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December 15, 2017

Pride Weekend – Joy and Sadness


~The Empire State Building in rainbow colors last night to celebrate marriage equality


I, like many Americans, sat last night riveted, watching the New York State Senate debate and vote on a bill for Marriage Equality. I watched while Senator Ruben Diaz monopolized the floor talking about how his rights were being violated by having to stick to a 2 minute time period for comment. He wanted to make sure he had three times the time of anyone else to talk about how God had already made the decision about gay marriage, and it wasn’t Albany’s place to do so. But Diaz finally had to yield both his time, and his imagined theocracy to others. Post Politics notes the irony.

As more and more Republicans warm up to the idea [of same-sex marriage], it has been Democrats — most visibly, those who hail from black and Latino Christian communities — who have stood in the way.

~A demonstrator opposing Anchorage’s equal rights ordinance. June, 2009.

Senator Tom Duane (D) got up and told of coming out to his Catholic parents when he was 18 years old. They were afraid for him, and sad. They thought he would be persecuted, and lonely, and never able to marry, and the victim of discrimination. It turns out that they were only partially right. He asked the Senate to vote yes for him and his partner Louis, and for all New Yorkers.

Senator Mark Grisanti, a Republican and practicing Catholic spoke of his difficulties. He had once opposed the bill and still objects to the use of the word “marriage” to describe a same-sex union. He apologized to those constituents who would be disappointed by his change of heart. But, he said, “a man can be wiser today than yesterday,” and as an attorney he could not “legally come up with an argument against same-sex marriage.” His sense of justice and equality, and law trumped the way he was raised.

A critical last-minute yes vote came from another Republican Senator, Stephen Saland.  He had been undecided until the end and described his “emotional journey.” “My vote is a vote of conscience,” he said. “I am at peace with my vote.”

Ultimately, the votes were cast and the bill passed 33-29. In celebration, the Empire State Building was illuminated in rainbow colors. Half a continent away, another landmark followed suit.  The I-35W bridge in Minneapolis was also ablaze with the colors of the rainbow to celebrate its own PrideFest weekend. The rainbow bridge had been thwarted for years by former Republican governor Tim Pawlenty, but the new administration let the project go forward.

While New York and five other states have openly declared citizens to be equal in their rights, Anchorage has a long way to go. In the summer of 2009, after listening to dozens of hours of testimony, the Anchorage Assembly voted for Ordinance 64 that would allow its LGBT citizens equal rights in such basic things as housing, education, employment, and use of public facilities. But, Mayor Dan Sullivan vetoed the decision, meaning that members of the LGBT community can legally be denied housing, or fired from their jobs just for being gay.

E. Ross, over at Bent Alaska notes:

There is no residency requirement to marry in the state of New York, so Alaska’s gay and lesbian couples can get legally married there. New York does not have an initiative process that could be used to overturn this victory like opponents did in California. The law doubles the number of people in the U.S. who live where same sex couples can marry.

~Protest was a family affair in 2009 in Anchorage. Sign reads “When the Gay Agenda Destroys Civil Liberties, Everyone Loses.”

Alaskans must take their victories vicariously by sharing triumphs in spirit with other states. On that note, today’s Pride Fest celebrations, including the annual parade in downtown Anchorage promised to be even more festive than usual coming on the heels of the historic New York vote. But it was not to be.

A pedestrian was tragically struck and killed by the convertible of the Grand Marshal of the parade in front of onlookers.

Police spokesman Lt. David Parker identified the victim as a 50-year-old man — not a woman, as the Daily News initially reported.

Grand Marshal Doug Frank said he was riding in the black convertible when the driver had trouble with the car’s accelerator. It lurched forward, Frank said.

“It ran over a person, totally over,” he said, sobbing. “This went from one of the best days of my life to the worst.”

The parade was canceled while police investigated the scene and traffic was restricted for blocks around. Other events continued, but the tragedy made hearts heavy.

John Aronno of  Alaska Commons reports that the event organizers held a moment of silence and reminded the crowd that Pridefest is also a celebration of life and love, and that the tragedy shouldn’t negate this day set aside for the community.

This is a developing story. You can get updates at The Anchorage Daily News HERE. They are asking anyone who witnessed the event to contact

A day of congratulations and condolences.



31 Responses to “Pride Weekend – Joy and Sadness”
  1. Electrolass says:

    Goodbye James Crump. You will be missed. My thoughts, prayers and well wishes go out to your family and friends.

    My thoughts and prayers are also with Edith. I work in Safety, and I know that most mishaps are a combination of unforeseen events leading to tragic outcomes. May we be able to step back away from the need to blame and do all that can be done to learn from this sad occurrence.

    Above all, I hope we can balance in our lives the need to fight for justice and equality with the knowledge that we only have the moment to enjoy our lives in whatever capacity we are allotted.

  2. Judi says:

    My deepest sympathy to his friends and family. How very tragic during a joyous celebration.

    I am so VERY PROUD to be a New Yorker right now. Yes we did it!!!!….finally. I really want to commend the two gop senators…who acted out of what they truly thought was best, fair and just ..Equality for ALL….rather than just their own political gains. It took much COURAGE. Sent them emails saying as much. (my senator voted NO…and oh yes she heard from me as well)

    Someone pointed out…what if NY had the super majority rule….would we blame Cuomo for it not passing? Just a thought….

  3. barbara says:

    tragedy and joy all mixed up. my niece was born on the morning of my father’s funeral. crying.

  4. Kath the Scrappy says:

    What a tragic situation and a loss on such a happy occasion!

    My condolences.

  5. blue_in_AK says:

    I didn’t witness the event itself, only that we could see that the parade was stopped and that they were trying to revise someone laying in the road. My husband saw someone jump out of the car. It was horribly sad. My heart goes out to the driver who must be beside herself with grief and guilt tonight.

  6. Alaska Pi says:

    I am so sorry for Mr Crump , his loved ones, and all who were there.

    New York – I hope you are proud of your Senators
    This is so overdue
    Still so much to do in so many places.
    Equal rights and protections for all citizens is the most important of all the American dreams
    And the one most worth trying to make reality.
    Congratulations New York!

    • zyxomma says:

      On behalf of New York, we are grateful to our legislators, not only my State Senator, Daniel Squadron, but my Assemblyman, Brian Kavanaugh, as well, and everyone else, on either side of the aisle, who voted for equality.

      I’m also grateful for them extending rent stabilization laws for another four years. Looks like I’ll be able to stay in my tenement, after all. This law, which I believe covers a MILLION apartments (and thus several million apartment dwellers), will keep NYC vibrant. It is not, and should not become, a city only for the rich and the tourists.

      My heartfelt condolences to Mr. Crump’s friends and family, and to the horrified witnesses.

  7. merrycricket says:

    Very sad turn of events on such a momentous occasion. My condolences to the family and prayers to all who witnessed this. We had our pride events earlier this month. I keep missing all the fun because of work.

  8. slipstream says:

    Name of the pedestrian killed in today’s parade has just been released:

    Police late Saturday identified the victim as 50-year-old James L. Crump of Anchorage. Crump worked as a nurse for the city’s Health and Human Services department, police said.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Can you imagine a “rill American Right-wing city’ as defined by Rethuglican policy that would allow that person’s remains to be left on the street because all emergency personnel were laid-off? Budget cuts,to be sure.

  9. I was downtown but not close to the parade as I had my new and somewhat nervous pup with me. I had heard something had happened, but did not know until I got home how tragic the accident was.

  10. Califpat says:

    Thanks AKM for the suggestions! I really appreciate them. My condolences goes out to the victim’s family!!!

  11. Dagian says:

    I’m SO SORRY for the person who was killed in this accident, and his family.

    I have ridden in many parades with my horses and incidents like these are always a fear for the organizers and participants. The year someone drove up and almost hit my horse’s hind legs and then said, “Well, I could see him” but didn’t understand that the horse could have startled and destroyed her car, her and himself because he didn’t see HER CAR…

    I’m so proud that the state of my birth and containing many of my relatives has finally seen the light. Why Maryland hasn’t done so yet continues to sadden me. But then again, I’m still disappointed that Washington, DC doesn’t have full representation in Congress (not a state, so no vote that COUNTS).

  12. Sourdough Mullet says:

    How awful to hear of the tragedy during the Anchorage parade. My heart goes out to all affected.

    On another note, while it’s great about the progress made in the State of NY, I have difficulty with the idea of our government sanctifying marriages at all, when there is supposed to be a bright line drawn between church and state. When the concept of marriage is so intertwined with religion that people wish to use the law to legally deny others the opportunity to marry the person of their choosing based on moral beliefs, it’s clear to me that that line has been overstepped.

    What is the law doing in the middle of religious traditions? Why can’t the government just recognize civil unions for all? Then if people want their bond recognized as a religious-based union, they can have their church / synagogue / etc. fulfill that role.

    Of course the people most opposed to gay unions are those that perceive themselves to be the only “True Americans”; they just don’t like to be acknowledge that the America they love so much was based on the principles of Separation of Church and State and Equal Rights for All.

    • Bigtoe says:

      You are absolutely right. The gov’t has no business trying to incorporate religious doctrine into any kind of law. Separation of church and state pretty much covers that for me.

      • CO almost native says:

        I agree. Civil Unions for all, same rules in all the states.

        • mike from iowa says:

          I don’t think the same rules in all states will satisfy the religious right. They will most likely see that as the evil federal guv usurping state’s rights and demand a constitutional amendment barring the fed from meddling in the rights-real or imagined- of states. I believe nearly all Rethuglican Guvs elected recently fall under the heading of RWNJ and are specifically trying to get their concept of morality firmly entrenched in states laws. I,personally don’t want to be harnessed to any religious doctrine-no matter how it is disguised.

      • Laurainnocal says:


    • beth says:

      Sorry, Sourdough Mullet, I don’t agree with your askance view of: “our government sanctifying marriages at all, when there is supposed to be a bright line drawn between church and state.” Don’t agree with it one bit. There *is* “a bright line drawn between church and state” when it comes to marriage.

      The government –federal and/or state and/or local– sets laws about age(s) of the individuals, any [medical] tests, fees, waiting time, (possible) parental permissions, registration/filing requirements, etc., but has *no* restrictions/qualifications for the religion of the individuals. That bit, the religious restriction/qualification, is the sole purview of the specific religious order/community in which the couple wishes to exchange vows…IF they want to have a religious aspect to the start of their marriage. Religion is *not* a requirement for a legal marraige.

      We have come to think of marriage as being a religious rite, and it is, *but* a marriage does not have to be a religious rite to be legal. Two people standing before a Justice of the Peace for a 10-minute ceremony are just as legally married as are two people standing before a Priest in a Cathedral for a two-hour ceremony. As long as the couple has all the paperwork filled out for ‘permission’ to be married and fees paid, has all the paperwork/license duly signed post-‘ceremony’ and submitted to the appropriate governmental authority, and that completed paperwork/license is duly entered into ‘the system,’ that couple is legally married. Religion does *not* enter into the legality of it. Ever.

      As for Civil Unions v. Marriage, I gotta disagree with you on that one, too. My parents were married as were my grandparents and theirs, before them. I, too, want to be married. I don’t want to merely have (or ‘settle for’) a civil union — if I did, I’d be relegating myself to a ‘lower’ status of a forced and newly-created two-tiered system: those who go the ‘religious route’ would be married; those who didn’t, would be civil unioned. I don’t think so — that is *not* equality. And that two-tiered system would, once again, give ‘religion’ the upper hand in what is clearly an issue of civil rights and the legality of said rights as fully supported by our Constitution.

      DH and I started on our 40th year as a married couple a week ago — I can’t, in good conscience, deny any other adult, consenting, committed couple, all the rights, privileges, restrictions, duties, and obligations we have to each other, by putting up roadblocks to *their* marriage. If they can find even half the joy, few tears, laughter, friendship, passion, insanity, comfort, and love we have found in our marriage, then I say: Go for it! beth.

      • barbara says:

        i’m with you. well put. i haven’t been married for over 20 years and probably won’t be again in this life. but if i do, marriage is what i want. and i don’t DO religion.

      • beaglemom says:

        You are so right. This is the great misunderstanding about the whole “legalizing” gay marriage issue. If only the churches that oppose gay marriage would stop being so disingenuous about it. Marriage is, technically, a legal relationship. The religious part is up to the parties involved.

        I was once asked to sign a petition against gay marriage and the person with the petition said that it would ruin traditional marriage. I told her that I had been married for 35 years (now almost 42) and I didn’t feel that my marriage was threatened at all by allowing people to live with the person they loved and have their relationship recognized legally. Life is hard enough without making it any harder for anyone.

        I’m glad that some churches are happy to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples. I do not think that churches are forced by law to do so.

      • Electrolass says:

        I really enjoyed your thread, Beth. My partner and I have been together for thirteen years. We had a commitment ceremony in Maui after gay marriage was removed from the books.

        We decided to marry because we wanted to make public to our friends and family that we chose to commit our resources, our love, our spirits to one another. We felt it was important to have the support of those closest to us. We have been blessed to have acceptance, not just tolerance from those we love.

        Our minister was the Reverend Susie Osborne, and she helped us fully grasp the meaning of marriage in the eyes of God of our understanding. “What God has joined together, let no man tear asunder” was made manifest on the day we stood on the beach in Maui, and gave our vows before the Reverend, God, other couples waiting to be married and pod of humpback whales that chose to breach Makena Cove that spring evening.

        Years later as our marriage has evolved into the day to day joys and heartaches that invariably shape our lives, we are grateful for our decision to involve friends and family. Like all couples we have experienced periods of time when we grit our teeth and manage to live peaceably with one another. We have shared our frustrations with our “out of laws” and asked for advice from those with more time in the trenches than ourselves. Invariably they make the following statement, and give the following advice: “Do you still recognize what you first loved about the other?”, and “If you do, get the hell back in the ring, and work it out. We had to and so do you. That what it takes if you truly want to work things out.” With that advice, I creepy crawl to the book shelf, take down the wedding album, and take a much needed trip down memory lane.

        What I love about our decision to marry is simply this: I have a point of reference in time from which a cherished part of my life began, a magnetic north so to speak to which I can gather my bearings, and stay true to a course that twelve years ago we set together before God of our understanding, our family and friends. This is our society, and our society is our strength in times of adversity.

        What I want most for myself, my partner and for all others is the freedom to live in peace in our society, not apart, not tolerated, not silent. Most of what upsets those who oppose gay marriage, civil unions or whatever else it may be called, is based on false allegations, myths surrounding what it means to be gay, the assumptions made regarding the supposed lifestyles we lead, and this saddens me. I am always saddened when I see people living needlessly in fear.

        For this reason, I will continue to love those who cannot understand me because their fear of the unknown makes them too afraid to step out from behind their adopted mythologies, and prejudice to risk getting to know me as an individual. These people for all their fear based anger are part of the society I wish so very much to be an integral part. I will muster my courage and be as true to myself as I can. I will not hide behind culturally accepted caricatures to protect myself, nor categorize myself in an effort to find safety in numbers. I want the whole kit and caboodle. I want the right to be visible as me, myself, unadorned, and uncut.

        I was investigated by the military for being gay. I was ultimately cleared of the charges. Oh, yes, I am a lesbian, and I am still with the same gal that stole my heart way back when, but the military was looking in the wrong place, making the wrong assumptions, expecting to see a different kind of lifestyle. What they found was an average, everyday woman, doing average, everyday activities, in an average everyday setting, following all the same rules regarding public displays of affection her heterosexual counterparts (probably more so). I didn’t hide my “gayness”, it just didn’t distinguish me from everybody else and that suits me just fine. Yep, the military deemed me too average, too tame, and simply too boring to be gay, and that, ladies and gentlemen sums up all that I desire.

        Thank you Beth for sharing, and congratulations on a long and happy “whatever ya call it” relationship.

  13. Califpat says:

    Off topic! I do not know if it is just my computer malfunctioning or not but I have not been able to log onto “The Mudflats” for days! I logged onto this page through “Facebook” a few minutes ago!

    Strange… Not sure what might be going on. But since you mention Facebook, anyone who wants to follow along with the blog posts via that method, please “Like” the Mudflats fan page. You can also “friend” me (Jeanne Devon/AKMuckraker) if you want other mostly non-political stuff. AKM

  14. mike from iowa says:

    Brown shirts in Wisconsin and red shirts(for Commies I guess) in Alaska. Those that want to deny other’s civil rights will stand out in a crowd regardless. Beautiful and touching post AKM.

  15. Micheal says:

    “Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions.” Thomas Jefferson

  16. john aronno says:

    The event organizers held a moment of silence and reminded the crowd that Pridefest is also a celebration of life and love, and that the tragedy shouldn’t negate this day set aside for the community.

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