TIME LGBT

Inability to Marry Makes Life Complicated, Same-Sex Couples Say

Pam Yorksmith, Nicole Yorksmith, Orion Yorksmith, Grayden Yorksmith
Gary Landers—AP Pam Yorksmith, left, and her spouse Nicole Yorksmith, along with their children Grayden and Orion, are photographed in their attorney's office in Cincinnati on April 3, 2015

Some sued for the right to marry

(WASHINGTON)— A middle-of-the night trip to the emergency room, with her 9-month-old son coughing and laboring to breathe, gave Pam Yorksmith her latest reminder of why she took up the fight for same-sex marriage.

Before baby Orion could be treated for croup, the hospital had to call his birth mother — Yorksmith’s wife, Nicole — “to get permission to treat my child,” Yorksmith said.

Although the Yorksmiths started their family together through artificial insemination, hospital records and Orion’s birth certificate don’t list Pam Yorksmith as a parent.

Beyond the right to wed, gay and lesbian Americans in the 13 states that continue to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman confront obstacles across the course of their lives, from adoption to hospital visits to death benefits.

The Yorksmiths live in Kentucky and work in Ohio, both states that ban same-sex marriage. That complicates school enrollment, benefits, travel and tax matters, as well as medical care.

They are among the 19 men and 12 women whose same-sex marriage cases from those two states, plus Michigan and Tennessee, are expected to be decided in the coming days. Many of them spoke to The Associated Press about their cases before the justices heard arguments in April.

Some sued for the right to marry, while others are fighting to have states recognize a marriage performed elsewhere. They include young parents and grandparents, as well as a couple of grieving men who already have lost their life partners.

Some have never known a moment’s fear about living life as an openly gay person.

Others, like Luke Barlowe and Jimmy Meade, still don’t hold hands in public, even after more than 40 years together.

“We grew up in an era where you didn’t show your affection for a same-sex person,” Barlowe said. “We’ve never gotten over that.”

Barlowe and Meade met in 1968 at the Gilded Cage, a gay bar in Lexington, Kentucky. Both retired, they married in Iowa in 2009 and live about an hour outside of Louisville.

“We wanted to do this not for us — it does nothing for us — but we wanted to do it for the kids coming up behind us,” Barlowe said.

Once the couple signed up for the lawsuit, they finally felt they could stop living in the shadows.

Meade had a doctor’s appointment recently and Barlowe filled out his paperwork. In the blank asking for their relationship, Barlowe did something he hadn’t done before. He wrote “husband.”

“It was the strangest feeling,” he said. “Even after all these years.”

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse were not planning to challenge Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage when they went to court to win the right to jointly adopt each other’s children. A federal judge transformed their case into one about the right to marry, and the nurses have become celebrities in their Detroit suburb of Hazel Park.

“We’ve been stopped multiple times at our local shopping center with people just telling their story. These are people’s lives that we’ve changed,” DeBoer said.

They live with their four adopted children, ages 2 to 6, and a foster child. Each woman has adopted two kids, but Michigan ties joint adoption to marriage.

“We decided that not doing anything would do more harm to our children than standing up and saying we’re going to fight,” DeBoer said.

DeBoer is a part-time neonatal nurse while Rowse works full time as an emergency room nurse. They hope to adopt a fifth child soon.

“These young children usually have medical needs,” DeBoer said. “We have training. We have room. We have the love.”

Sgt. 1st Class Ijpe deKoe and Thom Kostura were married in New York in 2011, just before deKoe deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. The Army has since moved them to Tennessee.

They have a game they play on the many road trips they take from their home in Memphis.

Each time they cross into another state they declare, “We’re married!” or “We’re not married!” — depending on whether the state recognizes same-sex marriage.

“I wish we could register for gifts every time we cross a state line,” Kostura said.

Those trips mimic daily life for deKoe, an Army Reserve sergeant on active duty. His marriage is considered valid while at work at a military base in Millington, Tennessee. But back home in Memphis, there is no legal recognition for his nearly 4-year-old marriage to Kostura.

