Meeting Derence and Ed

March 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm 42 comments

If you haven’t yet seen, the video of Courage Campaign members Derence Kernek and Ed Watson has spread like wildfire. It’s been posted by The Washington Post, The Advocate, Towleroad, Andrew Sullivan, AfterElton, Pam’s House Blend, Queerty, Joe.My.God, Good As You, Crooks and Liars, The Dallas Voice, and Equality Matters.

Please share the video with friends, family and colleagues. You can do so on Facebook here, and Twitter here. -Adam

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

I tried to prepare myself as I began to make the drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs to meet Derence and Ed to film this video two weeks ago. I knew their story – grabbed a box of Kleenex from the gas station – and was on my way.

We met at a public library.

Derence, with his full, white beard greeted me with an easy smile and then we walked to meet with Ed who was waiting in the car. Derence arranged a spot for us to film in the courtyard about 100 yards away from the parking lot, which meant that Ed would need his walker. Together the three of us walked 10 steps at a time and then rested all the way to the courtyard, while Derence interjected short anecdotes from their lives together.

As we walked, I realized that theirs is a love story that has spanned decades that – although they now have been placed in a waiting room along with thousands of other gay and lesbian couples in California who want to marry – Derence and Ed have lived a full life together.

In footage you haven’t seen, Derence talks about a time when they were looking for a home together in Kansas City – how they were warned to pick a location that the KKK couldn’t easily access.

When the camera stopped rolling, I told them of a time when I was five or six – my earliest full memory perhaps – when the Klan was having a cross-burning ceremony just outside of my grandmother’s house in Texas. There was a sea of red brake lights as drivers watched the robed ghosts walk in a line just beyond the trees; those red brakes and the orange fire from the cross were the only two things lighting that country road. I was told at some point that the ghosts didn’t like black people. I had nightmares, back then, for weeks.

With Ed’s Alzheimer’s advancing, I don’t know if the couple will have the opportunity to make that memorable trip down the aisle. I pray they do. Driving back to LA, tissues in hand, all I could think was that given all they’ve been through – a life of trying to find homes on the outskirts of towns – that they deserve a few good memories.

Andrew Sullivan said it best when he asked “How are these men a threat?”

Entry filed under: Community/Meta, Prop 8 trial.

LCR vs. United States of America, et al legal update Tomorrow’s NYTimes editorializes for lifting the stay on Judge Walker’s Prop 8 ruling

42 Comments Add your own

  • 1. DaveP  |  March 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you, Arisha. Very well said.

    • 2. Rhie  |  March 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm


  • 3. Kathleen  |  March 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    UPDATE: Perry

    Proponents’ Opposition to lifting the stay

  • 4. Kathleen  |  March 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    UPDATE: Perry

    Proponents’ response in support of Imperial County’s motion to intervene.

    • 5. Alan E.  |  March 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Wow incredibly short. They didn’t give their all to this one. Probably because they know it isn’t worth it except to just show support for their side.

  • 6. Alan E.  |  March 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Part of me wants to seek out these guys the next time I go to Palm Springs (pending other conditions). I’m extremely grateful that I was able to get married, but I feel bad at times when I realize there are others who aren’t as fortunate as I. I know I don’t have full equality with my marriage, and I would give my status of marriage to Derence and Ed if I could.

    • 7. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm

      I felt moved to “do something” too. Love to all those who have suffered from discrimination of marriage race or gender. Thank you Arisha for more back story on this devoted couple.

    • 9. Tasty Salamanders  |  March 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      Well it seems I suck at linking.

      • 10. Heath  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm

        Q: How can you tell if a rabidly anti-gay politician has something to hide?

        A: Yes.

  • 11. JonT  |  March 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm

  • 12. Sagesse  |  March 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I’m so glad their story has been picked up. They deserve their happiness.

  • 13. Sagesse  |  March 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm


    Subsidized Hate
    Why the Westboro Baptist Church remains tax-exempt.

    • 14. Bob  |  March 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      It’s just a matter of time , till a really smart legal team finds a way to make a case that catch’s this Church of Hate,,,, and shuts them down!!!!!

      or American society evolves to the point of understanding the importance of what Alito wrote “In order to have a society in which public issues can be openly and vigorously debated, it is not necessary to allow brutilization of innocent victims”

  • 15. Kathleen  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    UPDATE: Perry

    City and County of San Francisco’s opposition to Imperial County’s motion to intervene.

    • 16. Kathleen  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      OOPS. Upload fail. Hang on while it fix it and post the correct link.

