Personal Reflection on Court’s Historic Marriage Ruling
Today the Supreme Court ruled that all couples have the right to marriage in this country. I am thrilled and delighted to see marriage equality come to lesbian and gay couples all across the country. It was only 24 years ago when same-sex couples sued the state of Hawaii for the right to marry. By the timeline of historic civil rights battles, this seems to have moved with amazing speed.
This Wednesday, July 1, my husband and I will celebrate the seventh anniversary of our marriage. We were one of the 18,000 couples married during the brief window in 2008 between the California Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality and the passage of Proposition 8, when that window was slammed shut again.. We had already been together for 11 years when our marriage was recognized by the State of California. At the time I said that nothing had changed, yet everything is different. Recognition and equality are powerful forces. Knowing that our partnership is now equal to those of my sisters’ and my parents’ is a truly amazing sensation.
We should all celebrate the milestone that we attain today with the Supreme Court decision. Drink some champagne. Dance a lot. And then, we need to all go back to work. Seven years ago I said nothing had changed and yet everything was different. Now I want to reverse those statements: everything is different and nothing has changed. While same-sex couples now have the legal right to marry in all 50 states, in 29 of them, you can be fired the next day simply for being yourself.
If we really stand for the principles inscribed in our founding documents— life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness— we must redouble our efforts to insure full equality for everyone in the LGBT community wherever one lives. We have seen a concerted effort to pass so-called “religious freedom” bills that do nothing more than enshrine LGBT discrimination in state law.Importantly, we’ve also seen some success in defeating these bills, most notably in Indiana, but there is a whole industry devoted to denying the LGBT community equal rights, and they are not going away any time soon.
So, let us raise our glasses and toast our great victory for marriage equality, and then let us lock arms and work together to secure full equality for every lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender American.