In 2013, Jim Obergefell and John Arthur were watching TV news about the Supreme Court striking down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law. Obergefell leaned over, kissed the man he had loved for more than two decades, and said, “Let’s get married.”

They knew they didn’t have much time. Arthur was in the final stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Ohio voters had banned same-sex marriage. So within weeks, a medically equipped plane carried them to Maryland, where Arthur’s aunt waited to officiate. Arthur lay on a gurney as the couple exchanged their vows inside the plane, on the tarmac.

Less than four months later, Arthur died at age 48. Obergefell was listed on the death certificate as his surviving spouse; the couple had won a court order before Arthur’s death to make it so.

That victory was overturned by the federal appeals court in Cincinnati, which upheld the same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee as well.

Obergefell also has run into problems with survivor benefits and he worries about being excluded, after his own death, from a family cemetery plot that Arthur’s grandparents set aside for married spouses and direct descendants.

None of it was a fight Obergefell and Arthur were looking for.

“No one could ever accuse us of being activists,” Obergefell said, smiling. “We just lived our lives. We were just John and Jim.”

TIME Crime

Michigan Man Arrested for Driving 153 MPH on Freeway

That's over twice the speed limit

A 21-year-old from Michigan managed to clock a whopping 153 m.p.h. this week while racing a 2005 Dodge Magnum near Detroit on Interstate 75. He was arrested for reckless driving and his vehicle was subsequently impounded.

The unidentified man went 79 mph in a 70 mph zone before almost doubling that speed farther down the freeway, according to MSN.

“We do see speeds like this every once and a while on the freeways, but mostly it’s by high-performance motorcycles; it’s very seldom a vehicle,” Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw told Fox NY.

Alcohol does not appear to be involved and the driver says he was on his way home when police caught up with him.

As for the speeding, it appears the vehicle was modified as its 350 hp V8 engine can normally only do 130 mph thanks to a speed restrictor.

TIME weather

Small Earthquake Shakes Michigan

Earthquakes are rare in the state

A small earthquake hit Michigan on Saturday.

The U.S. Geological Service reported the quake on its website at a magnitude of 4.2, centered in Galesburg in the southwestern part of the state.

“While on the low end of the scale, it is still quite rare for Michigan,” Rob Dale, from the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, told the Detroit Free Press.

No injuries were immediately reported, but the effects of the small quake were felt miles away, including as far as Chicago.

TIME justice

This Facebook Post About Baltimore Cost a Prosecutor Her Job

Facebook Removes Feeling Fat
Bloomberg via Getty Images The Facebook Inc. logo is seen on an Apple Inc. iPhone in London, U.K., on May 14, 2012.

“Solution. Simple. Shoot em. Period. End of discussion."

A woman in Michigan has lost her job after posting a note on Facebook that called for violent protesters to be shot.

Teana Walsh, an assistant prosecutor with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, resigned on Friday, the Detroit News reports.

On Wednesday, her Facebook account included a post that has since been taken down about the violence rocking Baltimore:

“Solution. Simple. Shoot em. Period. End of discussion. I don’t care what causes the protestors to turn violent…what the ‘they did it because’ reason is…no way is this acceptable. Flipping disgusting.”

Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said the post did not reflect her colleague’s true character. “During her tenure in the office, Teana Walsh has been known for her great work ethic and her compassion for victims of crime and their families,” she said. “Her post was up online briefly and she immediately took it down. The post was completely out of character for her and certainly does not reflect the person that we know.”

Walsh was not the only public official to find herself in hot water as a result of an insensitive post on social media. On Thursday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson told reporters that the director of a city community relations board, Blaine Griffin, had been reprimanded after the board’s twitter account asked if the city should be “burned down like” Baltimore.

