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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gay newspaper editor Tim Campbell (1939-2015) obituary

Tim Campbell became the press contact for the mainstream Minneapolis-St. Paul newspaper reporters of news about the University of Minnesota's FREE gay rights groups, which Jack Baker and Michael McConnell help form and used to help with their pioneering 1070's gay marriage activism. When I was going to the University of Minnesota, I never got to know Tim Campbell before I had left for graduate school in 1975 and well before Tim became the editor of two gay newspapers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. However, I appreciated his gay activism and was sorry to read about his death:

Gay rights activist Tim Campbell died December 26, 2015, in Houston, Texas, at the age of 76, from esophageal cancer.

Campbell was perhaps best known as the publisher of the GLC Voice newspaper in Minneapolis, which came out from 1979 through 1992. During that period he was the go to person in Minneapolis for the media whenever they needed a quick quote on some gay related event. . .

Campbell was asked by FREE, a University of Minnesota gay and lesbian group, to be their spokesperson with the press at a rally for equal employment for gays and lesbians. That march passed from the university campus downtown to the offices of Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in the spring of 1974. From then forward, the local press kept his phone number handy. . .

From 1973-74, Campbell joined with Jack Baker and Mike McConnell in conducting accredited seminars in sensitivity training on gay issues for students in the Education Department. . . Campbell, Baker and McConnell encouraged each other in the belief that they could "change the way people see gays" by working to do so. That was the purpose of Jack and Mike's gay marriage, the first of its kind in the USA . .

Editor's note: This obituary was written by Campbell himself, with date of death and age at death supplied by family. This obituary has been printed as submitted.

(Quoted from "Obituary: Tim Campbell," posted Dec. 30, 2015)

See some previous posts and links related to Tim Campbell:

Intel cofounder Andy Grove (1936-2016) remembered for "constructive confrontation" management culture

I only got to meet with the cofounder of Intel Andy Grove a few times as part of a strategic partnership between Intel and the HP division that made instruments used to design and build microprocessors, but I got to see and hear alot about him while living in the Silicon Valley in the 1980's. My friends who worked at Intel told me it was a bare-knuckled work environment where only the strongest and loudest survived.

However, I was still sadden to read Andy Grove's obituary by the a Silicon Valley newspaper reporter, Steve Johnson, "Andy Grove, former Intel CEO and Silicon Valley icon, dies at 79," The Mercury News posted Mar. 22, 2016 - "Born Andras Grof in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept. 2, 1936 -- the only child in a Jewish family of decidedly modest means -- he endured the repressive Nazis and subsequent Soviet occupations of that country and sometimes had to conceal his ancestry to avoid persecution."

Given my insider knowledge of Intel's workplace culture, I was still mildly surprised that Andy Grove's handpicked successor and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett, told the Silicon Valley TV show, "Bloomberg West," (3PM Mar. 22, 2016, Bloomberg TV Comcast Ch. 743) that he credited Andy Grove for leading the important Intel management culture of "constructive confrontation"l, which Barret said is still in place today.

My first brush with this when I took a Stanford business school management training class in the 1980's that used a then topical book by Andy Grove, "High Output Management," Random House, 1983. HP cofounders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard led a different management style that opposed impolite confrontation, but I found that both of these successful businesses had embedded management cultures that worked, though in different ways. In fact, when HP Corporate first starting to lose its way was when management became unwilling to "iterate toward a solution," which was HP-speak for the same idea embodied in Intel's "constructive confrontation."

UUPDATE 3/30/16:

I saw for sale on the newsstands yesterday the magazine Newsweek Special Edition, "The Founding Fathers of Silicon Valley, Exploring 60 Years of Innovation," displayed on newsstands until May 28, 2016. It included pphotos of Bill Hewlett and David Packard in front of their famous garage, and an article showin a photo of Andy Grove at Fairchild Semiconductors, before he left to start Intel, in the article "Tech & Science: The Microchip That Made Silicon Valley -- and All Modern Technology -- Possible," p. 14-24

END UPDATE 3/30/16:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Apple demolishes old HP site in Silicon Valley to build 'spaceship' headquarters

Apr. 1989 site map faxed from Hewlett-Packard Cupertino site to visitors

PHOTO: FAX copy of an April, 1989 site map, routinely given to visitors, of the old Hewlett-Packard Cupertino, California buildings, all of which were recently demolished to make way for the new "spaceship" headquarters building being built for Apple Computer.

