Under This Beautiful Dome

A Senator, A Journalist, and the Politics of Gay Love in America

Under This Beautiful Dome tells the true story of journalist Terry Mutchler’s secret five-year relationship with Penny Severns, an Illinois State Senator who mentored Barack Obama.

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$17.00 USD
October 2015
320 pages
5.5" x 8.25"
First Edition
Trade Paper

Print Edition

ISBN: 9781580056090

Ebook Edition

ISBN: 9781580055093

Under This Beautiful Dome

A Senator, A Journalist, and the Politics of Gay Love in America

By Terry Mutchler

$17.00 USD, Trade Paper, October 2015

“One of the greatest love stories I have ever heard played out right here, under this beautiful dome. But it was a secret. . . . Penny and Terry just wanted what so many people want—to express their love through marriage. I believe that today, their relationship would have played out much differently than it did twenty years ago. Because times have changed, and we all view things differently. But the law has not caught up with society.”
—Representative Ann Williams

Under This Beautiful Dome tells the true story of journalist Terry Mutchler’s secret five-year relationship with Penny Severns, an Illinois State Senator who mentored Barack Obama. Forced to engage in an elaborate ruse to keep their relationship a secret, the two women constantly fear discovery in their conservative town. Denied legal access to the altar, they face even greater hardships when Penny is diagnosed with cancer and begins undergoing treatment.

Set in the political arena, Under This Beautiful Dome reminds us why the march to legalize same-sex marriage is both personal and political. This vivid, beautiful story paints an intimate portrait of a loving relationship and the vast impact gay marriage legislation has on couples and families in America today. An essential look at how our laws affect our lives, Mutchler’s memoir is a must-read for those interested in politics, equality, and the changes sweeping the nation.


Resources

Discussion Questions for Under This Beautiful Dome developed by Katie Mock. These discussion questions are also available for download as a PDF.

About Terry Mutchler

Terry Mutchler, author of Under This Beautiful DomeTerry Mutchler is an attorney and former award-winning journalist who was appointed as Pennsylvania’s first Executive Director of the Office of Open Records, ensuring government transparency. A writer for The Associated Press, she covered politics in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alaska, and Illinois, where she was the first woman appointed AP Statehouse Correspondent. She won several Keystone Awards, Pennsylvania’s top honor for reporting, and was the AP’s state nominee for Young Writer of the Year.

Mutchler clerked for the Supreme Court of Illinois and for the Executive Office of the President during the Clinton Administration. She was a Chicago trial lawyer at a major national law firm before returning to public service as a speechwriter and senior advisor for the Illinois Attorney General. Governor Ed Rendell appointed Mutchler to her current six-year post.

Mutchler received her BA from Pennsylvania State University and her JD from John Marshall School of Law in Chicago. She was a Bohnett Fellow for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA.