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When I first heard the news, I cried, cuz well, I’m a crier. But they were tears of joy, relief, and awe. I was fixing a big family breakfast for a house full of loved ones and nearly burned the meal because I couldn’t keep my eyes off the T.V. I had the news on for hours (which if you know me, you’d know I never watch the news….for lots of reasons) and thought my face might split in two from sheer happiness.
I knew someday love would win and shine from state to state and I had hoped it would happen during the early years of my daughter’s childhood. It makes my heart swell knowing she will live in a place that celebrates love as love should be celebrated. After her goodnight story that evening, we snuggled and talked about the importance of the new law and how it is a day we will never forget. Rainbow cupcakes and icy cold beverages were shared. For days I felt so…full.
And though I know challenges and difficulties will still be present, they appear smaller and easier to surpass. This is the beginning of a brand new chapter in our country and I am eager for what’s to come.
When I was younger, let’s say 13, my dad came into my bedroom when my best friend and I were watching some telenovela. When he found us, she had her head on my shoulder and we were holding hands. I’ve always been a very affectionate person, but that day, my dad’s reaction made me think that there was something horribly wrong with me. After my friend left, I got a looooong lecture on how showing that kind of affection for another girl was wrong, and shouldn’t be. How it would bring me trouble in practicaclly every area of my life. I was SO confused, because this was my friend, my best friend. There wasn’t anything remotely romantic in what we were doing, but I felt that showing her that I loved her was wrong. So I stopped showing it, and I guess she felt it because things weren’t the same between us afterwards.
No one should have to hide. No one should be asked to change who they are because some people are too thick to understand love as a gift. I was at work last friday when the news broke down. In the middle of a meeting I managed to sneak a tweet or two. I could see how happy my friends were, and the feelings were all over the place. At the beginning of June same sex marriage became a right in Mexico, as well. When all of my friends in the US were tweeting about love is love and love wins, I knew exactly what they were feeling. It was that hope that tells you that in the middle of a lot of wrongs, things still can go right. So right that you just can’t help but break a huge grin. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to catch up, and I hope it happens soon. So, to quote John Lennon “It matters not who you love, when you love, why you love, or how you love. It matters only that you love”.
I was sitting at my desk at work while reading the ruling online. I immediately burst into tears as did my coworker sitting next to me. I just…couldn’t. stop. crying. I’m not sure why I was so emotional. I guess if we were talking specifics, marriage equality doesn’t apply to me…I had all rights available to me before the ruling. But just the concept of JUSTICE and EQUALITY and what that stands for both as an American and as Human…it was overwhelming.
As an HR professional, I also am tired of ever having to say ‘no’…to benefits and coverage of any kind. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened often throughout my career, but it has happened. So, I’m hopeful that this ruling changes that landscape.
I was able to take the afternoon off and went to the historic Stonewall Inn (in NY, which is now a bar!). The crowds that gathered to celebrate were on a HIGH! Hugs and tears and dancing and rejoicing. It was something I will never forget.
And lastly, I was SO VERY MOVED by this specific paragraph written in the ruling:
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.
It is so ordered.
I was at work and the network chose that moment to be down so I went in search of other people to see if it was just me. I ran into a coworker who was smiling just as much as me. She’d just got off the phone with her wife. She was excited because they could now go to her wife’s family home and state, and still be recognized as married. The joy I felt in that moment for her! I’m incapable of explaining it. I stood in her office for about 45 minutes talking about the news, me learning more about her than ever before. This wonderful woman I’ve know for almost 20 years, sharing more of her life with me. It was a precious moment. One I’ll never forget.
The rest of my morning was spent finally getting on the computer, reading all the news, watching the videos, chatting with my friends, and happy crying all through it. At some point I remember actually working, only to be excited for our County Executive raising the Pride Flag outside the building later that day. With friends and coworkers, standing there, proud of my City, my County, and excited for what this decision means.
The road is still long. Living in a country founded in the belief that everyone is created equal, and not everyone actually believing it, is very hard. Equity and Social Justice. The ultimate fight for that. A fight for something we should not even have to fight for. It’s hard but I hope we’ll get there one day. Marriage equality is another step in that direction. Let’s hope and work hard for more.
For me it was a great mix of shocked/happy (“Oh my god, they did it! They did the right thing!”) and also nervousness as we see how these changes will roll out and the different steps people will take to still try to prevent marriages from happening. (We’re starting to see that already.) The great thing about the court ruling is that we now have a new precedent to lean on and point to. A friend of mine just had a little baby girl, and I was thinking after the ruling, that when that little girl is all grown up, this whole issue will feel like “the past,” something inconceivable and strange and “why would they do that?” When I think about her, I think about the history that just happened, and my friends who announced that Friday, “Now we’re even more married!” I feel like we’re a step closer to that accepting future.
I must say that as a European, it is sometimes hard to wrap my mind around the fact that something can be legal in a state and illegal in another one. So, it is something huge to know that now, every couple anywhere in the United States will be able to get married without worrying about a change of place (for work for instance) or will not curse anymore the fact that they were born in the wrong state, or will not have to leave a place that they love to be able to get married, or…Well, you get the drift. In other words, it made me happy!