Apple Computer's 'spaceship' headquarters to be built on old HP Cupertino site

PGOTO: An architectural rendering of the new Apple Computer "spaceship" building that is currently being built in Silicon Valley on the old Hewlett-Packard Cupertino, California site. Apple Founder Steve Jobs presented detailed plans for Apple's new headquarters building to the Cupertino City Council on June 7, 2011 and then, shortly after its approval for construction, on October 15, 2013, demolition workers started tearing down all of the buildings on the old HP Cupertino site while Steve Jobs was still alive. (See "Apple Campus 2" accessed Feb. 5, 2016)

MAP: Embedded Google map of 19111 Pruneridge Avenue Cupertino, CA 95014, which is the street address for the new Apple headquarters building being built on the old Hewlett-Packard Cupertino site. When HP buildings occupied the site, the City of Cupertino and the U.S. Post office had assigned several different street addresses to the site, but ironically the street address being used by Apple today is the same address used in 1986 by the HP Commercial Systems Division that designed and built computers in an era when Apple was still a small company aspiring to be like HP. The Cupertino site was also where HP built its famous handheld calculators and handheld computers before moving the division to a newly built Corvallis, Oregon site in 1975. Shortly before this move, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak had worked as a technician for Hewlett-Packard where he became inspired by an HP desktop computer to leave HP and build the first Apple Computer. (See previous posts Woz on net neutrality and Apple watch apes 1977 Hewlett-Packard marketing strategy (3/26/15) and Apple watch apes 1970's HP watch (9/26/14))

Corvallis land use politics had become heated during the post-World War II building boom. The battle between citizens for "no-growth," and citizens who wanted planned growth, hit a boiling point when Hewlett-Packard built a new site in Corvallis to design and build handheld calculators and computers in 1975. The local newspaper, the "Corvallis Gazette-Times," covered this controversy and it led to major revisions of the City of Corvallis's land use plans and building codes. Prior to these legally enacted changes in City policy, land developers and home builders were typically allowed to do what they wanted and they often profited by taking shortcuts and taxpayers got stuck paying to fix it. Entire neighborhoods were built without proper plans for the necessary city streets and city services needed to make things work right for the entire city. In my opinion, these changes have successfully kept Corvallis a nice place to live, while also permitting new building to take place in an orderly and safe manner that is fully paid for by the developers instead of the taxpayers. It is a good counterexample to the free-market Republicans who gripe about the "nanny government" taking away their freedom to build what they want to make a profit.

A recent TV news story about Apple's new building prompted me to write the following letter to the editor of the professional "Corvallis Gazette-Times" newspaper in Corvallis, Oregon, which originally covered the news story of Corvallis citizen's concerns about Hewlett-Packard building their new site in 1975:

Sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed the similarity of buildings on the Corvallis campus of Hewlett-Packard to the buildings being demolished to make way for the new "spaceship" being built for Apple Computer in Cupertino, California, which was recently shown on a Eugene TV newscast.

The similarity of these buildings is not a coincidence because HP handheld calculators and computers were designed and built in one of these Cupertino buildings before the division was moved to a new HP Corvallis site in 1975.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak famously worked in one of these Cupertino buildings for HP as a technician, but quit because he lacked an expected engineering degree.

Similarly, Steve Jobs idolized company founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, and worked diligently for decades to surpass HP, which is why I am sure Jobs, before he died, literally relished demolishing HP Cupertino buildings for Apple's new headquarters.

I built the world's first smartphone in 1982 using an HP handheld computer and the prototype cell phone technology from Bell Labs and Motorola, but after HP cancelled my project I showed it to Steve Jobs at a conference where I could tell he understood its significance, unlike nearly everyone else.

