Yorkwrites Salutes Nancy Nicol and Miriam Smith

September 22nd, 2008 by cpringi

Gladstone Hotel, North Ballroom
1214 Queen St. West
September 24, 7 – 9:30 pm.
Free admission. Refreshments will be served. Cash bar

“Political Institutions and Lesbian and Gay Rights in the United States and Canada”
by Miriam Smith, Routledge 2008.
“One Summer in New Paltz, a cautionary tale” (54 min., 2008)
by Nancy Nicol
With Performance by D-lishus:
poet mother fire-goddess diva storyteller, dispensing words of wisdom, laced with dub
and framed by womanly hips, hard hitting political sistah telling it like it is.


  • What accounts for the rapid pace of change for lesbian and gay rights in Canada compared with the laggard status the US?
  • What inspired thousands of lesbians and gays, as well as straight mayors, city officials and clergy across the US, to engage in civil disobedience for the right to marry?
  • How do issues and legacies of racism, nationalism and political and legal institutions play a role in the same-sex marriage debate in the US and Canada?


“Political Institutions and Lesbian and Gay Rights in the United States and Canada”

Miriam Smith examines why these similar societies have produced such divergent policy outcomes, focusing on how differences between the political institutions of the US and Canada have shaped the terrain of social movement and counter-movement mobilization. Miriam will briefly explain why dry topics such as federalism, state constitutions and the division of powers are relevant to queer rights.


One Summer in New Paltz, a cautionary tale (54 minutes, 2008)
Director/Producer Nancy Nicol will introduce the film.
Set against a backdrop of the Bush administration’s policy of endless war and assault on civil liberties, One Summer in New Paltz is a cautionary tale of a young mayor of a small village who decided to do the unthinkable.

“Fairy tales take us into a world where taboos may still be in force but where transgression is the motor of the plot”.
Tatar, Maria, Grimms’ Fairy Tales (1987)

President Bush’s call for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to enshrine a heterosexual definition of marriage ignited a wave of civil disobedience same-sex marriages across the USA. One Summer in New Paltz focuses on the small village of New Paltz, NY, where the mayor, Jason West, began performing same-sex marriages on the steps of village hall and thousands of couples flooded the village seeking to be married. The film goes on to document civil disobedience same-sex marriages and demonstrations across New York state, the Nyack Ten legal suit against New York state and the first day of legal same-sex marriages in Boston Massachusetts in May 2004.

One Summer in New Paltz probes into the debate on same-sex marriage examining the intersection of same-sex marriage, war, the Constitution, race and the family. A strong work about grass roots organizing, straight/gay alliances and confrontation with state repression from an intersectional perspective.

Special thanks to: Vtape, Night at the Indies, Sexualities Studies, York U and Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, York U