[Detroit News]

TIME Crime

This Woman Didn’t Get Any Bacon In Her Burger So She Shot Up the Drive-Thru

Shaneka Monique Torres looks around the courtroom before being found guilty on all charges related to her shooting a gun into a McDonald's when she failed to get bacon on her burger, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich
Chris Clark—AP Shaneka Monique Torres looks around the courtroom before being found guilty on all charges related to her shooting a gun into a McDonald's when she failed to get bacon on her burger, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich

Thankfully nobody was injured

A Grand Rapids, Mich. woman faces up to seven years in prison after she was convicted of multiple charges Wednesday for firing a bullet into a McDonald’s drive-through when staff forgot to put bacon in her cheeseburger.

Shaneka Monique Torres, 30, ordered a bacon cheeseburger at the McDonald’s on Feb. 10, 2014 but it arrived without bacon. She complained to a manager and was offered a free burger, according to Grand Rapids local news outlet WZZM 13.

At about 3.am, Torres and her friend returned to order another bacon cheeseburger. This burger also came without bacon and Torres verbally lashed out at a worker before pulling out her handgun and firing a round into the restaurant. No one was injured.

Torres was arrested at her home about 30 minutes later.

Her defense attorney, John Beason, argued that Torres discharged the weapon by accident and there was no correlation with the bacon-less burgers.

The jury deliberated for one hour and found Torres guilty of carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm into a building and felony use of a firearm.

She will be sentenced on April 21.

Read next: California Woman Arrested for Trying to Steal Two Babies, Leading to One Death

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME weather

Valentine’s Day ‘Snow Hurricane’ Hits New England

Just stay indoors with your Valentine already

A Valentine’s Day blizzard with hurricane-force winds was set to pummel much of New England on Saturday.

Blizzard warnings were issued in six states—Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island—as the fourth major snowstorm of the season made its way toward the East Coast. Iat had already dumped eight inches in parts of Michigan by Saturday afternoon.

MORE: It’s Better to Be Single on Valentine’s Day

New York City and Philadelphia remained under winter weather advisories while Boston, which has already experienced a historic total of almost eight feet of snow this season, could get another foot. Parts of Massachusetts were forecasted to receive 18 inches, and Cape Cod could experience hurricane-force wind gusts.

The bottom line is, stay inside with your Valentine and don’t poke your head out until April. And if you’re single, you have a perfect excuse to do absolutely nothing.

TIME States

Detroit Man Who Walked 21 Miles to Work Each Day to Finally Be Bought Car

James The Walker
Ryan Garza—AP In this Jan. 29, 2015, photo, James Robertson, 56, of Detroit, walks toward Woodward Aveune in Detroit to catch his morning bus to Somerset Collection in Troy before walking to his job at Schain Mold Engineering in Rochester Hills. Getting to and from his factory job 23 miles away in Rochester Hills, he'll take a bus partway there and partway home and walk 21 miles according to the Detroit Free Press

A kickstarted campaign has, so far, raised $130,000

James Robertson has arguably America’s harshest commute, a 21-mile trek that takes him through the Detroit’s worst neighborhoods. Now, his daily journey has captured the nation’s attention and prompted a GoFundMe campaign that has raised $130,000 to provide him with a car.

For the last decade, the 56-year-old has walked eight miles to work and 13 miles back again. He usually arrives home at 4 a.m., sleeps for two hours, and then wakes up at 6 a.m. to return to his factory job, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The daily odyssey takes him through Detroit’s infamous 8 Mile neighborhood in the middle of the night. But despite the ordeal, Robertson remains upbeat about his situation. “I sleep a lot on the weekend, yes I do,” he says. “I can’t imagine not working.”

A Sunday profile in the Detroit Free Press inspired hundreds of people to offer Robertson cash, chauffeur services and even cars.

Evan Leedy, a student of Wayne State University, was inspired to start a GoFundMe campaign. “I set the goal at the beginning of $5,000. Right now my page has more than $30,000,” Leedy said on Sunday evening.

Yet donations have now left $30,000 in the dust — the total stands at $130,000 at time of publication and is rising fast.

