Some of you may have heard the news….
Gay marriage happened. Well, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), in a close decision, found state laws banning gay marriage to be unconstitutional – which I believe whole-heartedly to be the correct decision, and I do know a few things about constitutional law.
The decision was announced Friday morning, June 26, 2015 and then, the internet exploded into tears and joy and rainbows, lots and lots of rainbows.
It is so ordered.
People are already sick and tired of seeing rainbows on social media but I can’t get enough of them. The people that are tired of rainbows aren’t the ones that have spent ridiculous amounts of time and energy trying to stand tall and find their place in society. This was not an easy road for ANYONE and the plaintiffs in all of the cases that led up to this point fought long and hard.
Two years ago, we celebrated another Supreme Court decision on DOMA. We celebrated like it was the end all and be all of the gay marriage fight. We went to NYC Pride for the first time ever. I mean, it really was a big deal and made this woman, Edie Windsor, one of my favorite heroes of all time.
And we met with Senator Blumenthal and Senator Murphy as they held a press conference applauding the decision (pardon the fuzzy picture, but it accurately depicts how humid it was in Hartford City Hall that day):
Back then, I wrote this post about what the End of DOMA meant to me. Two years ago, I said:
It’s not just our ability to file our taxes as “married” it’s really about the body politic, the judicial branch, the law of the land all saying “you are a true citizen, your family is a true family, and you are no lesser a person than anyone else.” My boys will grow up in an America where their federal government recognizes their moms as a legal married couple. To me, and Edie Windsor, this is the beginning. I know that there are still 36 states that ban gay marriage, but that will change.
Remember, Connecticut was one of the states that already had full marriage equality, so DOMA mattered very much to us. So, I can sit here in CT and say, “wahoo-de-frickin’-doo, what does this matter to me legally? We’re already covered!” but there is something greater than the right to file taxes as married or every single state and federal legal and health-related benefit out there, it’s about support and recognition. I want to say it’s about tolerance and acceptance, but I strongly dislike those words because it sounds like straight people are just “putting up with” gay people.
It’s about all of my friends and all gay people in every state across the country who have tried to patch together legal rights involving their spouses and families because their respective states provided not a single legal protection, even having significant anti-gay legislation on the books.
It’s about the total and complete excitement of so many straight people in addition to the total indifference of others. The population of straight people who changes their profile pics on FB and even attending pride rallies, in addition to the group of people who just shrugged and said “ok, big deal, it shouldn’t have been this drawn out thing anyway…let’s move on”…it just shows that the majority of people aren’t fixated on sexual orientation as defining a human being. The majority of people think it’s not a tragic, horrible thing that’s impacting anything relevant in their world.
I couldn’t care less about the conservative articles criticizing the rainbowing of profile pictures. I can honestly say that the RAINBOWNESS of Facebook for the past week has been AMAZING to me and made me just plain joyful.
As I celebrate the decision and thank the plaintiffs, I am not naïve or ignorant about the persistent animosity, disapproval, anger, frustration and hatred still out there in the world:
- We still have a long way to go in recognizing equal rights for ALL people, especially the transgender population. Legalization of gay marriage doesn’t automatically mean that gays have equal rights (although they should just by using the same legal argument as SCOTUS) – discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in jobs, housing or public accommodations is still totally legal in a large majority of states.
- Troll comments and articles about how gay marriage will lead to pologamy, beastiality, people marrying their cats or appliances, etc. (I don’t understand how marriage between 2 consenting adults creates this, but I’m tired of arguing about it)
- Comments about how the Supreme Court is making law and that this ruling is unconstitutional in and of itself. I, of course, strongly disagree. The Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of state marriage bans and found that such bans violate the Constitution. This is a judicial interpretation, not legislation.
- Violence and hate crimes are not going to disappear overnight. And, there are actually people out there that believe killing gay people is not only totally justifiable but should also be a law. And they have supporters. Seriously.
- Store owners are putting up “NO GAYS ALLOWED” signs which is apparently totally legal and may make them feel better about taking a stand, but also provides gays (who have money to spend) with notice to not support that store’s livelihood.
- There are people who believe that the Bible clearly and strictly forbids same-sex relationships and that God’s law should rule. I was raised Catholic and have most recently identified as Episcopalian but I’m not a theologian. I honestly have tried to read unbiased articles on this topic and I have no answer. However, I do really like this chart and am probably going to buy this book – recognizing that both were written with a purpose to disprove a particular stance. I can’t possible pretend to understand how an interpretation of a scripture is more important to a person than showing humanity for a fellow human being, but to each his own. I will not try to change someone’s beliefs so long as they don’t try to bring violence or hatred to my door.
The long and short of it is that I have a very special person that I believe is the love of my life. We’ve been together 15+ years and have gone through some major life changes while still holding together. We respect and care deeply for each other and have promised each other to work together through all of the things that life throws at us. My children have 2 loving parents who are in a stable, healthy relationship. We are raising them to be open-minded, open-hearted and to treat people with less judgment. They are being raised with morals that include respecting the law, working hard, embracing learning, and being a decent human being, trying to contribute positively to the world around them.
That’s really all I wanted – to be able to live my life with my family and do what I can for my friends, family and community. Radical, isn’t it?
Thank you to all of the lawyers, plaintiffs, advocates, allies, commentators, friends and everyday, normal gay people who are just living their lives who may slowly, unknowingly be changing some people’s minds on gay people just by being who they are.
Thank you for living true, speaking up and believing in change.