The Gorham FamilySunday, October 18th, 2009
Christopher Gorham and Anel Lopez Gorham have been married nearly ten years. They’re definitive college sweethearts who have both pursued acting careers and even co-starred together years ago on Popular, Ryan Murphy’s hit cult series on the WB. Many of you probably recognize Chris from his recurring role as Henry on Ugly Betty and his most recent starring role on Harper’s Island. They were married in 2000 and began a family together.
Chris and Anel wanted to come in and show their support after they found us on Twitter, so we set it up! The Gorhams made their NOH8 shoot a family affair, bringing their whole crew into the studio to pose for their own unique NOH8 family portrait. Chris and Anel were joined by their sons Lucas and Ethan and baby daughter Alondra.
"We're really aware that we're lucky to be able to be together, and we want that for everyone else." – Anel Lopez Gorham
The issue of the majority taking away the rights of the minority to marry is very personal to the Gorhams. You might be wondering why that is, and why Anel said that her and Chris are lucky to have the freedom to marry.
“Years ago, Chris and I would never have been allowed to be married legally. I'm Mexican and Chris is white, and if the laws had never been changed to allow people of different races to marry then we never would have been allowed to be married, never been allowed to have this wonderful family, and that's just heartbreaking.. so we really get it."
Only 50 years ago, it was still illegal in most states to marry outside your race. Were those laws still in place today, couples like Chris and Anel would have never been allowed to marry and create a family together. Any relationship between two people of different nationalities – regardless of gender – was viewed as unequal in the eyes of the law.
You know what else is interesting? The California Supreme Court became the first in the country to strike down its ban on interracial marriage in 1948. That’s when around 95% of the country still opposed the idea of interracial marriage. It wasn’t the “popular” decision in terms of the majority – but it was the right thing to do. Many states had similar laws banning interracial marriage until as late as 1967.
Even as late as today, in November 2009, a justice for the peace in Louisiana is denied a marriage license to a straight interracial couple. Keith Bardwell, a white justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, just denied a marriage license earlier this month to Terence McKay, who is African American, and Beth Humphrey, who is white. Bardwell is an elected official, and openly admits he asks every couple who applies for a license if they’re interracial. If so, he refuses to marry them and refers them to another justice. You can read more about the story at the Huffington Post.
Check out the Gorham Family's important NOH8 video to see them posing for their family portrait and to hear more about why they posed, how they continue to speak out in their community, and what it was like to be the only family in their neighborhood with a “NO on 8” lawn sign last November.