I am sure that if Bill and Dave were still alive today, their reaction to Steve Job's new monument would be that such extravagance is the sign of a company flowering just before it dies.

I ask, is Corvallis ready for a similar spaceship landing on the HP Corvallis site?
(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, unpublished letter to editor of Gazette-Times, Corvallis, Oregon)

See the following links:

  • City of Cupertino City Hall web page "Apple Campus 2" accessed Feb. 5, 2016 - "Most of the 175 acre area is located on the former Hewlett Packard (HP) campus and is bounded by I-280 to the south, Wolfe Road to the west, Homestead Road to the north and North Tantau Avenue to the east."
  • Matt Wilson, "Cupertino: Pruneridge Avenue nears the end of the road with permanent closure," posted Mar. 26, 2014 - "Portions of Pruneridge Avenue abutting the future home of Apple Campus 2 are expected to remain open through the end of March, but could be closed permanently in the coming weeks."
  • "Apple Campus," accessed Feb. 5, 2016 (See subsection "Apple Campus 2") - "In April 2006, Steve Jobs announced to the city council of Cupertino that Apple had acquired nine contiguous properties to build a second campus. . . On June 7, 2011, Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs presented to Cupertino City Council details of the architectural design of the new buildings and their environs. The new campus, on a site now totaling 175 acres . . .This proved to be Jobs' last public appearance before his death in October 2011. . . On October 15, 2013, Cupertino City Council unanimously approved Apple's plans for the new campus. . . Shortly thereafter, demolition work began to prepare the site for the new construction . . . started in 2014, it is expected to be open in late 2016 or early 2017"

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Academic paper on recognition of tops vs. bottoms goes viral

In response to the question 'What do you identify as?' nearly one-quarter checked top, one quarter checked bottom, and half checked versatile (a.k.a., bottom in denial)

PHOTO: In response to the question "What do you identify as?" nearly one-quarter checked "top," one quarter checked "bottom," and half checked "versatile (a.k.a., bottom in denial)." From "The 2003 'Unzipped' Sex Survey Results, We asked, you told, we got a boner," Unzipped magazine, Oct. 2003, p. 48-55 that tabulated the responses of 2,650 readers who marked their answers on a page torn out from a previous issue of the magazine and physically mailed it to the magazine. The magazine editors claim "the average age of respondents was between 38 and 42" without also giving the median or histogram of ages. (See previous posts Scientific American on gay top, bottom or versatile preferences (10/13/09) and Top, bottom, versatile "Unzipped" 2003 survey (6/7/09))

The academic paper by Konstantin O. Tskhay and Nicholas O. Rule, "Accurate Identification of a Preference for Insertive Versus Receptive Intercourse from Static Facial Cues of Gay Men," Archives of Sexual Behavior, Published online: 2 April 2013 (PDF), has recently gone viral thanks to it being referenced by some mainstream internet sites. A good summary of their research paper was provided in a gay magazine article by Brenden Shucart, "My Eyes Are Up Here. A recent study suggests that the whole world knows I'm a bottom -- and they can tell just by looking at my face," The Advocate, April/May 2016, p. 24 posted online March 02 2016 as "STUDY: Can You Tell He's a Bottom Just by Looking?".

When I first saw this article a month ago, it reminded me that I had neglected to mention the political and social issues of gay men identifying as being either a top or a bottom in my blog response to a student's general writing class essay about wanting to have control over how and when he identifies as being gay. My blog post tied it back to gay history and the "internalized homophobia" issue. (See previous post OSU 'I am gay' writing class essay printed as paid advertisement in student newspaper (11/24/15))

It is probably best that I forgot to mention it because the TA's for these English classes had all of the students read my analysis. I suspect that the top vs. bottom issue would have been too advanced of a subject for such a general audience not yet exposed to some of the theoretical work on gender roles, etc.