    • 17. Kathleen  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      Here’s the correct link

      • 18. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

        That was a rather fun read :-)

  • 19. be[4]marriage  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    For a little perspective, the Lovings filed their case in 1964. The Supreme Court ruled in their favor in June of 1967, less than 3 years later.

    This Prop 8 lawsuit has already taken too long, and it’s still years before it could possibly ever make it to the Supreme Court. Our Justice system is seriously broken.

    • 20. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks be[4]marriage

    • 21. gaydadtobe  |  March 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      It should be noted that the Prop 8 case went through the State Supreme Court first which was asking a completely different question.

    • 22. Kathleen  |  March 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      It’s difficult to draw a clear comparison between the two cases, as the procedural histories were quite different.

      The Lovings first filed suit in state court Nov, 1963 and the federal and state court cases ran simultaneously for a while. Also, the Lovings’ federal case didn’t involve a trial in district court (w/testimony and extensive discovery battles), nor did it go through Circuit Court of Appeals. Instead, they appealed a Virginia Supreme Court decision directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      I’m not saying that this case isn’t taking a long time, but I don’t think it has so far taken an unusually long time for a court case.

    • 23. Kathleen  |  March 7, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      Feeling the need for a dose of historic legal justice? You can listen to the oral arguments in Loving v. Virginia here:

  • 24. Sagesse  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    It may be the way she’s being quoted, but Maggie sounds absolutely racist. She’s obsessed with what African Americans think about marriage equality, and convinced they don’t listen to the president on the subject?

  • 30. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you Arisha. I can only imagine what a bitter sweet day that must have been for you.
    Thank you for bringing life and voice to their story.

  • 31. Sagesse  |  March 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    And another one state takes up equality.

    Colorado Senate Panel To Consider Gay Unions Bill

    • 32. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 7, 2011 at 6:08 pm

      ‘A Colorado Senate panel on Monday will consider a bill that offers gay and lesbian couples many of the benefits and responsibilities of marriage , the AP reported.’

      So nice of them to decide just how many civil rights we get

  • 33. marcos  |  March 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Not sure if anyone has previously posted this link on the Wyoming bill that thankfully failed to pass the senate, but it is really worth watching.

  • 34. Ronnie  |  March 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    I want to share something I just wrote….

    No type of marriage benefits society nor are they required to. People benefit society by taking care of each other. They benefit society by providing food, shelter, healthcare & clothing for those in need & for their loved ones. They benefit society by finding cures for diseases & donating to research. They benefit society by taking care of the environment, creating art, music, literature & more, using their education to invent new resources & tools etc.

    Marriage is a personal choice between the 2 individuals involved & they, as a couple, are not required to do anything other then love each other. Having children is a personal choice for both LGBT & Straight couples. It is what they do as people for people, for each other & for all of the other species that we must share our planet with that benefits society. LGBT & Straight couples are all people that benefit society as individuals who choose to do so together. Support Equality.


    • 35. Sheryl, Mormon Mother of a wonderful son who just happens to be gay  |  March 8, 2011 at 3:35 am

      That was very well stated, Ronnie.

      Sheryl, Mormon Mother

      • 36. Ronnie  |  March 12, 2011 at 7:37 am

        Thank you, Sheryl……..<3…Ronnie

  • […] stories of discrimination- like Courage Campaign members Shane and John‘s on ABC News, and Ed and Derence‘s in The Washington Post, The Advocate, and many other places- are resonating in the media. […]

  • 38. Richard A. Jernigan  |  March 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    And yet NOM and others of their ilk would have everyone believe that there is no harm in denying us our civil and legal rights to marriage! This is only more proof that they are lying. Let Ed and Derence get married NOW!

    • 39. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm

      It needs to happen NOW while Ed can still be there for their joyous event!

      • 40. Straight Ally #3008  |  March 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm

        If Ed isn’t in possession of his mental faculties, wouldn’t it be impossible to give consent? What a horrible thought that the case could be won, but not in time. :(

      • 41. Richard A. Jernigan  |  March 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm

        Exactly! Nobody deserves to be tormented the way Ed and DErence are being tormented!

  • 42. Straight Ally #3008  |  March 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I’ll say it again: members of NOM, are you anti-equality in spite of the pain it inflicts on folks like Derence and Ed, or because of it?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Support the Prop 8 Trial Tracker

Connect with us

Get to know your fellow Prop 8 Trial Trackers on Facebook.

Please send tips to

Follow us on Twitter @EqualityOnTrial

Sign-up for updates on the Prop 8 trial, including breaking-news alerts.


TWITTER: Follow us @EqualityOnTrial

Share this

Bookmark and Share

SITE STATS (by Wordpress)

  • 4,585,331 views of the Tracker and counting as of today...