John Ridley for Americans for Marriage Equality

Author John Ridley and a majority of Americans support marriage equality.

John Ridley is an Emmy Award winning commentator and writer for Esquire and Time magazines as well as a contributor to CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and NPR.

He is the author of seven published novels. The most recent of which is What Fire Cannot Burn. Collectively, his works have been chosen as editor’s picks or “best of the year” by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly and the Baltimore Sun.

Ridley is the Founding Editor of That Minority Thing (www.thatminoritything.com), a nonpartisan website that provides news and opinions in support of a wide range of voices, including ethnic, racial, religious, disabled, gender, and sexual minorities.

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Double Happiness ~ It All Started in 8th Grade

Chinese Wedding TraditionsBrief excerpt from a Chinese-American wedding ceremony written and performed by Rev. Mary-Rose:

“An ancient Chinese legend holds that a couple is bound at birth by an invisible red thread which continuously shrinks over the years until the couple is united in marriage.  The legend states that nothing in this world can sever the thread, not distance or changing circumstances.  Marriage is their destiny.

If the legend is true, this couple’s thread must have been long, for the journey to this day has been an extended one.  Back in grade school, when Phong wrote his phone number on the back of his 8th grade picture, asking Jade to call him, little did he know he would be standing here today.  When Jade moved out of her parent’s house, she threw out that same picture thinking, “Oh, I’ll never see that guy again,” little did she know she would be standing here today.

During their college years and after, to their surprise, they would run into each other.  On one such an occasion, Phong decided to ask Jade out.  This time, he was not going to let chance get in the way; he was going to be the one calling her.  But with her phone number in hand, getting Jade to go out with him wasn’t so easy.  He had called several times to ask her out.  Jade’s initial response was, “Whatever.”  Fortunately, Phong is quite persevering and Jade eventually agreed to have dinner with him.  That was the beginning of their romance and the continuation of their long friendship.

Today in the presence of family and friends, Jade and Phong will commit their lives to one another. With the words “I do” they not only profess their love, but also pledge to remain by the side of their beloved in both the good and bad times and during the joys and sorrows of life.”

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Love and Culture

Intercultural Couple Central Park“Modern love can be summed up in one quick status update: It’s complicated.  There are boundless romantic possibilities, unfettered by skin color, religion, ethnicity, class, or orientation.” begins an article titled “Love and Race” in this month’s Marie Claire.  The magazine kicks-off a three-part series on how people are meeting, dating and mating today.  It was one of those articles that at first glance, I need not delay, the issue was mine and I was going to pour over it.

Marie Claire highlights five women of culture and their stories.

Anna Holmes, a half-black, half-white women discovers her own racial blind spots, especially when it came to love.  She avoided dating darker-skinned men, assuming they were only interested in her “trophy” light skin.  She didn’t trust Caucasian men either, assuming they saw her as a novelty, as a way to sample another culture, or as a stand in for all black women.  Soon she realized that her racialization of romance was keeping her at arm’s length from deeper intimacy.

Michele Serros a Mexican-American recall’s her parent’s advice to never marry a Mexican.  Her childhood through young adult view that a Mexican husband could not provide a prosperous life for her was instilled by both of her Mexican parents.   Soon Michele had achieved, on her own, the kind of life her father said only white men could give her.  A revelation that freed her to be with the man she loved.  She eventually met a Mexican-American man and fell in love.  Antonio was a successful chef-owner of a vegan restaurant in Berkeley, California.  When she brought Antonio home to meet her dad, it was not without anticipation.  Michele’s last hurdle was overcome when it became clear to her father that Antonio broke the stereotype he and Michele’s mother perpetuated.  Michele touches upon the influence of movies such as Maid in Manhattan, Monster-in-Law and The Wedding Planner where the young Latina marries a wealthy white man on her cousins.

Ji Hyun Lee writes about battling the “docile, hardworking lotus flower by day and sexual tiger by night” stereotype of Asian women.  Those myths might feel antiquated but from her experience, are alive and well today in some form or another in the minds of many non-Asian men.  Her experience dating outside her race has made her become more open-minded about dating Asian men.  She writes, “I’m noticing that the Korean boys who were invisible to me in high school had grown up into a handsome lot.”