Another more advanced identity issue that I also avoided, which peaked when AIDS and HIV infections were still a new discovery in the 1980's, is the issue of whether gay men identify openly as being HIV-positive or HIV-negative. I am too tired to summarize the arguments, but I want to note that at one time, many gay men openly decided, out of respect, to never reveal their HIV status because it would discourage discrimination based on HIV status and encourage having safe sex always, instead of risky bareback sex. Likewise, a few gay men actually had a tattoo artist draw a big HIV- (HIV negative minus sign) on their buttock, with the expectation that the minus sign could be easily modified to be a + positive positive sign by adding onto the tattoo. They assumed that their tattoo would warn other men that they were infected with HIV. I witnessed this, in the 1980's, when I was living in San Francisco and AIDS first became visible.

A counterintuitive finding of this study was that people could identify self-professed tops significantly better than by chance, but they were only able to correctly identify bottoms less than 40 percent of the time. You can read the paper's hypothesizes why this is true, but in my opinion, the stereotypical bottom is effeminate versus the more masculine top and this is often what people trigger on, right or wrong.

This paper provides another example of the type of research that my endowed research fund has been set up to sponsor. (See previous post OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement (1/4/12)) Also, see previous posts:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Wall Street 'financial engineering' adds risk to HP retirees' pensions

headline 'H-P executive predicts 700 new jobs' Gazette-Times Aug. 8, 1974, p. 2

PHOTO: A newspaper headline from 1974 reports Hewlett-Packard's plans to build a calculator plant and research facility in Corvallis as described in the newspaper article by John Atkins, "H-P executive predicts 700 new jobs," Gazette-Times Aug. 8, 1974, p. 2. (See previous posts HP breakup making Bill and Dave spin in their graves (8/11/15) , Don't Cali-fornicate Oregon and HP annexation history (6/14/12) and HP and Corvallis newspaper history (3/11/09) about the move of the Hewlett-Packard calculator division to Corvallis in 1975)

Today, the business news is full of stories about the "financial engineering" of Wall Street that is being done supposedly to "enhance shareholder value," or in laymen's terms, to increase the profits of investors. Although it can be argued whether or not individual investors will also profit from Wall Street's financial engineering, it is clear that individual workers and retirees are often the source of these extra profits by increasing the risk levels or by the outright underfunding of pension plans.

For example, I recently received a letter, written in the dense legal language used by lawyers who are required to comply with government regulations and laws concerning pensions, which disclosed the financial plans for grandfathered company pension plans after the latest split-up of Hewlett-Packard. It prompted me the following letter to the editor of my local paper that is located in a town that for decades has been dominated economically by an HP division and Oregon State University:

I didn't believe the newspaper stories until I received a legal letter confirming that the financial obligations of grandfathered Hewlett-Packard retirement plans were dumped entirely onto the new HP Inc. personal computer and printer business instead of it being shared equally with the newly split off Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co. software and services business.

The good news is that these grandfathered plans appear to be fully funded.

The bad news is that a Wall Street reporter recently claimed that HP Inc. is financially "in a freefall."

Clearly, Wall Street's so-called "financial engineering," of splitting up HP for profit, is being done at the expense of main street retirees by concentrating pension risk in a less diversified HP Inc.

Most companies, including HP, quit offering traditional retirement plans to newer employees after President Reagan led Congress in changing pension laws in a way that has shifted nearly all of the responsibility for retirement savings from employers to employees' 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts.

If Donald Trump is elected President, I expect Congress will, as President Reagan envisioned, eliminate Social Security because conservatives have opposed it since FDR signed it into law in 1935.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Does HP move foreshadow future?" posted Mar. 14, 2016)

The reduction in diversification of Hewlett-Packard is even when worse when you add in the previous split off of the HP instrument divisions, which formed the start of HP in 1939, and then a further split of instrument divisions into two new companies, Agilent Technologies and KeySight Technologies. When HP was being run by its founders, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, they purposely wanted diversification because it was their personal fortune, whereas today the fad on Wall Street is not to diversify because it makes it harder for Wall Street to see how each part of the company is doing profit wise. (See previous post HP breakup making Bill and Dave spin in their graves (8/11/15))

