Pride and the Right to Marry



This is my little sister.  I blogged about her last month when I went to Los Angeles for her college graduation.  I think my sister is absolutely one of the bravest people I know.  She’s also just a pretty darned awesome person and I’m lucky to have her as my sister.

When she was a senior in high school she called me one night in November.  I was living in LA at the time working on a master’s degree.  It was about ten o’clock at night and I was watching television with the bestie who was my roommate then and my boyfriend at the time.

She was so excited to tell me. . . that she was gay.  My response?  Yeah, I know.  Very anticlimactic and she still tells people about that when she talks about it.  She was so excited that I was the first person in the family she was telling and then I totally stole her thunder.

In all honesty, I think I’d always sensed, from the time she was in kindergarten, that she was gay.  But it was never a big deal in my book.  I used to kid that there was something in the water in my elementary or middle school because I seriously knew about ten people who came out to me in high school, including a somewhat middle school boyfriend, womp womp.

My second year of college I met a guy in my Shakespeare class.  He and I instantly developed an amazing camaraderie and I was somewhat interested in him.  It turns out he was married.  Also, in the middle of the quarter, he turned up to class with a black eye.  I was shocked and asked him what had happened.  He had come out to his wife (mother of his twin boys) the night before.  This dear friend of mine shared with me a little bit of his story.  He had sensed in high school that he was gay, but being from a small town in the Northwest and from a Christian family, when he told his father about it, his father told him to forget about it.  He then became involved with the woman he ended up marrying.

He was a few years older than I and a returning college student.  He eventually came out to his family, moved out of the small town and into Portland where he began seeing men seriously.  In so many ways he was happy and true to himself.

In 2004, in the midst of the Bush/Kerry election, Oregon was also voting on same sex marriage.  I was in a Family and Human Services program at University of Oregon and the people in my cohort were from a variety of walks of lives.  There were several in my close group of friends who were in same sex relationships.  It was a devastating blow to so many people I cared about when same-sex marriage was knocked off the tables in Oregon.

Over the last nearly decade I have watched as several different states have legalized gay marriage.  I have also watched as many states stood firmly against it.  The votes that took place yesterday in the Supreme Court: knocking down DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).

“Although Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy. He was supported by four more liberal colleagues: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. (link).

The second was the Supreme Court dismissing the appeal for Proposition 8 in California.  This basically says that “private parties do not have any “standing” to defend California’s voter-approved ballot measure banning gay and lesbian couples from state-sanctioned wedlock” (link)

I think my cousin’s Facebook status said it best: Sasha looked at me like I was crazy when I explained why I was watching tv this morning. “But Johnny and Collette’s mommies are already married and equal.” I started to explain and then stopped: her world won’t include gay marriage. It’ll just be marriage.

Sasha is three years old right now and I hope that she will see the day when everyone, including her amazing cousin Danit and all my wonderful friends who are in same sex relationships can marry legally just like myself and other heterosexual couples.

I am so excited about these huge accomplishments in the U.S. justice system and can’t wait to see where they go.