Marriage Equality Has Come to the States, But it’s Not the End
Spiraling out of the sky through a haze of sun rays, a ball came to rest on a bed of clover in the outfield. So far from the area sculpted by the feet of trotting first graders and the distance range from where a tee-ball usually lands, voices from afar shouted: “Grab the ball! Throw the ball!”
Twirling in the glow of the sun with bands of clover—joined together at the stem—up either arm, a fair-haired child in the outfield barely noticed the thump a few feet away. The screams broke the trance as a stocky larger-than-life man-child scooped up the ball, threw it to second base, and shot a look of “What the?!” to the bracelet-ladened child.
And the scene I just set pretty much sums up my childhood.
Some 30 year later, I no longer find myself spinning in a field of clover while getting the “I’m going to kick your ass” stare down, but similar looks have appeared throughout the years depending on the situation.
Around age 18, when I finally mustered the courage to admit I am gay, I would get the look from friends, family, and an occasional stranger. When I moved in with a boyfriend at 20, I got the same look. When I said I was going to marry another man at 25, when marriage equality was only in Massachusetts, the look came again. When I’ve uttered the words, “My husband,” I’ve seen it displayed upon faces.
More and more, the looks are fading. Perhaps out of my own confidence and fearless persona that has evolved over time, or because the country is moving forward with understanding the lives of gay Americans. Maybe a little of both.
Ten years ago, only 33% of the country supported marriage equality. Today, 70% of people under the age of 35 support it. And now, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled states do not have the right to ban marriage between two people of the same sex. Yes, my friends, June 26, 2015, is a historic moment. Marriage equality is in all 50 states.
Moving our country toward marriage equality could not have been done without all of us who stepped out of the closet and shared our stories without fear. Our lives matter, our stories matter, and without both we cannot continue to build understanding across difference.
Even though marriage equality is now the law of the land, there is a little boy, somewhere in this great country, twirling in a field of clover getting shot the “What the?!” look, and a same-sex couple rushing to a courthouse only to get the “I’m going to kick your ass” glare as they request their marriage license.
We still have a long way to go. But someday, somewhere, that little boy will have the confidence to be unafraid, and the couple, longing to marry, won’t be on display as they request the piece of paper that will seal their lives together till death do they part.
Marriage equality is a step in the right direction, but we must continue to share our stories openly, proudly, to change hearts and minds.
Onward in history.