Robertson said that he is proud that he has managed his commute for all these years, but with the help of the kickstarter campaign, it looks like his walking days may be over.

[Detroit Free Press]

 

Read next: Inside the California Prison Where Inmates Train Rescue Dogs

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Travel

The 16 Best Small-Town Museums in the U.S.

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University
Paul Warchol Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University

These museums offer outsize collections of Impressionist paintings, modern installations, and folk art—without the big-city crowds

The first significant new museum of American art in nearly half a century debuted in 2011. But to view Crystal Bridges’ collection—from a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington to Jackson Pollock canvases—you don’t travel to New York, L.A., or Chicago. You head down a forested ravine in a town in northwestern Arkansas.

As museum founder and Walmart heiress Alice Walton scooped up tens of millions of dollars’ worth of art from across the country, thinly veiled snobbish rhetoric began to trickle out from the coasts. Most notably, when she purchased Asher B. Durand’s 1849 Kindred Spirits from the New York Public Library for $35 million, some culturati bristled at the thought that this famed Hudson River School landscape would be leaving for Bentonville. The controversy raised the question: who deserves access to great art?

Yet a small town is precisely the kind of place where a stellar art collection fits in. After all, coastal hamlets, mountaintop villages, and desert whistle-stops have inspired American artists for generations, among them, the Impressionists of Connecticut’s Old Lyme Colony and the minimalist installation artists who more recently gentrified Marfa. Where else can you find the mix of affordable rents, access to inspiring natural vistas, and enough peace and quiet to actually get work done?

Many small towns also offer detour-worthy museums, some housed in spectacular historic spaces—old factories, former army bases, Beaux-Arts estates, Victorian mansions—and others built from scratch by internationally renowned architects like Zaha Hadid and Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron. And with works inside just as varied, from landscape paintings at the Taos Art Museum to minimalist installations at Dia:Beacon to American folk art at the Shelburne, you’re sure to find a small-town art museum to suit any artistic taste.

Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT

When iron industrialist Alfred A. Pope began buying French Impressionist masterpieces, the movement was still stirring outrage across Europe for its radical departure from tradition. But you’d never know it from the intimate, even cozy, atmosphere at the Hill-Stead Museum, which places these works in the same context in which Pope would have enjoyed them—surrounded by antiques and period Federal-, Chippendale-, and Empire-style furnishings in his hilltop estate outside of Hartford. Like the works you’ll find inside, by Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt, and Édouard Manet, the house itself now seems lovely and genteel. But it also comes with a radical backstory: the Colonial Revival mansion, completed in 1901, was designed by Pope’s own daughter, only the fourth registered female architect in American history. $15; hillstead.org.

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum, Biloxi, MS

Biloxi’s Ohr-O’Keefe Museum raises many questions. You might wonder what an avant-garde museum is doing in a Gulf Coast beach town known for its casinos and sunshine. Or how starchitect Frank Gehry got involved in a project dedicated to obscure 19th-century ceramicist George Ohr. Or how this place is even still standing. During construction, Hurricane Katrina slammed an unmoored casino barge directly into the unfinished buildings. Any lack of logic seems appropriate in honoring Ohr, a true eccentric who dubbed himself the Mad Potter of Biloxi and was known for his delightfully misshapen, brightly colored pottery. Opened in 2010 in a thicket of live oaks, the museum encompasses brick-and-steel pavilions, twisted egg-shaped pods, and examples of 19th-century vernacular architecture, with galleries on African American art, ceramics, and Gulf Coast history. $10; georgeohr.org.

The Huntington, San Marino, CA

San Marino is named for the tiny republic on the Italian peninsula. And it’s an appropriate connection for the Huntington, where the vibe is distinctly European, thanks to 120 manicured acres (reserve ahead for the Tea Room, surrounded by a rose garden) and a collection skewed to Old World classics. The Huntington Art Gallery has the largest collection of 18th- and 19th-century British art outside of London—including works by Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable. Other galleries within this Beaux-Arts estate cover Renaissance paintings and 18th-century sculpture as well as the furniture of Frank Lloyd Wright and paintings by Mary Cassatt and Edward Hopper. A Gutenberg Bible from the 1450s and an illuminated manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are among the library’s gems. $20.

