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The Story of Same Sex Meritage: A Wine for Equality | The Daily Flight: The Official Cellar Angels Blog

The official cellar angels blog

By Guest Blogger Matt Gold, Co-Founder, Same Sex Meritage
I’m going to be honest here. Same Sex Meritage really began with that catchy name and advocacy ingredient popping into my head after many, many bottles of wine shared with a group of friends including Cellar Angels’ founders Martin and Denise Cody. The next morning, while contemplating how many Advils to ingest, I remembered the words I said -- or mumbled -- the night before, “Same Sex Meritage.”
After I got those eight Advils down my dehydrated throat, I realized this is a wine capable of accomplishing a lot of good for a lot of people who deserve it. I thought about my gay and lesbian friends and family members. All the LGBT people I knew had a tremendous support system, whether it was friends, family or both. However, even with all the love in their lives, I knew it still hurt when they heard bigoted statements. I knew they experienced moments of feeling like second class citizens. How could they not? That is precisely how many American citizens and institutions treated them.

Martin Cody of Cellar Angels interviews Same Sex Meritage Co-Founders, Matt Gold and Josh Stein.
It was 2010, and even just three years ago, there were some substantial differences from today’s climate. They were prohibited from serving openly in the military. The painfully offensive F-word was constantly on people’s lips in casual conversation. To demonstrate disapproval of an object or behavior, people did not hesitate to call it “gay.” Same sex civil unions, domestic partnerships and marriages were legal in just a handful of states. Homophobia was seldom challenged. There was just so much bigotry and hatred towards a group of human beings because of an innate biological wiring. Yes, it was far more comfortable and safe to be homosexual, bisexual or transgender in 2010 compared to years before, but the discrimination was still there. The injustice motivated me to follow through with Same Sex Meritage. After all, I had seen Martin and Denise Cody leverage their passion for and knowledge of wine to benefit causes dear to them. I decided I would do the same.
I was living in Chicago at the time. I didn’t have a vineyard or a winery or a lot of money. I met with winemakers and wineries as potential partners in an effort to make Same Sex Meritage a reality. I failed. A lot. I eventually gave up and it was devastating to me.
Then, in September 2012, I was introduced to a very talented winemaker with a big heart, Josh Stein of Stein Family Wines, about a matter unrelated to Same Sex Meritage. The conversation arrived at a juncture where it made sense for me to bring up my failed pipe dream. I explained the concept and my vision for Same Sex Meritage to Josh and he loved the idea. Within ten minutes of meeting, we had decided to create this wine as 50/50 partners and we’ve accomplished a lot since that first conversation. We haven’t singlehandedly overturned DOMA, but we write checks every month to the amazing advocacy group Freedom to Marry. As the official partner of Same Sex Meritage and the other wines
we will be releasing in Summer 2013, Freedom To Marry receives $1 from every bottle we sell. It’s the only check we look forward to writing. With the support of progressive folks who want equal marriage rights for all, we hope the amount on those checks grows every single month.
Extending equal marriage rights to same sex couples accomplishes many things. It demonstrates that we as a nation can grow and learn from our mistakes. If done at the federal level, it will give deserving citizens the 1,138 benefits the federal government already grants married couples. It also bestows the fulfillment and unparalleled level of commitment that comes when two people who love each other more than anything in the world unite in marriage. By legalizing same sex marriage, we also demonstrate to LGBT youth that this is a place where they can be themselves and remain equal to everyone else. Hurtful statements will always accompany freedom of speech. They’re just ignorant words. However, institutional discrimination is entirely different. By way of action and enforcement, it says, “You are not one of us. You do not deserve what we have.” That is unacceptable. And it’s the reason my drunken play on words has become my weapon against this violation of civil rights.

  • Ronen

    Nice work Matt!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001135881369 Grannie Cool

    Right on !

  • http://twitter.com/squared_steve Steves Market & Deli

    Ordered three bottles. Can’t wait to enjoy them with our “Deep in the Heart of Texas” marriage equality friends! Morris Kight was right! http://morriskightwineclub.blogspot.com/

  • carrie

    Hello Steve,

    We are so glad you were able to take advantage of this phenomenal wine and help support marriage equality! Let us know what you think. Cheers, The CA Team

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