Follow Up Friday: Maplewood Blogs, Waldorf Schools and Gay Marriage

Friday, March 06, 2009

Why are there now four "hyper-local" websites in Maplewood, NJ? Joe Strupp, senior editor at Editor and Publisher (and, full disclosure, the man behind one of Maplewood's sites) explains. Then, a little primer on Waldorf schools. Plus, a call-in for our LGBT listeners. Is marriage the highest priority for the movement today?


Joe Strupp

Comments [23]

Cathryn from Long Island

My son attends the Waldorf School on Long Island. Yes, the teachers stays with the class first through eighth grade. It has been a wonderful school for him which has protected his childhood and worked on developing his body, mind, and soul. It does not teach children how to take a test, it teaches them to have a love for learning and a reverence for the world.

Mar. 07 2009 12:23 AM


I'll wager that a failure to look at marriage from an economic standpoint is clouding your view on this issue.

Take a look at how income level affects not just the desire to marry, but the ultimate success of a marriage.

That is, the lower you stand on the ladder, the less likely you are to marry, and if you do marry, you are less likely to remain married. So your wager is failing to take into account the elephant in the room, and I believe Mr. Lavers may be right in his assessment.

Also, the lower down on the ladder you are, the more pressing your gay rights issues are. That is, if you live in a high-crime neighborhood, your biggest concern won't be marriage rights, but making it safely back home every night, as homophobic attacks are more likely in poor neighborhoods. So again, Mr. Lavers may not be totally right, but I think he's bringing up an important point, a point which the leaders of the marriage equality movement, who are mostly white, have neatly neglected. That does not make those leadres wrong to fight for marriage equality, but it does make them somewhat out of touch.

Mar. 06 2009 03:45 PM
Eric from Jersey City

Mr. Lavers, I'll wager that black lesbian couple in Bushwick needs the legal and financial protections of marriage a lot more than the proverbial rich Fire Island crowd.

Mar. 06 2009 02:42 PM
Barbara Schulman from Brooklyn NY

The conflict on marriage in the LGBT community has a long history, one that it would serve WNYC listeners to learn more about. I recommend taking a look at the thoughtful and important alternative position on gay marriage developed by a group called "Beyond Marriage" ( This is a coalition of many of the most prominent and respected long-time LGBT activists from around the country -- the folks who have always worked to ensure that the LGBT political agenda addresses the ways that racism, economic marginalization, sexism, immigration status and other issues -- not simply sexual orientation alone -- shape queer lives.

It would be great to hear a show featuring some of these heroes of our movements so that listeners could get a richer understanding of the smart-ness and breadth of vision of the more progressive, non-mainstream wing of the queer movement in the United States -- the wing that has always sought to work in coalition with allies from other movements to seek economic, political, social, racial, gender justice for all.

Mar. 06 2009 12:41 PM
jim fouratt from greenwich village nyc

continuation of Jim Fouratt comment :

: My experience with poor and gays and lesbian people of color it is a very important issue and one that is desire to be able to exist in their own communities with out shame or hiding. I find ultra left voices like the caller Jim this morning who attracted the concept of same sex civil marriage and they people who want it to be arrogant and not understanding of how and why people come to the consciousness that allows then to COME OUT and stand up for their rights and form community with other people and communities who share a lack of power and equality.

4: Like AIDS, marriage is not the only issue that the lesbian and gay community needs to agitate for today. AIDS is a health issue not a sexual orientation issue until homophobia taints the political response, same sex civil marriage is an equal rights issue.

5: Organized religion continues to be the biggest opponent to the "normalization" of gay and lesbian people and provides the filter to justify discrimination,

6: I would suggest that the issues that I would hope become more significant are:

a: age of consent
b: anti-bully legislation
3: Diversity of who we are, not the market determined idea of who lesbian and gay people are
4: Inclusion of our full diversity in high school and college curriculum
5: the right to remain single and childless as an estimable choice
6: The right to have a full range of gender expression with out being classified as "transgender" (a political tern not based in science) This battle needs to be fought not only on the right to jobs and accommodation but also on the early education tracking of children based on gender expression


Those are just a few of what I would call the current lesbian and gay agenda for change.

jim fouratt

Mar. 06 2009 12:23 PM
jim fouratt from greenwich village nyc

I was disappointed that I was left on hold and than cut off. As one of the founders of the Gay Liberation Front in 1969 and one of the few actual witnesses to what happened on June 28, 1969 in front of the Stonewall Inn I had thought my perspective would have been of value.

