Gay Couples Donating Together

When two gay couples chaired the annual Opera Boston gala last week, they were making a statement that's increasingly being made in the Boston arts community: We're here, we're queer, we're donating money to the arts, and we're doing it as a couple—openly. "When you look at the program books, it's Sally X and John Y," said Stephen M. Weiner, a member of the Opera Boston board alongside his partner, Donald G. Cornuet. "There's no reason it shouldn't be the two of us." David Blackman, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts' director of gifts, says that the 2003 decision that legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts has increased the number of gay couples willing, or even asking, to be listed as a couple. Liz Howard of the Center for Nonprofit Management at Northwestern University says the trend is hardly surprising given the widening pool of donors. While some gay couples still resist being listed as such, and sometimes avoid discussing their philanthropy at all, many feel a sense of pride: "It was very special to be recognized," says gala co-chairman Daniel Ludden, who hosted the event with his partner John Fiske III, "and to realize we had accomplished this together and come this far in life."