Listeners Speak Out On Gay Marriage In D.C.

Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Lee Hill, the program's "digital media guy," comb through listener feedback and offer important news updates to recent conversations heard on the program. This week, hear reaction to recent conversations about same-sex couples who can now marry in the District of Columbia and reaction to a debate within the black community about actress Mo'Nique's recent Oscar win. Also, Hill offers an update on the latest political troubles of New York Governor David Paterson.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy is here with me, as usual. Hey, Lee. What's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, March is Women's History Month. And in your commentary, you talked about how Women's History Month, as well as Black History Month, are still needed to speak truth to ignorance, especially during a time where we're still seeing incidents of racism across the country. Well, after that we heard from lots of people online who said some of the stereotypes are influenced by the very cultural groups who are fighting to extinguish them.

I'll read a post here from blogger Mark, who wrote, quote, "as long as there are abundant walking, talking, living, breathing examples of these stereotypes, there will be racism and bigotry based on those stereotypes."

But another blogger who goes by the name Bipartisan disagreed and wrote, quote, "as long as there are folks ignorant enough to believe that one person's behavior or looks translates to a universal truth about all persons of the same sex, cultural background or skin color, there will be racism and bigotry based on those stereotypes."

MARTIN: Wow. Well, thanks. Interesting.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HILL: Very. A lot to swallow.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: There's a lot to think about. Lee, last week, we reported on how D.C. became the sixth jurisdiction to allow same-sex couples to be married. We talked to Angelisa Young and Sinjoyla Townsend. They made history as the first gay couple in line at the courthouse to receive a marriage license, and since they spoke to us, they got married. And here's a clip from their ceremony.

Ms. SINJOYLA TOWNSEND: Geela(ph), when I think I can't love you, respect you and cherish you more, more comes. You are my friend, my partner, my love. I will love you today, tomorrow and forever. I love you.

MARTIN: Now, on our Web site, there was a lot of conversation about this, but then the conversation took on a life of its own and people shared their own perspectives on gay marriage and life. And here's a post from blogger Joshua. He wrote: not all of us who are quote, "created queer" support to same-sex marriage. Many of us realize that we are not happy in same-sex relationships and have abandoned them. Happiness is taking control of your destiny, not become a slave to every inclination.

LEE: Thanks, Joshua. And finally, Michel, millions tuned in to watch Sunday night's Academy Awards, where actress Mo'Nique - who has been on this program several times - nabbed an Oscar for her performance as an abusive mother in the movie "Precious." Now, Michel, we talked about her win in our Monday Oscar recap, and you blogged about whether the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences - which hosts the Oscars - has a fascination with black pain.

Now, you were thinking of Denzel Washington, who won for his role as a greedy villain in "Training Day," and also Halle Berry who won for playing a down-on-her-luck mother in the movie "Monster's Ball." Both of them won in 2002. But we caught up with blogger Moji(ph), and she had this to say.

MOJI: Black folks are sometimes too sensitive. Someone has to play the villain. And black actors are not serving and served well(ph) if they always have to play heroic roles, not to think of their race. I just think black folks should lighten up. It's only a role.

MARTIN: Okay, Moji. Well, thank you. Don't be a stranger. Hey, Lee, any updates?

Mr. HILL: Just one, we've been reporting on the political troubles of New York Governor David Paterson. Among other things, he's accused off inappropriately intervening in a domestic violence case involving his former top aide. And up until Thursday, the probe was being handled by State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, but just yesterday, Cuomo recused himself from investigating Paterson. He handed the investigation off to New York's retired Appeals Chief Justice Judith Kaye. Andrew Cuomo is widely believed to be planning a run for governor himself, which obviously creates a potential conflict of interest.

MARTIN: Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And remember with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also log onto our Web site. Go to npr.org, click on Programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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