's reputation, and by 1980, the center was shut down. But during nearly a decade of operation, Gay House was a life-altering force -- if not a lifesaver -- for many of the young people who found their way through its doors." (p. 92-93) -- Mike worked as a librarian for 37 years before retiring "As for me: In 2010, I retired from an extremely satisfying thirty-seven-year career with the Hennepin County Library system, . . Two years after I retired, and forty-three years after the Board of Regents rescinded my job offer, University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler finally issued a public apology to me." (p. 143, 148, 167)
  • May 1970 -"As soon as our Hennepin County marriage license was rejected in May, we started thinking of ideas about how to proceed. Jack read related law cases, prepared briefs, and constructed timelines. Mike Wetherbee agreed to act as our attorney. He was a year ahead of Jack in law school, and now that he had graduated he was able to practice law. We trusted Mike. He had been an active and dynamic member of FREE; he negotiated with the university administration to allow the first gay dances on campus. . . . But Mike was new to the legal profession, and he made a procedural error . . Mike's mistake cost us a little time, since he had to file a second motion for a writ of mandamus." (p.95-97) -- FREE U of MN gay student group (see above)
  • "we began the appeal of our federal constitutional claim to the Minnesota Supreme Court. In the courts, our case was called Baker v. Nelson, which stands for Jack Baker against Gerald Nelson. Nelson was the clerk of the Hennepin County District Court, the official who granted marriage licenses." (p. 98) -- Although this story was covered by the press, it did not get any attention from nearly anyone outside of gay activists, many of whom say marriage as an obsolete institution and so did not feel that this case was significant
  • "In the first month of 1971, two stunning stories catapulted our struggle into national headlines. On January 26, the Minnesota Daily announced that Jack was running for student body president at the University of Minnesota. This was huge -- never before had an openly gay person announced a run for student body president. On the same day, Look magazine's special issue on the American family hit the newsstands. It featured a three-page spread about us, 'The Homosexual Couple.' . . . What we didn't know was the impact that it would have. The magazine had a circulation of 6.5 million -- among the large-format, general interest magazines of the day, its circulation was second only to Life." (p.98-99) -- "Look" was the direct competitor of "Life" magazine and both magazines were commonly read by adults and children often clipped photographs from them to illustrate school assignments (See previous posts Jack Baker 1971 Look magazine gay marriage story (7/23/09) and Life Magazine gay marriage 1971 (11/20/08)) -- Today what happened to them would be called "going viral" on the internet when millions of people check on you an viciously comment on you.
  • Photo of Jack Baker in high heels running for student body president (p. 106, 109) as a parody of the commonly held 20th Century stereotype that all gay men were really women "During the race, his posters became the key element in his success. There were three, each designed and shot by a local gay photographer, Paul Hagen. Only one was standard-issue campaign material. The other two were memorable and hilarious. We dubbed the most remarkable of them the "shoes poster." It was a photograph of Jack wearing a button-down shirt, slim jeans, and dark socks and sitting on the floor with his arms around his knees. Although Jack's grooming and attire suggest a respectable, clean-cut, handsome man -- the sort of man that every mom would want her daughter to marry -- his shoes are in the forefront. And his shoes are high heels. In large letters across the top of the poster were the words: put yourself in jack baker's shoes!" -- See previous post Gay U of M student body presidents Chris Armstrong and Jack Baker (10/3/10)
  • "In January 1971, during his very first interview as candidate for student body president, Jack established his memorable style as a campaigner. He insisted that he was not running as "the gay candidate" . . . Never before had a university in the United States -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- elected an openly gay student. The University of Minnesota had an enrollment of forty-three thousand students at its Twin Cities campus;" (p.107-112) -- the "not a gay candidate" identity is important political concept that is still being argued by gay activists. (See previous posts OSU 'I am gay' writing class essay printed as paid advertisement in student newspaper (11/24/15) and Oregon same-sex marriage vote and Pope resigns hits front page (2/21/13) for photos and links to other previous posts about the famous homophile activist W. Dorr Legg who was a Professor at Oregon State University during World War II and represented one side of this debate when he formed the gay Log Cabin Republicans group.)
