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Biography of Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage

Biography

Psychologist and Life Coach

Davina Kotulski received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in 1996. She completed her coach training at the Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael, CA in 2008.

Davina presently has a private therapy and a life coaching practice and is a sought after public speaker and consultant.

She worked for over thirteen years as a psychologist in prison settings, first with male inmates for the California Department of Corrections and then with female inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in California. The focus of her work was helping inmates recover from addiction and trauma, build self-esteem and pro-social values, and find their positive passion for life. She has presented at the Association of Women in Psychology Annual Conference and the American Society of Corrections Conference.

Dr. Kotulski consults with universities, residential treatment centers with high risk adolescents, rape trauma centers, and the Anthony Robbins Foundation Prison Summit. Davina was an adjunct professor of psychology and counseling at Holy Names Names University, John F. Kennedy University, the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University and New College of San Francisco.

Author

Davina Kotulski is the author of two non-fiction books on marriage equality-- Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail (Create Space, 2009) and Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage (Advocate Books, 2004) a quick-witted common sense handbook addressing the absurdities embedded in arguments against marriage equality, as well as in separate-but-equal “marriage lite” options such as domestic partnerships.

Additional Publications

Davina has also published a personal essay entitled "Diary of a Love Warrior" in the anthology "Here Comes the Brides" (Seal Press, 2012), a short story entitled "They Call Me Phoenix" (Sand Hill Review, July 2010), and a prose piece in "Queers on Marriage" (Suspect Thoughts Press, 2004).

Davina has written for the Bay Area Reporter, Bond Magazine, Outword Magazine, and has published several non-fiction articles published in academic psychology journals. She received an Honorable Mention for a short fiction piece in the Dylan Days Writing Contest.

She is currently working on two mainstream fiction novels.

Activist and Nationally Recognized Leader

Davina Kotulski is an activist for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equal Rights and a nationally recognized leader, speaker and writer within the marriage equality movement dating back to her efforts to pass a pro-marriage equality initiative with Californians for Same Sex Marriage (CASSM) in 1999 and in her work to defeat Prop 22, the Knight Initiative.

In 2001, she joined Marriage Equality USA and helped run the Marriage Equality USA California chapter and launched a pro-active effort to raise awareness for the need for equal relationship recognition for LGBT people and win marriage equality in the state of California. Davina also served on the California Freedom to Marry's Outreach Committee and was the Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA.

Beginning in February 2001, Kotulski and her “unlawfully wedded” wife, Molly McKay, began going to City Halls in the Bay Area asking for marriage licenses and organizing annual “Marriage License Counter” protests to draw attention to the hundreds of rights same-sex couples contend they are denied. They also began organizing annual [Tax Day] Protests on April 15 to point out the inequities same-sex couples face with regard to taxation and representation.

After three years of asking for a marriage license at Country Clerk's Offices throughout the Bay Area, Davina and Molly were married on 2-12-04 by Senator Mark Leno. Kotulski and McKay, were the 17th couple married in San Francisco.

On August 11, 2004 the California State Supreme Court invalidated their marriage, along with 4,000 other couples. Kotulski responded by organizing the "Marriage Equality Express," an educational bus tour across the United States that culminated in the first national marriage equality rally in Washington, DC on October 11, 2004.

Kotulski and 43 activists traveled across the country in a bus, known as the Marriage Equality Caravan, stopping in 13 states and hosting marriage equality forums and panels at universities and churches. On October 11, 2004, under Kotulski’s leadership, the first National Marriage Equality Rally was held in Washington, DC and covered on CSPAN.

The rally featured Hawaii Marriage case Plaintiff, Genora Dancel; Beth Robinson, Attorney in the Vermont Freedom to Marry case; Reverend Jimmy Creech, a Methodist Minister who was defrocked for marrying same-sex couples; Dr. Sylvia Rhue, National Black Justice Coalition; Robin Tyler, organizer for gay rights marches in Washington, DC and founder of StopDrLaura.com; Musicians Tuck and Patti, and politicians Mark Leno and Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Time and Parade magazines included the rally when citing the importance of marriage equality activism as one of the top 10 issues of 2004.

In November 2004, she became the Deputy Director of Marriage Equality USA and co-organized a LIFT THE BAN rally in Oakland, CA with Service Members Legal Defense Network, Equality California, and Bay Area American Two Spirits.

In June 2005 she became the Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA.

On March 11, 2006, Kotulski was a featured speaker at the Marriage Equality NOW rally in Seattle. In May 2006, Kotulski was a guest panelist at Equality Forum in Philadelphia and she debated anti-gay marriage leader Maggie Gallagher at Brown University as part of the Masha Dexter Lecture Series in September of that year.

In 2007, she stepped down from her position as Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA to focus on her psychology practice and writing and is now a member of Marriage Equality USA's advisory board.

In 2008, Kotulski met with the Deputy Mayor of Venice Italy, professors from Padua University, and representatives from the Venezia LGBT Community to discuss marriage equality strategies in Italy.

In the fall of 2008, after the California State Supreme Court struck down the ban on gay marriage, and she legally married Molly McKay.

Kotulski and McKay were active in the fight against Proposition 8 and both were featured speakers at a Post Prop 8 rally at the California Capital on November 8th. Their marriage was upheld by the California State Supreme Court in May 2009. They were awarded Community Grand Marshals in the 2009 San Francisco Pride Parade and continued to fight for marriage equality and LGBT rights world wide.

After fifteen years together, in June 2011, like many same-sex couples who devoted their lives to equality and like many heterosexual couples, Davina and Molly exercised their right to divorce one of the important rights that comes with the right to marry.

Media

Davina Kotulski and Molly McKay appeared together on CNN, Newsweek, Time and USA Today. They are featured in three documentaries: Freedom to Marry (shown in 7 countries and featured on PBS), Pursuit of Equality, and I Will, I Do, We Did following the San Francisco marriages that took place in 2004, as well as several television shows including American Quest, documenting the National “Marriage Equality Express”, and a Queer Nation TV special in New Zealand.

Awards

"Defenders of Love" Award from the East Bay Pride Committee (2003), "Saints Alive" Award from the San Francisco Metropolitan Community Church (2004), Michael Switzer Leadership Award (2006). Kotulski was “sainted” by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for her advocacy on behalf of full marriage equality for all couples.

Guest Speaker at the following Universities and Public Libraries

Masha Dexter Lecture Series, Brown University, Providence Rhode Island; California State Home Schooling Conference; Holy Names University; Oakland Public Library; Seattle Public Library; Solano Community College; St. Mary's College; University of California, Berkeley; University of Indiana, South Bend; University of Oregon, Eugene; University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh; and University of Wyoming, Laramie.

Readings and Talks at Bookstores: Avid Reader (Davis and Sacramento, CA), Barnes and Noble (Eugene), Books Inc.(San Francisco), Borders Books (Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Raleigh, NC; Durham, NC; Chapel Hill, NC, San Mateo, CA), Changemakers (Oakland, CA), Cody's Bookstore (Berkeley, CA), (San Francisco, CA), Crossroads Market Bookstore (Dallas, TX), Different Light Bookstores (San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA), Leaves of Grass Bookstore (Willits, CA), Malaprop's Bookstore (Ashville, NC), Now Voyager Books (Provincetown, MA), Obeslisk Books (San Diego, CA), Outwrite Bookstore (Atlanta, GA), Powell's Bookstore (Portland, OR), Pride and Joy Bookstore (Northampton, MA), River Reader (Guerneville, CA), and many more.