Helena Andrews a young black woman investigates the statistic she finds not only offending but not entirely true that 70% of black women are single.  A hot topic in the media, this fact has been the highlight of several news stories including an entire show on Oprah.  Helen’s curiosity is peaked when she notices that she, a single black woman, was in the minority of her mostly married social network.  Many of her friends had observed the same thing.  So where was this disparaging statistic coming from she wondered?  She decided to go straight to the mother lode of demographics, the U.S. Census.  She found that while it was true that 70.5 percent of black women were never married compared with 45 percent of white women, the statistic is based on women ages 25 to 29.  A statistic she found not surprising.  She found another statistic that only 30 percent of black women were married but the data included every female from 15 years old up to 90-something.  Something else she found revealing.  Upon getting in touch with a psychology professor who analyzed census data between 2000 and 2009, she learned that his research showed that most black women eventually do marry.  Helena continues about how her own black American culture buys in to the hype and how it’s perpetuated.

Lastly, Azita Ghanizada an Afghan-American woman learns about love and tradition through both her own experience and her parent’s.  After her family flees Russian invaded Afghanistan to Vienna, Virginia she finds she isn’t the only one in her family rebelling against strict Afghan conformity.  She witnesses her parent’s loveless marriage prolonged an additional six years because of great social pressure from their Afghani community.  A divorce would “bring shame” to their family.  When she finds attention diverted to her mother’s unheard-of divorce from her father followed by her parents new found romantic lives, she finds a new kind of freedom.  “The lesson they are learning is clear: Loving someone from the same race or religion doesn’t guarantee happiness… Marriage will come when it is right.”

To read the article in full, go to the April Issue of Marie Claire

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Aishwarya Rai Bachan + Abhishek Bachan, April 20, 2007

Congratulations Ash and Abhi on their 5th year wedding anniversary and their new baby girl, Aaradhya.

Ash and Abhi started as co-stars. After working with Ash in a few films, Abhi says he developed feelings for the actress who’s been called the most beautiful woman in the world. “I was filming in New York for a movie,” he says. “And I used to stand on the balcony of my hotel room and wish that, ‘One day, wouldn’t it be nice if I was together with her, married.’”  Years later, the co-stars returned to New York City as a couple. They were there for the premiere of Guru, a film they worked on together, but Abhi had something special in store.

“After the premiere, we were back in the hotel,” he says. “So I took her to the very same balcony, and I asked her to marry me.”  The ring that Abhishek had with him was no diamond rock, but a studio prop from the set of Guru.  It was the same ring that Abhishek had slipped on Aishwarya’s finger in the film. He in fact asked the producer if he could keep the ring, for sentimental reasons.

Sure, they’re rich and famous, but like most Indian couples, they don’t live alone. Ash and Abhi share a home with Abhi’s parents.  ”It’s normal,” Ash says. “It’s absolutely natural to us. … I lived with my parents before we got married, so it’s a natural thing.” Abhi says his grandparents also lived with them before they passed away.  This practice is common in many parts of the world. “It’s normal to bring the parents in, to have respect for the elders,” Oprah says. “To have your elders to be a part of your life forever.”

What first caught her attention: “His eyes. Genuine.”

Endearing annoyances:  “She’s a tad bit disorganized.”

‘Aishwarya’ means wealth and prosperity

‘Abhishek’ derived from Sanskrit loosely translated means ‘Installed as king”

‘Aaradhya’ means ‘one who is worth worshiping,’

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I Carry Your Heart ~ EE Cummings

I carry your heart with me ~EE CummingsI carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it
(anywhere I go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done by only me
is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful, you are my world, my true)
and it’s YOU are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

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1 Corinthians 13 ~ These three remain…

...and the greatest of these is love.I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.  I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains – but if I have no love, I am nothing.  I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned – but if I have no love, this does me no good.

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs;  love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth.  Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass.   For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial; but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.

When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways.  What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete – as complete as God’s knowledge of me.

Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.

(Good News Translation)

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