In fact, the risks associated with company pensions is why pension reform laws were passed decades ago and the "Pension Benefits Insurance Corp." was formed to cover pensions when companies go out of business or individuals' company pension plans crash for whatever reason. These risks are often pointed to by conservatives as the reason why you want to shift pension responsibility to employees via IRA plans and 401(k) plans. Of course, businesses love doing this because it costs them less and many skilled employees have recently been able to be better off financially by managing their own accounts, however, shifting pension responsibility leaves a large segment of workers uncovered by any pension savings, and so these employees will eventually become a burden to society, which became evident during the FDR era that led to the invention of the Social Security retirement system in America. (See the official Social Security website: "Social Security History, 1935 Congressional Debates on Social Security," accessed Mar. 5, 2016 that says, "On August 14, 1935 President Roosevelt signed the bill into law at a ceremony in the White House Cabinet Room." Note that the definitions of Party line votes was different back then, but it is clear from history that conservatives and liberals have always been at odds on Social Security, even though both Republicans and Democrats have supported it at various times.

UPDATE Mar. 30, 2016 - see articles by Carol Matlack, "The Case of The Missing Pension: Tracking down a plan from a former employer can be difficult," Businessweek, Mar. 28-Apr. 3, 2016, p. 50-52 (my former employer divided up into four companies, but the pension manager Fidelity is sending me monthly retirement checks) and Lewis Braham, "Tax Planning: Watch Out, Boomers, Here Comes 70: Mandatory payouts from savings plans may trigger new taxes," Businessweek, Mar. 28-Apr. 3, 2016, p. 48-49 that says, "Why is 70 the magic number? U.S. tax law stipulates that you must take your first required minimum distribution (RMD) from your individual retirement account and 401(k) accounts in the year you turn 70-1/2 . . . Those who don't comply face a 50 percent penalty on that amount. . . The scale of distributions for boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964, will put financial advisers in uncharted territory. . . Fidelity Investments . . average IRA balance for its 70-year-old clients is about $200,000 . . The RMD in 2016 starts at 3.6 percent of the yearend balance on your tax-deferred retirement accounts and grows each year: By age 80 you're taking out 5.3 percent, and by age 90, 7.9 percent."

The first Businessweek article echoes my letter Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Does HP move foreshadow future?" posted Mar. 14, 2016 concerning the shift to 401(k) and IRA from employer pension plans.

The second Businessweek article doesn't mention the option of self-annuitizing your IRA at age 59-1/2, without penalty, which results in a smaller monthly payment and a tax bill spread over your expected life span. I took this option, despite it not being advised by all financial planners, because I didn't need a big withdrawal each month and I wanted to avoid a bigger tax bill later on when the RMD became greater and greater each year. The low interest rate environment made it an even smaller monthly payment amortized over my life expectancy assumed by the IRS.

I looked into the possibility of buying a life insurance annuity, but it didn't make sense because the fees were too high and it eliminated any flexibility of changing my mind. By doing my own annuity payments from my IRA, there is a chance that I could be lucky and have the IRA grow faster than what the monthly payments, but I also risk it being wiped out prematurely, unlike with a life insurance annuity, but I would still have to worry about the solvency of the insurance company.

Note that a graph in the second Businessweek article shows the percentage of population older than 70 rising from less than 9 percent of the U.S. population in 2015 to nearly 18 percent in 2035 before leveling out for a while. This large number of nearly 1 out of 5 people being over the age of 70 will cause an interesting change in the economy especially given the psychology of retirees not wanting to spend too much money.