That said let me make the following comments:

1: from the very beginning the issue of he right to marry was voiced at Gay Liberation Front meetings much to the dismay of some of the male radicals and some of lesbians coming into both Gay and Women's liberation out of the left. But it was a dominate desire of many of the formerly unpolitical people who joined the Gay Liberation Front.

2: the right to same sex civil marriage never has been a radical issue ... it is a basic civil rights issue, a simple equal rights issue. Because of the organized religious opposition and the dragging of their feet of of "liberal" politicians it has become a radicalizing issue. Just look at how Obama and Clinton waffled on this the rigth of same sex couples to have a civil marriage


Mar. 06 2009 12:22 PM
Karen C from NYC

Health care decisions, Social Security, Pensions, Citizenship, Succession and Estate matters are decided by laws which do not recognize gay and lesbian relationships.

Since we are a nation of laws that puts gay and lesbian long-term relationships outside the realm of the law.

Mar. 06 2009 12:02 PM
Jordan Walker from Spring Valley, NY

I was thrilled to hear your brief description of Waldorf Education just now. It still amazes me how little people in this country know about the fastest growing educational movement in the world!

The Rudolf Steiner School on East 79th street (Mayor Bloomberg lives right next door) was the first Waldorf School in North America and is still going strong 80 years later.

There are also Waldorf elementary school initiatives in Fort Green, Brooklyn (right next to B.A.M. - and one opening in Tribeca next year.

As someone who went through public school all my life and taught in a brooklyn public school - I feel it is so important that more people learn about this transformative education. It truly changes the way you look at childhood and offers an important alternative to where we as a society might take our educational system.

Mar. 06 2009 11:58 AM
John from Brooklyn, NY

The political issue "gay marriage" should be a non issue. The State has no business telling us whom we may "marry." The State should register partnerships between folks who wish to co-habit and commit to a long-term domestic and financial future together, including the raising of children. If folks want to have that commitment blessed or strengthened by making some religious bond then that is not the business of the State or the Courts. It's a shocking thing that folks who were partnered in California will lose their State's recognition of those partnerships because they were using the "marriage" word. "What's in a name?"

Mar. 06 2009 11:55 AM
ted from manhattan

"hyper local" webs and blogs.

could this be a by product of our growing unemployment crisis with some people too much time on their hands.


Mar. 06 2009 11:52 AM
Bo from Brooklyn - Prospect Heights


Curtains are lifestyle...we have LIVES!!!

Mar. 06 2009 11:42 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Mr. Lavers, are you saying marriage is only for the white and rich, or that the poor colored folk of Bushwick have no interest in marriage and are only "baby-mommas and baby-daddies"? The way you framed your argument is rather offensive to both poor and non-European Americans.

Mar. 06 2009 11:41 AM
jeffy from brooklyn

andrew sullivan has working class irish catholic background. All tradition is not bad.

Mar. 06 2009 11:40 AM
jen from Brooklyn

Actually, how about if EVERYONE gets a civil marriage/union that affords the same rights and we keep religious definitions of marriage in the churches, synagogues, and mosques?

Mar. 06 2009 11:36 AM
Desiree from Park Slope, Brooklyn

I am a 41 year old black, lesbian archivist/librarian and gay activist.

I respect the importance that marriage holds for many gay folks (particularly those who've chosen to be parents) but since I have no interest in marriage, I really do wish there was a more balanced effort regarding broader gay rights issues across the country and within each state.

A federal non-discrimination ruling that would prevent businesses, organizations, The Military, from firing or targeting employees for being gay and anti-discrimination clauses in the constitutions of all U.S. states would work to secure rights for All Gay People, not just those who wish to be married.

That said, I feel like everyone (gay people included) are hung up on the idea of the word "marriage".

Civil partnerships should be available to all U.S. citizens (gay or straight) and should be completely separate from church or religious officiated marriage ceremonies.

Every U.S. citizen should have the right to become the "civil partner" of another consensual adult regardless of gender and in every U.S. state. Forget about "marriage". It's a civil contract that has to do with property rights and collective decision making. If this were true and civil unions held the same rights and privileges of "marriage" as it has been traditionally been understood (as is true in the UK) then the issue of "marriage" would be less important.

