Joel Derfner Releases Memoir, LAWFULLY WEDDED HUSBAND: HOW MY GAY MARRIAGE WILL SAVE THE AMERICAN FAMILY
Joel Derfner didn't want to get gay married. He doesn't gay grocery shop and he doesn't have a gay driver's license. Joel's road to marriage was burdened with barriers and labels simply because the love of his life is of the same sex. Recognizing that his personal story is a reflection of the national conversation about the "new civil rights movement," Joel, with searing wit and unrelenting honesty and humor, wrote LAWFULLY WEDDED HUSBAND: HOW MY GAY MARRIAGE WILL SAVE THE AMERICAN FAMILY (University of Wisconsin Press; September 19, 2013.)
*Recent SCOTUS rulings - DOMA and Prop 8
Like many advocates of same sex marriage equality, Joel was thrilled when news of the recent SCOTUS rulings started to circulate. But he believes they originated for wrong (and dangerous) reasons.
*Civil Unions vs. Marriages
Joel believes that opponents of marriage equality are actually shooting themselves in the foot when they propose alternatives like civil unions - history shows that marriages decline across the board when civil unions are an option.
*Gay Stereotypes in the Workplace
Joel has held two of the most stereotypically "gay" jobs you can imagine: step aerobics instructor and Broadway musical composer. He is happy to discuss the workplace.
*Russia's anti-gay laws
As controversy heats up over how far to take the boycott of Russian vodka, the Winter Olympics in Russia and how else to handle a response to the country's virulently antigay recent legislation, Joel can comment on what next steps need to be taken.
*Homophobia & Sexism
Joel believes that homophobia and sexism are at base the same thing, and now that the bad guys know they can't win this battle they're taking the war to another front. Case in point: the day DOMA is overturned, the Texas legislature introduces a bill to close almost every abortion clinic in the state - a bill that ultimately passes. The Catholic Pope made a forward-thinking statement about not judging gay priests and followed it with a declaration that there will never be female priests.
About LAWFULLY WEDDED HUSBAND
When Derfner's boyfriend, Michael proposes to him, the two can't legally marry in America. While that eventually changes, it leaves them with the unusual dilemma of needing to plan two weddings - one in which they can legally tie the knot and another to celebrate with loved ones in New York. Like any other couple rocketing blissfully toward the altar, Joel and his fiancé face seemingly endless challenges ? from the more mundane questions of jeans or tuxedos, blue or purple ketubah ? to the more important, register or donate to charity? All the while, a reality show is documenting their lives and the director is forcing them to sign and notarize applications for their wedding license until the cameraman gets a shot she likes.
As they slowly find answers to their wedding questions they begin to discover what a relationship can and can't do, the real definition of marriage, and, ultimately, what makes a family. LAWFULLY WEDDED HUSBAND bravely explores marriage equality, civil rights, and sexism - and becomes a story not just of "gay" marriage and the American family but of what it means to be human.
LAWFULLY WEDDED HUSBAND by Joel Derfner
University of Wisconsin Press; 248 pages; Hardcover $26.95
ISBN-10: 0299294900; ISBN-13: 978-0299294908
On-sale: September 19, 2013, Memoir/Gay and Lesbian
About Joel Derfner
Joel is from South Carolina, where his great-grandmother had an affair with George Gershwin. After leaving the south, he got a B.A. in linguistics from Harvard. Realizing that linguistics was not his métier, he moved to New York to get an M.F.A. in musical theater writing from the Tisch School of the Arts.