California, Oregon, and Washington
Does your state prohibit you from marrying the one you love?
In celebration of LGBT Month, Newcomer’s Handbooks can help you find out which states support marriage equality and help you move with the assistance of our relocation books, all of which include a section on LGBT life in the city.
As of May 21st, 2014, the following states support marriage equality: DC, MD, DE, NJ, PA, CT, NY, RI, MA, NH, VT, ME, IL, IA, MN, NM, WA, OR, CA, and HI (freedomtomarry.org).
Starting in California, we offer two guides to help you out. The first book focuses on Los Angeles and its neighboring cities: Santa Monica, Pasadena, Orange County, and the San Fernando Valley. Though LA is crowded with strip malls and traffic, it is a big and diverse community. West Hollywood, known for its openly gay community, hosts the Pride Parade every June. Our other California guidebook explores the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, and Palo Alto. San Francisco, home of Apple and Google, is just as big and diverse as LA, although slightly more expensive. Among its landmarks are the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual Center of San Francisco. This community center, along with the San Francisco Bay Times: The Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans Newspaper, can keep you up-to-date and connected with the community as well as provide parenting classes, HIV support groups, and a variety of other activities and presentations.
Moving north to Oregon— a state that just made the move from domestic partnerships to full equal-marriage rights— our handbook describes the city of Portland and its surrounding areas, like Vancouver, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Wilsonville. Portland is a beautiful city with the Columbia River and five snowcapped, dormant volcanos all within view. Besides its beauty, Portland also has had one of the first openly gay mayors in a major US city, Sam Adams, who was elected into office from 2005 to 2009. Along with its former gay mayor, the urban city of Portland publishes a PDX Gay Yellow Pages where you can find support centers like the Q Center, which includes a youth resource center.
Further north in Washington, we have our Newcomer’s Handbook for Moving to and Living in Seattle: Including Bellevue, Redmond, Everett, and Tacoma. Seattle is popularly home to Starbucks, Microsoft, and Amazon as well as Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, from which you can see Mt. Rainier on a clear day. As for the gay community, there is plenty. There is an abundance of organizations geared towards helping the Seattle LGBT community, such as Dignity Seattle for LGBT Catholics, the Lambert House Gay Youth Center, and the Gay Fathers Association of Seattle.
As equality is finally progressing into our cities, even just a brief look at a few of our guidebook’s cities becomes arduous for our readers! Next week, look for Part 2 in which we will cover Illinois and Minnesota, specifically Chicago and Minneapolis- St. Paul.
Written by: Kristin Monteith