The second article, Lewis Braham, "Tax Planning: Watch Out, Boomers, Here Comes 70: Mandatory payouts from savings plans may trigger new taxes," Businessweek, Mar. 28-Apr. 3, 2016, p. 48-49, also quotes a Fidelity Investments manager who claims, "the average IRA balance for its 70-year-old clients is about $200,000 . . ," and notes, "Managing your RMDs isn't the only financial challenge awaiting those who turn 70. That's also the age when an individual can begin collecting the maximum benefit for Social Security. Those who opt to receive benefits at the earliest age of 62 receive about 25 percent less per month than a 66-year-old retiree and 43 percent less than a 70-year-old one. Boomers who have the financial wherewithal should definitely hold off until 70." Although conventional financial planning advice is to wait to take Social Security to get the bigger amount, I am glad that my mother decided to take it at age 63 because she died at the age of 65 and would not receive anything back form either her or my dad's Social Security payments.

END OF UPDATE Mar. 30, 2016

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Judge upholds gay marriage ban in Puerto Rico by deciding Constitutional rights to equal protection apply only to states, not a commonwealth

Baker et al. v. Nelson, United States Reports, Volume 409, Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court, October Term, 1972, Oct. 10, 1972 'dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.'

PHOTO: The OSU library's printed and bound copy from 1972 of the first U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in a case initiated by a University of Minnesota law student Jack Baker: Baker et al. v. Nelson, Oct. 10, 1972, "United States Reports, Volume 409, Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court, October Term, 1972," U.S. Government Printing Office, 1974, p. 810. (See previous posts Gay marriage decision by SCOTUS resolves 1972 Baker v Nelson case (6/27/15), Arthur Leonard CA Prop 8 appeal still citing Jack Baker gay marriage case (8/3/12), Book by Michael McConnell on his marriage to Jack Baker that led to the first Supreme Court case on gay marriage (12/29/15) and My notes on autobiography by Michael McConnell with Jack Baker gay marriage activism (2/14/16))

Legal battles over the rights granted to all citizens by the U.S. Constitution have always fascinated me ever since I saw the first U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage in 1972. I have witnessed how social justice will eventually prevail, even though it can take decades to be granted the U.S.

Having followed the battle over gay marriage since 1972, it shouldn't have surprised me, but it did, to read that U.S. District Judge Juan M. Perez-Gimenez in Puerto Rico decided that the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution to all citizens, for equal protection under the law, does not apply in Puerto Rico because it is a commonwealth of the U.S. instead of it being one of the States. The implication of this ruling is that Puerto Rico laws could choose to also discriminate based on race or gender. A law professor's blog had the following comments on the case:

"More significantly, Judge Perez-Gimenez claimed that because Puerto Rico is neither a "state" nor an "incorporated territory," but rather an "unincorporated territory" with extensive self-government rights under a federal statute making it a "commonwealth," . . . the 14th Amendment provides expressly that "no state" may deprive a person of due process or equal protection, and that because Puerto Rico is not a state, the 14th Amendment doesn't apply . . ."
(Quoted from Art Leonard, "Federal Judge in Puerto Rico Claims Obergefell v. Hodges Does Not Apply There," posted Mar. 9, 2016)

I sometimes wonder if I will live long enough to see the day when gay marriage is a non-issue in America. Social Security Administrators told me that their standard calculations expect me to live approximately another two decades and so there is hope!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Gay marriage history on PBS by Marc Solomon still omitting Jack Baker and Michael McConnell

Marc Solomon on PBS TV program 2016 talking about gay marriage activism

PHOTO: Host Douglas Blackmon of the TV show "American Forum" from The Miller Center, which claims it "is a nonpartisan institute," interviews one of the Freedom to Marry leaders, Marc Solomon, whose history of gay marriage activism is still omitting any mention of Jack Baker's first U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage in 1972. (The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history.) See video "Winning Marriage: How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits -- and Won - American Forum guest Marc Solomon," Feb. 2, 2015, PBS World Channel Broadcast: Virginia, January 3, 2016, and PBS nationally January 6, 2016. This aired on my local PBS TV station under the title, "Miller Center's American Forum: From a Crime to a National Civil Right (Gay Marriage)" Oregon Public Broadcasting OPB KOAC TV channel 7.3 (Comcast cable channel 310) Feb. 27, 2016 7:00AM-7:30AM originally aired 1/03/16.