  • " Of all the coverage, my favorite was an article that appeared in the Advocate in May. The headline read: "New president greeted by 'so what.'" It ran with the subhead, "He still does the dishes!" . . . The same article quoted a seventeen-year-old co-ed on campus: 'As long as he stands for the right things, is a good candidate, I don't think somebody's private life should be anybody else's concern.'" (p. 112) -- Once again, the gay newspaper played along with the gender bending humor by saying "he still does the dishes" and the "private life" quote was a common term of gay politics back then. Later on, many gay activists believed that their "private life" should be equally as public as if they were heterosexual -- straight people routinely advertise their lifestyle with marriage ceremonies and oth public displays of affection between husband and wife. Today, many believe this should be an individual choice, tolerated by polite society, instead of it being forced on an individual, gay or straight.
  • ". . . submitted the adoption papers in Hennepin County, Judge Lindsay Arthur listened to the arguments for J. Michael McConnell's adoption of Pat Lyn McConnell. (We chose Pat and Lyn because they were both gender-free names that were already used in the McConnell family.) . . Judge Arthur signed off on our adoption papers on August 3, 1971. Jack and I were delighted when we heard the news-at last, we could see an unobstructed, if unconventional, path to the altar. . . on August 9, I went to the Blue Earth County Courthouse and applied for a marriage license for Michael McConnell and his intended, Pat Lyn McConnell . . On August 16, Mankato's small newspaper, the Free Press, routinely printed the week's public announcements, including the notice of a marriage between James M. McConnell of Norman, Oklahoma, and Pat Lynn [sic] McConnell." (118-121)
  • "Finally we set the date: our marriage would take place on Friday night, September 3, 1971, at 9:15 p.m. . . . Gay House staff consultant, a Methodist minister named Roger Lynn, kindly offered his services. . . Paul Hagen, the photographer who had created Jack's campaign posters, offered to let us use his apartment . . " (p.123)
  • "Jack and I have never been into aping heterosexual roles, nor did we want to mock traditional marriages by staging a wedding in drag, with a bride in a frilly white gown and a groom in black tux. Instead, we invited our neighbor Steve Van Slooten to create unique wedding suits for the occasion. Steve was a clothing designer who worked for department stores like Dayton's in Minneapolis, and he made us matching white pantsuits." (p. 125) -- although Jack appeared in his student campaign poster in high heels, both he and Mike were not cross dressers, which the general public often equated with all gay men because cross-dressing entertainers were more common back then in the movies and on TV. Ironically, their suits were made of polyester, invented by my Grandfather Kraemer at DuPont, the company Jack had worked for a few years earlier. (p. 33 see comments above) Both polyester and nylon became culturally important fabric after World War II because they were marketed as DuPont as being a sign of American miracle fabrics. Nylons quickly replaced women's stockings as a fetish item for heterosexuals.
  • The man who married Jack and Mike, "Reverend Lynn was the target of much of the venom . . The bishop of the United Methodist Church, Paul Washburn, claimed that Roger had performed our ceremony illegally . . . After that, the director of the Loring-Nicollet Center, Rev. T. Harrison Bryant, moved to cancel Roger's contract." (p. 131, 123)
  • "Baker v. Nelson, our earlier request for a license from Hennepin County. On October 15, 1971, about six weeks after our wedding was solemnized, the court finally returned its decision. . . the court actually cited the Book of Genesis to deny our lawful rights. The judges stated that marriage involved "the procreation and rearing of children within a family." In answer to the obvious objection that heterosexual couples are not required to procreate, the ruling stated that ''abstract symmetry' is not demanded by the Fourteenth Amendment.'" (p. 134) -- the Biblical arguments and the procreation argument continue to be used today by those in opposition to same-sex marriage equality
  • Oct. 18, 1971 ". . . we heard the ruling in our other big lawsuit -- "McConnell v. Andersen" -- my job discrimination case. It was a bitter disappointment. . . The judges had focused on my "activist role" in promoting what they described as a "socially repugnant concept." They were implying that it was my fault for losing my job because I didn't pursue my "homosexual propensities" in a "clandestine" manner." (p. 135-136) -- Job discrimination against somebody who is gay is still legal in many parts of the U.S. today -- clearly, the Judges had the "disgust reaction" to homosexuality and rationalized their decision by denouncing gays for being activists and not in the closet as expected by society. This is why many early gay activists saw coming out publicly as being an important political tool that was necessary to get over the instinctive disgust reaction. (See previous posts Homophobia is disgust, not fear, reaction used for political gain (8/28/10) and Gaydar brain research (7/14/08))
  • "Although I didn't realize it at the time, one of the people who attended that campus demonstration was Allan Spear, then an associate professor of history at the U of M. Spear went on to become president of the Minnesota Senate and one of the first openly gay state legislators in the country. When he attended the rally, Spear was still in the closet. . . A closeted man for much of his career, he acknowledged being gay only after quite a bit of public pressure. Apparently we also had something to do with his coming out: he wrote that it was our "courageous work" with FREE that 'would force me to come to terms with my sexuality.'" (p.131, 137-138, 165) Alan Spear was one of the faculty members who heard my appeal on being gay bashed, and although he didn't help me, I could tell he took a special interest in my case.
