dinsdag, mei 31, 2005


In the US, a large portion of my practice involved aspects of gay and lesbian law. Part of that was adoption and surrogacy - one of my favorite areas of law.

It was great working with the expectant Dads, but it was an even more incredible privilege to meet and work with the surrogates who carried these children. They all had something in common - I'm not sure exactly what it was, but in a previous era they would have been those women who had 12 - 15 kids and took care of them all while their husbands worked in the fields. "Good settler stock" is what my Great-grandpa would have probably called it. I could imagine them crossing oceans and prairies and starting families in difficult, new lands.

I was amazed when I ran into these women in my practice. I sometimes asked them how they decided to carry children that were not biologically theirs for gay parents. Most people assume it's for the money. Trust me, it's not. They just weren't paid that much. The most common response was that they loved their children so much (they all had at least one child - usually more), and they wanted to help bring this gift to someone who wasn't able to have their own. They specifically did searches to find an organization that helped gay men or gay couples looking to have a child, they told me, because they thought it would be most difficult for them to have a child any other way. I never had a bad experience helping these surrogates and the families that raised the children that were born from these arrangements.

That's not to say there weren't heartaches - sometimes a child was born too early and was lost. Most often, there were multiple births. It was especially wrenching when a couple lost their triplets shortly after birth. Discrimination was added to their loss when the local funeral home became overly involved in the "alternative parentage issue." The adoptive couple didn't give up, and are now proud and happy dads.

The following story, Surrogate Mothers' New Niche: Bearing Babies for Gay Couples - New York Times, came out in the NY Times a couple of days ago. One of the companies I worked with, Growing Generations, is mentioned in the article.

It's an interesting field, legally speaking. In the US, gays' unions aren't generally recognized by the State, but adoption is OK. In Europe, some form of partner recognition is generally recognized by the State, but it's more difficult to adopt and raise children. Draw your own conclusions...

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vrijdag, mei 20, 2005

Things I've come across in the past month

This is stuff I've bookmarked to post once everything calmed down, which it officially has. Almost. For most of these, although I caught the link, I can't remember who initially referred it.

This one deserves a post of its own, but I'll put it here anyway. Europe: Eclipsing the American Dream?

I forgot to add this to our wedding registry. Oh well. Christmas is coming... Kronan Cycle

This one's for Ian. How to get that perfect shave.

This one was for Dan, but I already sent it to him. He liked it. Take a bunch of pictures that make a panoramic view, dump them into this program, an voila - it stitches them all together and you have a beautiful panoramic view. AutoStitch.

This is for everyone. Voluntary Simplicity & Simple Living Resource Guide - What is Voluntary Simplicity?

Email large files quickly, securely, and easily! Use this to send files that are way to big to send through email. Works great for songs and movies. (Are you listening, Janine and Chris?)

YaGoohoo!gle - a combination of Yahoo and Google side by side.

For Microsoft users, this one gives keyboard combinations to quickly access programs, functions, and documents. Save time with quick computer shortcuts.

And for Windows XP: Create a Keyboard Shortcut to Open a Folder

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dinsdag, mei 17, 2005

The order of the wedding posts

Once they're all posted, the next posts of the wedding will start with "Last minute wedding preparations" and end with "The Party". Unlike most posts, they'll be in chronological order as you read down the posts.

Remember to click "Continue reading" on posts where you see it if you want to see all the photos and story, then click your back button to return to where you started.


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maandag, mei 16, 2005

Last minute wedding preparations

Natalie, my best woman, arrived about a week before the wedding. Here, we're showing her where we're going to get married.
Before she got here, Ian and I finally sat down and wrote our vows.
It was a beautiful day - no stress for Ian, in his super-hero shades.

Our wedding morning - we're on our way.

Here come the flowers.

Co, our florist.

The cake toppers.

The European wedding party contingent.

The flowers are set.

More flowers...

A boquet for the registrar's table.

Beautiful tulips everywhere.


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Almost ready ...

The wedding venue. (Lots more photos after the jump - click on "Continue reading".)

You could tell the Cambridge contingent by the women's stylish hats. (By the reception, the envy became too much for at least one Cambridge man, who borrowed one for himself.)

Scott's brother, Dan, checks the flowers.

The trumpet player and organ. The music was incredible. The organ was built in the 1700's, and its sound fills the hall. We entered to a trumpet and organ arrangement of "Simple Gifts", a traditional Quaker song.

Jancy pins on Mom's corsage.

Someone said to us that the Registrar performed the civil ceremony, but the beauty of the day was the religious ceremony. It was gorgeous.

We took some photos in front of the Academigebouw before the ceremony.

Ian, with Mum and Dad.

Ian, Dad, Ian's sis Pamela, and Mum.

Ian, Scott's brother Ken, Mom, Scott's sis Jancy. Scott and Scott's brother Dan.

Both of our families.

Ray, Nancy, Jean and Scott.


