Marriage Equality: A Long Road

This morning I awoke to a text message from my sister reading: It’s all happening…

As I pulled up CNN on my phone, tears began streaming down my face. The Supreme Court of the United States has deemed key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in a 5-4 vote. From the time I could understand what love and marriage were, I couldn’t understand why some people were allowed to participate and some weren’t. This comes in large part from growing up in the family I did; there was never a distinction made between the straight couples and the gay couples in mine and my parents’ lives. There was never even a label put on anyone because my mother, being the free-spirited soul that she was, frankly did not care for labels. Even as a child, I knew this was an injustice and I dreamed of the day it would be righted.

Two weeks after my 18th birthday, my mother informed me that this mid-term election, the first I’d be eligible to vote in, would include a ban on “non-traditional” forms of marriage in the State of Texas. We volunteered for an organization called No Nonsense in November, which worked tirelessly to prevent the law from passing. It was a lesson in community activism. It was also a lesson in disappointment; the bill passed overwhelmingly in every county except for Travis (where my hometown of Austin lies).

Impassioned by rage and informed by facts, the FACT was that this was discrimination; no other way to put it, I wrote my college essay on this topic and was accepted into Northeastern University in Boston, MA. At the time, Massachusetts was the only state in the union that recognized marriage equality. While I was in school, I attended the Pride Parade where I saw Gov. Deval Patrick marching with his daughter. This was something I never could have imagined growing up. We were moving forward.

This was also the time I met the love of my life, but without equality for everyone, I knew I couldn’t participate in marriage as it was defined in the US. Luckily for me, most college-aged men are terrified of marriage so this was not a problem. After graduation, we moved to NYC, where one year later marriage equality was approved in the State of New York. It being the 6th state to do so, I told my person that we only had 44 more states to go and I would get down on my knees and ask him to be my husband. He laughed and assured me he would say no.

We’re in love.

Today I am writing this from West Hollywood, CA where residents can celebrate the return of marriage equality and I couldn’t be prouder to celebrate with them. I have love in my heart and goosebumps on my arms. We didn’t get everything we wanted today, but the train has left the station. My advice to those still holding onto what they deem “traditional” marriage: get on board or get the hell out of the way.


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