The Gustavian Weekly

Alumna Wed interview with Leisl Batz

By Tram Bui News Editor | September 13, 2013 | News

Longtime friend, Liesl Batz

LB: Cathy and Margaret being chosen to be the first same-sex couple to marry in Minnesota was a gift to us all.  Their willingness to share such a personal experience with us through the media (and by having nearly 1000 guests at their wedding!) was extraordinary in and of itself but the way they handled the entire build up to the event and the marriage itself was done with such grace.  It makes me proud to call them friends.  They have continually said that their marriage was a symbol for all who had wished for this moment for many, many years and they were the vessel through which the community could celebrate this momentous occasion together.  The fact that Louie was there being his exuberant, loving self-completing the family circle was just the icing on the same-sex wedding cake!
TB: How did you meet Cathy?

LB: Cathy and I met when I was a freshman at Gustavus working in admissions for my work study and I gave her a tour of the campus.  It was the beginning of a great friendship.  Cathy and I hit it off instantly as we both had roots in Iowa, were both vocal musicians and I was instantly drawn to her fantastic sense of humor and incredibly warm spirit.  While I have just gotten to know Margaret I have come to know that she is every bit as generous and giving of her time and her talents as Cathy which makes the two of them a very powerful and incredibly positive combination!
TB: What do you believe this means for their family? For Cathy and Margaret? For Louie?

LB: The ability to have their union recognized as legal in the eyes of the law is a validation of the family they have become.  Since Cathy and Margaret had made a commitment to one another twelve years ago they were already a family in so many ways not much has changed.  For Louie there is no legal question as to who are his parents and for Margaret and Cathy they will enjoy the same marital rights as a heterosexual couple.  No longer will they have to worry that one will be excluded from the other’s bedside in crisis because of legalities.  Life changing decisions are now legally theirs to make as happens in every heterosexual marriage and I believe that is the biggest difference – that and filing joint tax returns :-)  Beyond that, it is a much bigger picture about human rights and the right to live as your fellow citizens do who are able to choose to whom they are legally wed.
TB: Did you attend their commitment ceremony? What differences did you feel from their wedding this past August and from their commitment ceremony 12 years ago?

LB: I did not attend their commitment ceremony as I was living outside the country at the time.
TB: What was your experience like at the ceremony? From the standpoint of
attending, simply, a friend’s wedding? From the point of witnessing history and a moment of victory for marriage equality and civil rights?

LB: Cathy has a special place in my heart so as a friend; it was great to see her legally wed her longtime love and partner.  The energy that filled City Hall during the evening was like nothing I had experienced before.  It was pure joy radiating from every level of the soaring atrium and every soul in the room.  I have to admit that with all of the media attention and the scale of importance of the event I had a few moments of thinking “I can’t believe its Cathy and Margaret who are carrying the torch in this incredibly important moment”. 
TB: What has this historic moment meant for you, and what do you think it
says on the future of marriage equality?

LB:  Marriage equality is something that quite frankly I didn’t believe we would see so soon, but I am really very proud to live in a state that is leading the way on this issue.  It restores my hope in humanity that we can grow in our acceptance and appreciation of one another and our differences while remembering our country’s founding principles of freedom and equality for all.