This morning as I walked to the yoga studio two young interns were walking hot on my heels lamenting how the boss had said the staff could go to watch history be made outside the Supreme Court, but one must be left behind to answer phones. And at that moment I jerked back my first tear of the day. Yep that's what so many gay americans have felt for decades - left behind. I hope those two young girls convinced the boss not to leave anyone in the office today so that those interns so full of hope, love and promise were there as the ruling was announced. The Supreme Court of the United States decided in Obergefell vs. Hodges and three related cases that the Constitution gaurantees a right to same-sex marriage. This is a victory for all Americans. This is a victory for all people who believe in love, in family, and in the institution of marriage.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 ruling, saying gay and lesbian couples have a fundamental right to marry. "It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage,” Justice Kennedy said of the couples challenging state bans on same-sex 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.”
My friend and fellow yoga teacher Katie first shared the news with me about the ruling as I finished teaching this morning. And for the second time today tears began to well deep inside. Tears of joy for this progress and yet tears of sadness that it has taken this long and that so many gay and straight people have lived and died with intollerance.
It has been just two years since I lost my dad to AIDS and two years prior to that he lost his partner Darrell to AIDS. I'm sorry they struggled. I'm sorry that they lived in a generation where following their true north was often surrounded by (self) hatred, ridicule, and wrong actions. I've ached so often knowing so much would have been different had my Dad never had to feel shame over who he was at his deepest core or who he chose to love. One can never turn back time, but I do hope my Dad and Darrell are celebrating together today.
We continue to see racism in our society at every step, but I am hopeful that today's ruling provides a place for more dialogue and more equality for all. We've come a long way, but we have further to go. As it stands today I rest with tears of joy that my daughter will grow up knowing only that all people have the right to marry.