Friday, June 26, 2015

Marriage Equality is the Law of the Land

I started this day in tears, weeping for joy. Never did I ever imagine that in my lifetime, the law of the land would include me. 

I have written here many times about the need for marriage equality, but today, it is reality in the entire United States. 

The little girl who stood beside her best friend back in 1951 and realized, in complete horror, that she was a lesbian is no longer hiding her very being. I thought then, as another girl passed a love note to my friend, "That's stupid! You never let anyone know, and besides, she's already mine." Those thoughts, so loud and clear, scared me out of my wits -- I had been hiding this even from myself. I was so afraid -- it was against the law to be LGBT in those days and it could mean being put in a mental hospital and given shock treatments, or being jailed, besides being completely ostracized by friends and family. I simply could not be that person. I was barely 13 at the time. I had a genius IQ, but I didn't have an adult's ability to analyze this and deal with it rationally. The shame that enveloped me was crippling, but there as no one to talk to about it. I had to hide this monstrous truth, regardless of the cost. And the emotional cost was enormous.

Little by little, over the years, I came to accept myself. I began to understand how this denial had cost me so much, and one day I looked at myself in the mirror and said "I am a lesbian", and "I love you." I cried a lot, and then I came out to everyone. I was never in the closet again after that. But I had been on the closet a very long time. I was 61 years old. 

And now, at 76, I am a full citizen of this country, thanks to the SCOTUS ruling. You may have to be gay to fully feel the impact of that, but I believe compassionate people of all stripes can understand this pretty fully. The full faith and credit of the constitution has made me a whole person.

I have 12 grandchildren. Odds are strong that at least one of them is gay, though none has said so. That child will not have the barriers I faced when I realized this truth about myself. I am so happy for all the kids in this country who are just becoming aware that they are gay and are now able to stand tall in the understanding that the Constitution protects us all, speaks for us all, that we are not "less than" any more. You can fall in love, marry, and have a family just like your straight brothers and sisters, in every state in the US. Even Louisiana. Even Mississippi. Even Tennessee. 

Thank you, SCOTUS. As the president said this morning, "Today, our union has become a little more perfect." He said this was the "consequence of the countless small acts of courage of millions of people across decades who stood up, who came out, who talked to parents — parents who loved their children no matter what. Folks who were willing to endure bullying and taunts and stayed strong and came to believe in themselves and who they were, and slowly made an entire country realize that love is love."

Can I get an Amen? 

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