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI

College towns offer more than beautiful campuses, tradition-rich bars, and football. Many can also brag about world-class art collections. Case in point: Michigan State University’s new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. It’s the first-ever university building designed by Pritzker Prize–winner Zaha Hadid and only her second project in North America. The corrugated stainless steel and glass facade juts sharply like a ship—or perhaps more accurately a spaceship—run aground. While the collection is primarily contemporary, the curators included some classic works to better contextualize the newer acquisitions. So you can expect Old Master paintings, 19th-century American paintings, and 20th-century sculpture, along with artifacts from ancient Greece, Rome, and the pre-Columbian Americas. Free; broadmuseum.msu.edu.

Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY

Low-slung and shedlike, with its corrugated tin roof and parallel 615-foot slabs of poured concrete, Eastern Long Island’s newest art museum features a style that might be called Modern Agricultural. Surrounded by a meadow of tall grasses on the long road to Montauk, the museum is a minimalist stunner that’s perfectly suited to its surroundings: the long horizontal space speaks both to the uninterrupted horizons of the region’s famed beaches and to the unfussy simplicity that first attracted artists like Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Willem de Kooning. Inside, under an ever-changing glow from skylights above, the collection honors the generations of artists who called this area home, such as American Impressionist William Merritt Chase and mid-century realist Fairfield Porter. In 2014, it won Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron a T+L Design Award for best museum. $10; parrishart.org.

Read the full list HERE.

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TIME People

81-Year-Old Discovers His 61-Year-Old Son Through Long-Hidden Letter

The letter was from a woman claiming to be the mother of the son

Throughout his life, Tony Trapani wanted to have kids.

As might then be imagined, when he met his son for the first time on Monday – Trapani is now 81 – it was quite an experience.

Trapani was cleaning out his Grand Rapids, Michigan, home after his wife’s death when he came across a letter she’d hidden in a file cabinet. Sent in 1959, the letter was from a woman claiming to be the mother of Trapani’s son.

“I have a little boy,” the letter read. “He is five years old now. What I’m trying to say, Tony, is he is your son. He was born November 14, 1953.”

That little boy is Samuel Childress, now 61. Childress said that his mother told him she’d sent the letter to his father but gave up hope of ever hearing from him.

Trapani suspects his wife hid the letter because of their trouble conceiving a child. “Why my wife didn’t tell me,” he told Michigan’s Fox 17. “I don’t know. She wanted children. She couldn’t have any. She tried and tried.”

Childress, who grew up in Pennsylvania, said, “Just to know him now is so important to me. It’s going to fill that void.”

The family plans to have a paternity test performed to make sure of the results.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME Crime

Michigan Governor Vetoes Gun Bill Over Domestic Violence Concerns

Rick Snyder
Carlos Osorio—AP Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder addresses the media during a news conference in Detroit on Nov. 7, 2014.

Would have allowed the subjects of personal protection orders to carry concealed weapons

Citing domestic violence concerns, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed two bills on Thursday that would have allowed people subject to personal protection orders the ability to obtain a concealed weapon permit.

The bill included some measures that the Republican governor supports, including doing away with county concealed weapon licensing boards and moving those responsibilities to police departments and county clerks.

But in a letter explaining his veto, Gov. Snyder said that the measures would do away with current law that automatically denies concealed carry permits to the subjects of personal protection orders. These civil orders are issued by courts to protect people threatened or harmed by another person, and are often used in domestic abuse cases.

“Victims of domestic abuse may not know to ask the court for a specific restriction on the subject’s ability to purchase and possess firearms,” Gov. Snyder wrote, adding that one of the Senate bills would remove blanket protection in cases where court-ordered protection does not specifically address firearms.

(Read next: The 1919 Theory That Explains Why Police Officers Need Their Guns)

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