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Ronald Madson
(1946 - living) U.S.A.

Ronald Madson

Retired art teacher

Richard Dietz
(1947 - living) U.S.A.

Richard Dietz

Store manager

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Ronald Madson, elementary school teacher at Public School 20, Brooklyn; in 1987, he came out publicly when he and his partner since 1970, Richard Dietz, joined a suit agaist the New York City Board of Education for domestic partner benefits, which they won after a 6-year battle.

Ron Madson and his husband Richard Dietz of Brooklyn Heights were plaintiffs in the teachers' suit.

Madson recalled that when the Stonewall Riots occurred, he was working in the Village for his lesbian aunt.

"Fast forward to now and here we are with federal recognition," he wrote in an email. "I look back at those 44 years. It seems unbelievable and yet real. I always say we stand on the shoulders of giants. Every voice raised for justice, every jailed loiterer, every person who lost a job or family, every suicide, every friend who suffered and died of AIDS, Harvey Milk, the death of Matthew Shepard, etc. created this accomplishment. Anita Bryant and Proposition 8 created this. The determination of the LGBT community comes out of the realization that we are in a genocidal struggle. We were not given anything. We struggled, fought, pledged our fortunes, and died for this right."

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Madson & Dietz
Dietz (left) and Madson in their Brooklyn Heights loft, 2008

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It was their friend Gene's death from AIDS that propelled Madson and Dietz to enter the suit for domestic partnership. "You know, we always considered it second class, but it was a step in the right direction," Madson said. He noted their benefits have been taxed for almost 20 years, even after their 2008 marriage.

Dietz said the June breakthrough made him recall the bad old days "when we had to hide," writing,

"I never in my life expected to be married - and it does make a difference in the way you relate to each other and to the world around you. Now we tell car rental clerks that we are married and check the married box on forms without fear or embarrassment. It seems like it has happened rapidly, but it's been decades in the making... We are fortunate to live in this great country, unlike other primitive places where we are imprisoned or burned to death for who we are. Those are the real heroes whose very lives are at stake every day. Hooray for the USA."
Former leader of the Lesbian and Gay Teachers Association, Ron Madson is a retired New York City art teacher who lives in Brooklyn Heights.

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Source: http://nymag.com/ - https://gaycitynews.nyc/

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