Ask, and I May Tell!

Stacie defends and explains her comments about gay marriage. 


Is this show real enough for you yet? So far we've dealt with such taboo topics as race relations, class, the F.B.I., and healthcare reform/republican bashing. What are we missing on the "things that should not be discussed in public, and DEFINITELY not on national TV list"? This isn't Jerry Springer folks! It's SO much more real than that.

How Do YOU Define Marriage?

In case you missed the show recap, here's the Stacie and Jason Turner definition (without any context): 

Marriage: A sacred religious ritual uniting one man and one woman in holy matrimony. 

Like many, Jason and I share Christian-based values, nurtured from childhood and treasured by both of our families. I grew up and got married in the Catholic Church, before joining the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) denomination with Jason, who grew up in the AME church. Security in our personal beliefs gives us the strength to share them publically at the risk of rebuke; and allows us to love, honor and respect those who hold different beliefs, while maintaining our own. Statements like "I used to like you" and "Why go there?" now blare on Twitter and blog commentary. I don't believe in "Don't ask, Don't tell". You asked, so I'll tell.

Candor and honesty builds understanding and trust in any forum. That's why I so appreciate and respect Councilmember David Catania for hosting this discussion on civil marriage equality at City Hall. As a representative for ALL DC residents, he set a tone of openness and tolerance for everyone. The vibe he set compelled Jason and I to honestly share a deep personal conflict: reconciling our religious teachings with our support of basic human rights, and doing so on a nationally televised forum. It would've been so much easier/safer to just go with the flow on the spot . . . voicing only our belief in human equality and equal rights under the law for ALL, yet be silent on our religious beliefs about what marriage means to us personally. But that's not the lesson we are striving to teach our children -- which is for them

to be honest, tolerant, critical thinkers who are not afraid to share and learn. Most importantly, it wouldn't have been real. 

I check (challenge) MYSELF first.

We believe in everyone’s fundamental right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, as Lolly reminds us on the show. There is a big difference between knowing what you stand for. . . your heart-felt values, and your ability to have real empathy, respect, tolerance, and understanding, even for those whose values may be completely different than yours.  As we are all imperfect, this is naturally tough to do. Real talk -- I'm pretty good at the last part; but I'm still learning about, and hard-checking MYSELF: striving to be a better, stronger, and more enlightened person. I'm still alive, so I’m still a work in progress! 

Just like Lynda’s family (dare I say most families?) we have gay family members.  At age 15, 

Jason’s sister confided in me (before anyone else in the family) that she was a lesbian. She knew that we would not judge her; rather love and support her regardless of whatever. Once he knew, I remember Jason telling her that he didn't care who she chose as a partner, gay or straight, as long as they were a positive, loving force in her life. We stand on the same principles today for our own children.  And when/if she chooses to get married, Jason will be the same happy and proud big brother (and me the sister) regardless of whom she chooses. My sister in law knows, but doesn't care about our personal definition of marriage, because she feels our total support, respect, and acceptance of her individuality. Love doesn't require agreement; just acceptance. (I'm feeling very Lynda-y right now...that's why I dig her!). 


My usually open-minded, seemingly tolerant friend Paul disappointed me greatly in his post-discussion interview. With a suspicious and troubling tone, he seems to conclude that perhaps he "shouldn't be friends" with me if I don't share his personal values. Huh?? Perhaps he prefers the "Don't ask, don’t tell" model of the military. Now I'm sure Paul hates the discriminatory practice of this policy as much as I do; but ironically, his primetime example of “snap” judgment, and overall vibe of intolerance, enflames but does not educate; something the Councilmember warns us against. That vibe seeks to shut down differences, not understand them. Gay or straight, reactions like his are what some of the most conservative members of Congress and Pentagon brass use to stoke fear and stifle needed change. I believe the opposite: that we must bravely engage each other, openly discuss the hard issues, learn, and then accept and/or tolerate our differences. I pick my friends based on how they treat me, not how much they agree with me. 

It's ironic that while the Housewives are on TV discussing gay rights and equality with our local officials, this week in real time the Senate has just re-squashed efforts to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" legislation. Essentially, it seems that Congress and the military don't want there to be open, honest dialogue about the rights of ALL soldiers. Gay men and women

who put their lives on the line for their country should not have to defend themselves from their country based on fear and ignorance. Discrimination or lack of equality in ANY area of human rights, and certainly in public service, is just plain WRONG!! 