Mar. 06 2009 11:36 AM
Michael K. Lavers from Brooklyn, NY

Marriage is a priority depending upon with whom you speak. There is often a disconnect between those at the helm of LGBT rights organizations and the 95 percent of LGBT Americans who continue to remain outside of any organized activism, etc. Marriage may remain a priority for a wealthy gay couple who lives in Manhattan and summers on Fire Island or the Hamptons because their 6 or 7 figure income allows them to do so. On the other hand, an argument can easily be made marriage for same-sex couples is not an important issue for a same-sex couple of color who lives in Bushwick and are struggling to pay their rent or put food on the table for their children. It's all a matter of perspective and in many ways a couple's socio-economic status.

Mar. 06 2009 11:33 AM
Jen from East Village

Yes, there has been too much focus on marriage as the (sole) legal remedy.

Marriage isn't the solution for getting justice for many diverse alternative family forms. The state should recognize any family, as it defines itself -- think Kate and Allie.

People should have health care, and fair taxes, and death benefits with much greater flexibility for all. What about single people who live in long term, reciprocal care relationships with other folks?

Let's demand fairness for all people instead of extending an exclusive institution -- civil marriage -- to one more group and then slamming the door on everyone else.

How about if no one gets civil marriage? Then people can continue to marry in their communities if they wish, and benefits from the state are not tied to romantic relations.

Mar. 06 2009 11:31 AM
paul from nyc

i think it is a lesbian issue
more than a gay one

Mar. 06 2009 11:31 AM
Richard from Brooklyn

I volunteer with the Alternatives to Marriage Project. We are a national organization working to get government out of the marriage business. The website is and it would be great for anyone who is interested in this topic to check us out.

Mar. 06 2009 11:30 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Speaking with a friend who feels strongly that same-sex marriage is not the highest priority, I explained to him that though it may not be the highest LGBTQ priority as a single issue, it is an all-inclusive omnibus of civil rights. Marriage in and of itself is not a civil right, but when state governments and the Federal government infer rights and responsibilities(5th Amendment, possibly 9th Amendment, property, inheritance, immigration, adoption, contracts et al.) and rewards (tax breaks, insurance, entitlements, etc.) can be legitimately, legally, and irrevocably be tied to marriage, (a contract that is not recognized and could possibly be illegal until licensed by the state) it becomes a civil right. If marriage were solely a religious ceremony or a secular contract drawn up by an attorney between two or more individuals, this would be a non issue, but when the state decides to regulate and reward the intuition, it violates the 1st, 9th (possibly, I am not a Constitutional scholar), and 14th Amendments by excluding same-sex couples.

Mar. 06 2009 11:29 AM
Karen W from Guatemala City/Brooklyn

Just a humor moment, the funniest gay cartoon in the New Yorker:
A husband in reading an article in a newspaper and says to his wife "Gay marriage? Haven't they suffered enough?"

Mar. 06 2009 11:29 AM
Carole Chervin from New York City

I am a lawyer in New York City. I am married and straight. I believe strongly in equal civil rights but I have also listened carefully to the objections expressed by conservatives (and even some Democratic presidential candidates we know) against the state offering "marriage" to gay couples. I have a solution that I believe would satisfy both liberals and conservatives on this issue.

This is a separation of church and state issue and that is the solution. People opposing "gay marriage" say that "the defintion" of marriage is the holy union of a man and a woman. If that is true, then why should the state offer such a "holy union" -- to gay couples or to straight couples, for that matter? I believe it should not. Every couple that wants the legal rights accorded by the state (inheritance, hospital visitation, child custody, etc.) should be offered some sort of civil union" from the state. Then they can be free, of course, to get a "marriage" from whatever religious institution they want. Keep the religious ceremony and rights in the church, and keep the legal rights in the state. Simple

Mar. 06 2009 11:10 AM
Danielle from Maplewood by way of Forest Hills

Maplewood/South Orange is an emigrant community of New Yorkers who have left the city for backyards, good schools and the same sensibility they found in NY. All of our friends and neighbors hail from the Upper West Side, Park Slope, Queens, etc. (Within a year, three of my friends moved from Forest Hills and Jackson Heights, along with my family!) Those are big blogging neighborhoods too so it's not surprising that they would crave the same type of information and community they were used in the city.

There are also a lot of parents in the area. I'm a member of one of the largest chapters of the national nonprofit mother's organization, Mother's and More ( - we have around 400 active members (paying a $40 annual membership fee). Our email listserv/messageboard is extremely active with moms giving and asking for advice on parenting, services, schools, etc.

Coincidentally, both my husband and I are full-time professional bloggers though we don't write about Maplewood- we write about food and celebrity babies!

Mar. 06 2009 10:44 AM

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