  • (p. 149-150, 162) "we were still awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Baker v. Nelson, concerning our Hennepin County marriage license. In this case, Jack had asked Minnesota's Supreme Court to recognize an inherent right of same-sex couples to marry. The way he posed the legal question was critical -- he purposefully framed the legal question so that it involved a state's interpretation of the federal constitution. He knew the U.S. Supreme Court was required to review any case that came before it involving this kind of question. Furthermore, this kind of case would be allowed to bypass the lower courts and be appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Congress has since abolished this option.) . . . In the fall of 1972, Jack entered his last term of law school with plans for a December graduation. That October, we finally received the U.S. Supreme Court's reply: another fizzle. The judges dismissed our case "for want of a substantial federal question." . . . the meaning of the words "for want of a substantial federal question" was fuzzy enough to cause a debate among legal scholars that lasted for over four decades." . . ." (Perhaps that explains why the U.S. Supreme Court felt the need to declare "Baker v. Nelson must be and is now overruled" when it finally ruled on gay marriage in 2015.)"
  • (p. 152-53) photo of Jack and Mike wearing sandals, "In the midst of remodeling our new home, September 1980."
  • " I had been gradually moving up the ranks of the Hennepin County Library system. By 1980, I had reached the position of senior librarian. . . I was making a difference in people's lives, just as I had at Gay House. The focus of the gay rights movement had also changed. Once AIDS was identified, the conversation had shifted to medical care and funding to find a cure. We felt these issues were best handled by a new generation of leaders. Jack and I had fought for the right to marry, and we had found our own way to make our vision a reality. We hoped that other gay men and women would soon follow in our footsteps and enjoy the right to marry and live openly, with dignity and pride. It was time for us to be silent and let younger singers take the microphone." (p.161)
  • Photo of Jack and Mike holding newspaper headline (p. 162-163, p. 98, 134, 143, 149-150) "Nearly forty-three years to the day after Jack and I applied for our marriage license in Hennepin County, justice prevailed. Our state, Minnesota, became the twelfth state to legalize marriage for all lovers on May 13, 2013. . . ." plus photo of Jane 2015 newspaper headline announcing the U.S. Supreme Court overruled their 1972 decision in "Baker v. Nelson" gay marriage case.
  • "When the University of Minnesota Press offered to publish this book, we felt that events had come full circle. Jack and I have had a long and complex relationship with this institution. It's where he learned the law. It's where we battled for gay rights. It's where I was denied my job. Now its archive, the Tretter Collection, houses the record of our legal battle for the right to live and love openly. And its press has become the home where our story lives on." (p. 169) -- As somebody who experienced this change, I find Jack and Mike's story truly heartwarming and it provides me hope that the human race will continue to improve over the next century.
  • Some missing items int the index p. 171-174: Baker v. Nelson overruled p. 150 and 162. DuPont job p. 33, 126 polyester and Dolese p. 9 -- Gay House address p. 86 -- Reverend Lynn Roger, p. 123, 131, May 18, 1970 p. 70. Jack Baker Minnesota Student Association posters p. 109. John Preston photo p. 82. Steampipe politics p. 59.

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