By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Oklahoma City – A new book titled, “Becoming Brave: Winning Marriage Equality and Finding Our Voice” will make its Oklahoma City debut on Thursday, March 2.
Sharon Bishop-Baldwin and her wife Mary Bishop-Baldwin, the lead plaintiffs in the 10-year old case that brought marriage equality to Oklahoma, have written a memoir about their decade-long legal fight to wed and gain the same rights offered to other couples In Oklahoma.
The Bishop-Baldwins will be the featured guests at a book signing at 6 p.m., at Full Circle Bookstore in 50 Penn Place, 1900 NW Expressway. Copies of “Becoming Brave’ will be available for $20.
Along with Oklahoma co-plaintiffs, Sue Barton and Gay Phillips, the Baldwin-Bishops filed a lawsuit in November 2004, the day after Oklahoma voters approved adding a ban on same –sex marriage to the Oklahoma Constitution.
In an “unprecedented and protracted journey through the federal court system,” a press release stated, “marriage equality came to a lower-court ruling that had gone in the couple’s favor.”
After their victory, the Bishop-Baldwins were married on the steps of the Tulsa County Courthouse, where they once had been denied a marriage license by the court clerk who became the defendant in their lawsuit.
Becoming Brave – “not a law book, but still a book about the law” – recounts numerous behind-the-scenes stories meant to give the reader a sense of what “a wild ride the marriage-equality fight was” for Sharon and Mary.
Earlier this month about 100 people attended the book launch and inaugural signing event held in Tulsa at the Oklahomans for Equality Center. That evening, the couple read passages from the book and answered questions from the audience.
“The turnout was really gratifying, and better still, response to the book since the event has been really fantastic,” Sharon Bishop-Baldwin said. “I’m thrilled that our story is resonating with people, because the truth is, although it’s a story about Mary’s and my life for that decade, it’s also really a story about all of our lives during that period.
“A lot of people, more than the two of us and our co-plaintiffs, Sue Barton and Gay Phillips, fought that fight for many years,” Sharon added.
After receiving her copy of Becoming Brave in the mail, native Oklahoman, now Baltimore resident, Sarah Molina Mabe posted to Facebook, “Thank you Sharon Bishop-Baldwin and Mary Bishop Baldwin. Without you, my life with my wife would not be what it is. Thank you for your bravery.”
Other scheduled book signings include: Saturday, February 18, 5 p.m., at Haskells Loft in Bartlesville; Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. at the East Central University Regents Room n Ada; and on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Decopolis at 2:30 p.m. in downtown Tulsa.
A book signing is also being planned in Norman. Check the book’s Facebook page for the latest information.