• author
    • Cathy Speck

      Columnist, Photographer
    • June 30, 2013 in Columnists

    My favorite Wednesday, June 26th

    For most of my adult life, I’ve been striving for LGBT civil rights and social acceptance. On the morning of Wednesday, June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court announced the rulings to repeal DOMA and strike down Prop 8 in California.  I quietly celebrated in my heart at home with Mazie, the Amazing Monkey-Face Pug/Poodle/Terrier Princess.

    The ALS in my body determined how much energy I could share publicly.  I, Cathy Speck, publicity hound, turned down five or six regional and national interviews, including CNN.   But late in the afternoon on June 26, I made a last-minute decision to find a ride and join the rally at the state capitol and experience the joy and victory of this historic day. (ALS also took away my driving privileges.)

    Elaine Talley, my longtime close friend, quickly said “yes” after I sent out an email searching for a ride, and Owen, a Davis Food Co-op clerk came with us. We were a tad bit late, so we didn’t get a good stand (seat). I was too tired to stand anyway. And, I blended in well with the crowd of rainbows.

    I didn’t stand up in front, or offer to speak or write something fabulous.I didn’t ask to be recognized, and most importantly I felt fine about not being in the spotlight. I am learning so much from having ALS including that my ego is not that important anymore.

    (Yeah right, Speck. Why are you sharing this information?)

    Okay, okay, you iPinion Syndicate readers are the chosen ones to know “my story, my part” in the Supreme Court rulings. This is real life folks:


    Fact sheet on DOMA

    The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) Fact Sheet (November 2011).

    In July 2011, the US Senate Judiciary Committee studied five testimonies from gay couples across the nation, and mine was one of them. The committee read it, discussed it, and it stayed on record for the DOMA case and other marriage equality cases. I couldn’t physically make the trip to Washington to give my oral testimony, but the Committee approved that case to proceed, which is one of the reasons the US Supreme Court is debating Prop 8 and DOMA this week.

    We are making progress, and I’m hoping DOMA will be repealed before I die so my wife will rightfully receive my Social Security benefits, the same way it works for heterosexual married couples (July 2011).

    Written senate testimony

    On July, 20, 2011, a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was held on the legislative repeal of DOMA/Respect for Marriage Act. Following is the powerful written testimony submitted to the Senate Committee by Marriage Equality USA members Amy and Sherri Shore, Cathy Speck, Jane A. Leyland Marvin Burrows and Tracey L. Cooper-Harris.

    I also want to sing praises to Mr. Kevin Williams, history teacher at Davis High School in Davis, California. In 2011 he instructed his students in the “Race and Social Justice” class to form groups and create a genuine example of “social justice.” Six of his students chose to interview me, Cathy Speck “Poster Child for Marriage Equality & ALS Advocacy.”

    Their outstanding project is being used over and over again to further education and open minds to young and old. Their class project played an unprecedented role in getting my testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, I’ll say no more; check it out for yourself:


    Title: An Interview with Cathy Speck ALS & MEUSA Activist

    Description: Cathy Speck, dying of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, talks about living with the disease, marriage equal rights and how the Defense of Marriage Act keeps her spouse from receiving Social Security survivor benefits.

    I appreciate, from the core of my being, all of my friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends-yet-to-be for sticking by me and other LGBTs as we have forged onward for equal rights, especially when you were chastised for your beliefs. We, the LGBT community, wouldn’t be celebrating this progress without our straight allies.

    Thank you. Thanks to all y’all.

    Kissy kissy.


    • So glad you lived to see all this Cathy.

      • Maya North

      • June 30, 2013 at 8:46 pm
      • Reply

      Me, too. My brother didn’t, which is an anguish even amid my enormous joy. <3

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