Just yesterday, the great state of California got some exciting news: the anti-marriage equality bill known as Prop 8 was rightfully overturned after being declared “unconstitutional” by a federal appeals court in California. This discriminatory piece of legislature has been boycotted by many Americans since it’s inception in 2008. Whether you protested against it, signed online petitions, or listened to the musical that stemmed from it, many of us were a part of this decision. No longer will same-sex couples have to constantly fear that their rights will be revoked without a second thought, or that they won’t be recognized as a “legitimate” couple in the eyes of authority figures.
Joining California on the path for marriage equality is Washington state, where gay and lesbian couples will have the chance to walk down the aisle. The Governor of Washington state is totally prepared to sign the piece of legislation, after which, 90 days will have to pass before said couples can take to the churches and beaches in matching gowns and tuxes. Washington will become the seventh state to allow full marriage equality, following the footsteps of Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and the District of Columbia.
I remember when gays were first allowed to apply for marriage licenses in Massachusetts, which is my home state. As you may or may not know, Massachusetts was the first state in America to legalize same-sex marriage. Even though I was a mere ten years old, I remember the excitement that pulsated in the air around my community, and especially in my home. You see, I myself have two moms, who were legally wed in 2004, immediately after equality legislation was passed. I had the distinct pleasure of being at my mothers’ wedding, along with my sole younger sibling. We witnessed as our congregation embraced the love of my parents, and the family structure that they had created, even without their fundamental right to marriage. For me, that day symbolized a journey that was marked by many years of advocacy, hardships, and tribulations. It was heart-wrenching, because my parents had been together for close to fifteen years as a couple, and had to wait until somebody decided they were worthy of possessing their own rights.They no longer had to constantly worry about adoption rights, insurance issues, or even family acceptance. When my parents got their full rights as citizens of the United States of America, our entire lives calmed down into a much more peaceful place.
Many politicians nowadays will tell you that allowing gay and lesbian couples will be the end of all society as we know it, or the world will end sooner, or their children will suffer severe emotional damages as an effect. I’m here to tell you that all that of that is simply untrue. If gay and lesbians are granted their right to marry, then that’s all that happens. Yes, they might continue to raise the families they already have, or perhaps they’ll get the right to visit one another in an ER or ICU. They’ll no longer have to worry about the legal intricacies of being in a civil union as opposed to marriage.
Thankfully, there are some wonderful rumors going around now that say that Maine could have an answer on their own gay marriage debacle by the end of next week, and Minnesota might see some marriage-equality questions on the ballot in November. Of course, we as advocates still have a long way to go, but these little victories are nothing to sneeze at. They remind us that history is in the making, and we have an opportunity to be a part of something marvelous.