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The procession

There are differences between weddings in The Netherlands, weddings in England and wedding in the U.S. One difference we Americans notices was that apparently the Europeans don't do dress rehearsals. This made the Americans extremely nervous, but when in Utrecht...

The guests arrived, the music started and everything went beautifully.

The processional

Dan, Pamela and Ken

Bente and Jancy (Witnesses)

Thomas and Natalie (Best People)

Ian and his parents

Scott and his mom.

Ian, waiting.

Scott, Ian and the wedding party.

Hans, the Master of Ceremonies, and Helen, the Registrar, with our families in the background.

Ian and our wedding party.


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Hans' Introduction

Hans Warendorf is an Amsterdam attorney. Ian's worked with him quite a bit, helping to translate the Dutch legal code into English, among other things. We decided to have the ceremony be in Dutch and English - Hans was the perfect Master of Ceremonies for this. Below (and after the link jump) is his welcome and introduction.

Dames en heren, familieleden en vrienden. Mijn naam is Hans Warendorf en mede namens Scott en Ian wil ik jullie welkom heten in in de Aula van het Academiegebouw van de Universiteit Utrecht. Ik wil jullie mede namens Ian en Scott bedanken dat jullie hier vandaag aanwezig zijn bij de voltrekking van hun huwelijk.

Ladies and Gentlemen, family and friends, my name is Hans Warendorf, and on behalf of Ian and Scott, I would like to thank you all for your presence here today in the Aula of the Academy Building of Utrecht University, where Scott and Ian will be joined in marriage.

Alhoewel de kern van de toespraken vandaag in het Engels zal zijn, willen Scott en Ian aangeven wat de Nederlandse taal voor hen betekent. Zij hebben mij verteld dat een taal een volk weergeeft. De Nederlandse volk typeert tolerantie en openheid. Als de eerste Staat ter wereld dat het huwelijk voor mensen van hetzelfde geslacht toestaat, willen zij jullie als volk bedanken voor de mogelijkheid dat zij vandaag voor jullie hier mogen zijn. Door het gebruik van de Nederlandse taal willen zij jullie laten zien dat zij jullie openheid en tolerantie hoog waarderen en respecteren.

It is no accident that we are gathered here today. As you know, Ian and Scott have chosen The Netherlands as their home. One of the reasons they have decided to live here is that since 2001, The Netherlands is one of the few places in the world where civil marriage can be celebrated between two persons of the same gender.

As those of you from elsewhere may have noticed, or shortly shall notice, weddings here in The Netherlands are celebrated a little differently from weddings in the United Kingdom. In addition to the obvious differences, there are also a few differences that are not so obvious. Unlike in the United Kingdom and the United States, because of the separation we have here between Church and State, every marriage in The Netherlands must be celebrated by a State Registrar before any religious ceremony can take place. It is this Civil wedding, recognized by The Netherlands, that you have been invited to witness today.

It is also no accident that Scott and Ian have chosen to be married in this particular room. The room in which we are gathered dates back to 1462, when it functioned as a meeting room. In 1579 this room was signed into the historical records of The Netherlands when the Union of Utrecht, the document considered to form the basis of the Dutch State, was signed here.

In 1636, the institute that preceded the University of Utrecht obtained the right to award the highest academic degree, the doctorate, which signified the start of the University of Utrecht. The present Academy building was a gift to the university from the citizens of the city and the province of Utrecht in 1886 on the occasion of its 250th anniversary. The building is still used today for official University functions. Some of you might well be gathered here again before too long for the defense of such a doctoral degree!

It is therefore fitting that Ian and Scott are to be joined in matrimony in the very room where the Dutch State was founded. The Netherlands is for them a special place. The ability for them to stand here today in front of their family and friends and declare their love for one another and have that love recognized by the State is for them beyond words. From the bottom of their hearts, they wish me to thank you for joining them today.

Moving to more recent history, there are two individuals with us today who would like to share with us the story of how Scott and Ian met. Natalie Peck and Bente Braat.

Natalie and Bente - telling the story of how we met. (We don't seem to have a copy of this. Maybe they'll see this and email it to us.)


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Lieke sings

Our dear friend, Lieke Coenraad, sang. Beautifully. We chose Rachmaninaff's Vocalise. It's a haunting song with no words. The thought was that with no words, everyone would understand. Vocally, it's a very tough song. It takes a lot of control. Lieke's phrasing was truly gorgeous.

We had hope that Lieke's boyfriend, Gert-Jan, would be able to accompany her. As it turned out, he injured his wrist and was unable. (Good news - Lieke's forcing him to rest and not play, sitting on him when it's required. He's healing.) Lieke came to our rescue and asked a Russian friend of hers, Tatjana Kiourou, to play for us. She was a brilliant pianist.

Pamela and Ken


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Our Registrar - the intro to the civil wedding ceremony

As Hans mentioned, a civil wedding is a requirement for anyone married in The Netherlands. We really lucked out here. Everyone mentioned that our Registrar, Helen, was absolutely incredible!


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