Friday morning, Peeper and I were playing on the floor when Eric walked in. Barely taking his eyes off his phone, he asked, “Did you hear?”
The news he was talking about—the Supreme Court’s decision that overturns states’ bans on same-sex marriage—the “justice that arrives like a thunderbolt”—bowled me over. I of course began to cry because I’m a giant ball of emotions these days. I immediately thought of our same-sex friends whose marriages were now recognized by the federal government, the people in states like Ohio and Kentucky can now enjoy the legal benefits and social recognition of marriage, and the plaintiffs who fought for harrowing years in Obergefell v. Hodges case so that gay and lesbian couples nationwide could marry, too.
Peeper, being the empathetic little bug she is, gave me a hug. “Mama feels better now,” she said.
Indeed, Mama felt wonderful.
My Facebook feed erupted in rainbows almost immediately. Support and the hashtag #lovewins took over the site. My “like” button got quite the workout.
As the day went on, I thought more and more about how the historic ruling would change the world my daughters grow up in.
About how, one day, they will look back on this ruling and wonder what took us so long.
Yet I also recognize that we have so far yet to come. In many states, non-hetero people continue to face institutionalized discrimination. Some folks are not protected in the workplace; some face extra hurdles when trying to adopt; too many face bullying, harassment and abuse because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Still, we have much to celebrate.
I don’t agree with all of Justice Kennedy’s opinion (that, for example, being excluded from marriage “condemn(s them) to live in loneliness;” plenty of people find fulfillment and love outside of marriage, and I bristle at the implication that marriage is necessary to happiness and wholeness). But removing another barrier to equal rights makes me even more proud of our country and the countless people who fight every day to make it better.
No matter where you fall on the idea of marriage—that it “embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family” or is merely an official stamp that affords couples legal rights—that union should not be denied to couples who want it.
Justice Kennedy summed up the foundation of the plaintiffs’ case and the bottom line in his opinion like this:
“They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
Dignity. That word underlies all the cheering and rainbows and overjoyed hugs.
So I am not celebrating only the affirmed right to marry, regardless of whom you love. I’m also celebrating the courage, determination, strength and unwavering love of all the activists, pioneers and regular people who got us here.
Thank you for helping show the nation that love wins.