Books on gay marriage activism by Marc Solomon and Michael McConnell with Jack Baker

PHOTO: two books about the history of the fight for gay marriage by Marc Solomon, "Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits--And Won," Foreedge 2014 (left) and the 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, which chronicles Michael McConnell's marriage to Jack Baker, whose marriage activism led to the first U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in 1972. (See previous posts My notes on autobiography by Michael McConnell with Jack Baker gay marriage activism (2/14/16), Oregonian book review of new gay marriage history book (12/9/14) 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))

I went to Marc Solomon's Freedom to Marry Website and noticed that for some unstated reason, its history page "How it happened" accessed Nar, 1, 2016 says, "Chapter 1: Pioneering the Marriage Movement 'The Early Years (1970s-1983)' Richard Baker and James Michael McConnell were among the early pioneers who sought the freedom to marry in court in the 1970s and 1980s." It doesn't mention that Jack Baker is the name he goes by normally. (Note: Jack's given name, Richard, and Jack's full name -- Richard John Baker, is documented in p. 31 of McConnell's autobiography shown in the photo above.) I've noticed that in every interview of Marc Solomon he always mentions Hawaii (1993-1996) as being the start of the gay marriage movement just before he started working at Freedom to Marry. For example, in the above PBS TV interview, Host Douglas Blackmon carefully summarizes the history of the 1969 Stonewall riots, but doesn't mention the "Baker v. Nelson" U.S. Supreme Court ruling, and then he asks Marc when did the gay marriage movement began. Marc replied, "So I'd say the beginning of the fight for marriage in earnest was in Hawaii in the mid 1990s when same-sex couples filed a suit and they won for the first time. They won in, you know the Supreme Court said that they applied heightened scrutiny, it went back to a trial, then we won in a trial. Now that was knocked out ah to a constitutional amendment in Hawaii and then the results of that was Congress passing the so called Defense of Marriage Act which overwhelmingly was signed into law by President Clinton. . . . I got involved in the early 2000s in Massachusetts and that was the first court case where we prevailed and same-sex couples were able to marry. But back then I remember so clearly the day that we won."

Some other of the questions and Marc's answers during the above PBS TV interview are quoted below:

"IBlackmon: So we've now passed through this tremendous change, tremendous legal change, a of what seems to be a giant shift in the opinion of rank and file Americans something like 65 percent right? Americans are supportive in one way or another of gay marriage, equal marriage. A host of political figures like the ones I was just naming except Governor Romney have changed dramatically their position in terms of equal marriage. But if that wasn't the result of simply the evolution of American values toward this more progressive or inclusive sense of things, if that's not what this was, what was it?

Solomon: It was a social movement. It was the result of you know 15 years is one way to count it. Some say 30 plus years of telling our stories, organizing, sharing who we were with the ultimate goal of getting the Supreme Court to rule our way, but I can promise you if we had gone to the Supreme Court ten years ago or five years ago they would not have ruled this way. The Constitution hasn't changed. So it's really what people's understanding of who gay and lesbian people are, and why gay and lesbian people want to marry that has changed."

(Quoted from "Winning Marriage: How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits-and Won - American Forum, guest Marc Solomon," Feb. 2, 2015 PBS World Channel Broadcast: Virginia-January 3, 2016/Nationally-January 6, 2016)

The host's questions and comments, perhaps unintentionally, were worded similar to the language of right-wing anti-gay demagogues, such as their propaganda that gay marriage happened "so fast," which makes it seem like a "civil right" was obtained only through political trickery instead of because it was finally recognized as being an equal application of law to every citizen. Of course, it is easy to say it happened fast when the history you give ignores the 1972 "Baker v. Nelson" decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage and it also ignores the fact that over half a century ago the homophile activist W. Dorr Legg was publishing academic articles discussing "homosexual marriage" and its implications that it might hinder sexual freedom like it did for heterosexual couples. (See previous posts Supreme Court on Jack Baker's gay marriage case 42 years later (3/26/13) and Supreme Court gay marriage decision vindicates Jack Baker and W. Dorr Legg 50 years later (6/27/13) )

Also see previous posts and links: