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States of Marriage

Saturday, June 26, 2010 9pm

Producer: Vermont Public Radio
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Same-sex marriage is one of the more controversial issues of our time. States Of Marriage: The Debate Over Gay Rights provides meaning and context not only to Vermont’s history with this issue, but tells the national story as well.

Ten years ago in December, the Vermont Supreme Court changed the landscape of legal rights for same-sex couples when it handed down its ruling in the case Baker v. State of Vermont. The three same-sex couples who were the Baker plaintiffs had argued that they deserve the rights of marriage, just as heterosexual couples do.

In the decade since, the country has debated the deeply personal and very public questions of what marriage means and how to legally recognize gay and lesbian couples, and how ideas of family and civil rights are challenged by these questions.

States of Marriage examines how several states have approached legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples. We examine the divisive civil unions precedent in Vermont and how it set the stage for a marriage law in Massachusetts. Advocates on both sides of the issue explain their political and legal strategies to convince voters and courts of their cause, and we see the results of that debate in California, Iowa and Maine.

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Polk Street Stories

Saturday, June 19, 2010 9pm

Producer: Atlantic Public Media
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Public Historian Joey Plaster spent over a year gathering more than 70 interviews from people experiencing the transition of Polk Street in San Francisco from a working class queer neighborhood to an upscale entertainment district. This documentary contains stories from the alleys and bars, churches, shelters and clubs. It is an oral history of a place invented by those who had no other home.

As Joey says in his introduction:

“If the famous gay Castro neighborhood was scrubbed clean and glossy, I was always more attracted to its black sheep sister, the queer world of Polk Street. It was a whole world to itself, just about ten blocks of low rent hotels, bars and liquor stores, all sandwiched in between the gritty Tenderloin, City Hall, and the upscale Nob Hill. But by the time I got there, that scene was receding, and luxury condos and posh clubs were taking its place. I found that its marginal history wasn’t written down and hadn’t been recorded. I feared it too would disappear with the neighborhood. In a way, I started to think about Polk Street as this parent I never knew, now elderly and dying. And it became an obsession to save its history – its collective wisdom and secrets — before they were gone completely.”

This Transom Radio Special is produced by Joey Plaster with Jay Allison and Transom.org at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

photo credit: Allan Ferguson