Cat Fight 

As if in surreal slow motion, I watch as the pot boils over with Cat and Erika. Drama at a kids ice cream social—OMG! Although the time and place was inappropriate, I understood where Erika was coming from. You too have witnessed the brash, impolite, sometimes mean comments that Cat has unleashed. And Erika called it on the carpet.  I was most surprised by Cat's reaction -- crumbling, crying and involving her kids. I expected the "tough girl with the quick tongue" to tell Erika to "kiss her a---" and keep it moving. I know Erika as a good friend -- and a very direct person with a kind spirit. She’d just had enough.  Most of us have had one of those moments when someone took you “there.”  

Lessons learned: 1) If you can dish it -- be prepared to take it and 2) tolerance (once again). While there is no excuse for bad behavior, seek FIRST to understand.  

Bottom line: LOVE yourself; have the COURAGE to show respect and tolerance for ALL.  On this, can we all agree?


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A Rewarding Experience

Despite her cringe-worthy moments, Mary's had a blast.



1. Words or signs having no intelligible meaning

2. Subject matter, behavior, or language that is foolish or absurd.

3. Extravagant foolishness or frivolity

4. Matter of little or no importance or usefulness

5. Insolent talk or behavior; impudence

One thing that no one can ever take from you is your word. I was raised with the motto say what you mean and mean what you say. The reunion was extremely difficult for me. All of the nonsensical behavior that we have been subject to this season from Boris and Natasha came to a head that long September day. It was difficult to watch myself become so exacerbated by the lies and false accusations, and to see myself visibly display the emotions I was experiencing: anger, hurt, and frustration. Even when confronted with solid proof these people still arrogantly sat there denying all. It was unreal. After a season of fabulous fun with my family and friends it made me sick to see it all end this way.

As parents, one of the primary values we teach our children is the importance of being honest. As I sat on the sofa during 10 tedious hours of filming, listening to lie after lie coming from a couple who are masterful storytellers, I wondered how we got to this point. I have never in my life been put in such a confrontational and frustrating situation nor watched two grown adults be so blatantly dishonest. My family, close friends, and my charity have all been negatively affected by these individuals. At the end of the day I know what I signed up for, and in the reality TV world the name of the game is drama. What I was experiencing was not drama. This was about two delusional individuals who still can not answer a "yes" or "no" question. Ultimately for me they stooped to the lowest of lows by falsely accusing our daughter of a serious crime that she had no involvement in whatsoever. I can easily say that I am relieved that we can all move on from spending precious time and energy talking about these people. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I'm ready to move on!

In some ways this reality TV experience was like being pregnant for the first time; many people offered sound advice but nothing can really prepare a person for such a surreal experience. As a family, we have had a blast on this roller coaster ride and have enjoyed watching snapshots of our "functionally dysfunctional" family relate to each other through the challenges of being a large family. The love of a family is the greatest blessing, and I am overwhelmingly blessed with a large loving family. I want to thank them all for taking this great risk and jumping on this ride with me.

The cross! I have had an overwhelming number of inquiries about how to find the cross that I wear regularly. I purchased my cross a number of years ago on a trip to the Carribbean. Unfortunately, the cross is no longer available, but I am working closely with the company that produced it and will be launching a new version soon! Additionally, I am excited to share that I am currently designing an entire cross collection. Look for more information coming soon on my future website!

If in the DC area on November 4th, please join me as Labels for Love hosts a spectacular event called the Modus Union Salon Party. This evening will feature the incredible works of 75 juried artists, live painting, musical performances, trapeze artists, vendors, nibbles from local restaurants, and of course cocktails! All artwork will be for sale and the proceeds will benefit Fran Drescher's organization, Cancer Schmancer (www.cancerschmancer). For more information, go to I hope to see you there!

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all that helped make this year incredibly enriching and rewarding. This entire experience has been a very humbling and rewarding one. I learned a tremendous amount about myself and witnessed many cringe-worthy moments to learn from ... and avoid! One of the best aspects of making the choice to do the show was the beautiful friendships that developed and strengthened over the last with Lynda, Cat, and Stacie and our incredible crew. We shared many laughs and had a ton of fun! Although a friendship with Michaele didn't develop, I wish her and each of my cast mates only the best for the future. Thank you all for the support and encouragement over the our first season! 

Peace and Blessings!




Follow me on twitter at @maryamons (coming soon!)



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