Steinem weds entrepreneur in Oklahoma ceremony

Tuesday, September 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILWELL, Okla.-Gloria Steinem has a choice to make at age 66: Ms. or Mrs.

The feminist author who co-founded Ms. magazine and led women to become the men they wanted to marry was married Sunday to South African-born entrepreneur David Bale, 61, in rural Oklahoma.

"Though I've worked many years to make marriage more equal, I never expected to take advantage of it myself," Steinem said in a release issued by Voters for Choice, a political action committee she helped create.

"I'm happy, surprised and one day will write about it, but for now, I hope this proves what feminists have always said _ that feminism is about the ability to choose what's right at each time of our lives."

The small ceremony attended by close family and friends took place in the Adair County home of Wilma Mankiller, former chief of the Cherokee Nation and Steinem's friend, said Nicole Vandenberg, a Voters for Choice board member.

It was conducted at sunrise by an Oklahoma judge and Charlie Soap, a Cherokee spiritual person and Mankiller's husband.

But don't look for any name changes soon. During the ceremony, the word "partners" was substituted for "husband and wife."

Steinem and Bale met in October 1999 at a Voters for Choice benefit in Los Angeles, Vandenberg said. Bale is a longtime supporter of the group.

An anti-aparthied activist at an early age, Bale has lived mostly in England, the release said. There, he worked as a pilot and among other projects helped import the first skateboards to the country. Bale moved to Los Angeles in 1990.

Steinem, who grew up in Toledo, Ohio, authored books including "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions" and "Revolution from Within."

The couple plans to divide their time between New York, where Steinem is a consulting editor to Ms. magazine, and Bales' work and home in Los Angeles, the release said.