Yup, I’m happy today. The Supreme Court’s decision builds on our history of furthering marriage rights, and I hope, makes it a smidge easier for us to honor each other’s humanity. Next week I’ll start working on how today’s marriage equality decision affects the filing systems of my soon-to-be-married clients. But today I’m just happy that once again, my country and community fixed an imbalance.
As a history major in college, I was often frustrated by how long it took us right our wrongs. How could it not be obvious that claiming to own another human being was cruel and immoral? How could it not be obvious that all adults need the right to vote? Now with another 20 years of life experience since I received my ridiculously-oversized Latin diploma, I’ve seen us delay rights again and again. This seems to be our pattern — deny rights, argue about it for decades or centuries, then grudgingly fix it. Why do it this way? Why spend lifetimes arguing about who can marry, who can sit where on a bus, who can take shop class? It’s a waste of time and energy because in the end we always side with equality.
I’m happy today also because I had a horse in this race. Yes, I’m straight, and I’ve been married for over two decades. So I didn’t get the Big Win. But so many of the arguments against same sex partners were also digs against my husband and me. We were married in a civil ceremony in our garden. We never raised children. Every argument that boiled down to marriage as a religious institution for the bearing and rearing of children stung. And over the years, I began to notice that I had more in common with secular, child-free gay couples than I did with many straight couples. And some of my gay friends were parents. In short, my lived experience is more nuanced than any political platform.
Here’s my proposal. Next time someone takes our blinders off, let’s spare ourselves the thrashing and gnashing and just extend equal rights. With an apology. To my GLBT friends, I’m sorry for the years I didn’t notice the inequality. I fell into the age-old separate-but-equal trap. Thanks for pointing it out. And please invite me to your wedding.