Reality has hit me, and I’m out of work mode this Saturday night. OH MY HELL, in my lifetime the highest court of the land has said that same-sex couples have a CONSTITUTIONAL right to marry.
But it’s more than that.
It’s the fact that a majority of Americans, and a majority of Utahns, believe that same-sex couples SHOULD have that right. It’s that a majority of Americans and a majority of UTAHNS believe that LGBT people should have protections in the workplace and in housing.
It’s that many of my friends from all ilks, including my brother and sister-in-law, have placed rainbow FB profile photos. It’s the fact that my mother placed a message on her wall celebrating the SCOTUS decision.
It’s the fact that the White House, Niagara Falls, Empire State Building and Cinderella’s Castle at Disney Land were awash in rainbow-colored lights last night. It’s the fact that the Salt Lake City Mayor was at a celebration last night. It’s that there are LGBT people as some of the most prominent characters in some of the most popular shows.
“Never in my lifetime,” I said. I was ready for the long haul and I and we — my many friends and cohorts — kept going.
I remember a time when we had to argue with gay bar patrons that “rocking the boat” was, indeed, necessary. I remember a time when we had to climb on tables and shut down a Utah Democratic convention to get our issues into the platform. I remember a time when we were told we were too loud and one-issue minded, while at the same time we were working on (and leading) police vs. racial minority issues and gender equality issues and disability/accessibility issues and campaigns for Latino and Black candidates. I remember a time when a campus newspaper wouldn’t print a lesbian valentine and the editors came to school in plaid golf pants when we jokingly asked for people to wear jeans to support gay and lesbian rights.
In all this, though, I remember that there were always allies from outside our community. Their numbers grew over the decades, and helped us — in a huge way — get to this day.
I attribute this to me, my friends and fellow activists, my ever-growing list of ally friends, my family, to Will and Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Orange is the New Black. To the editorial council of the Salt Lake Tribune and Ogden Standard-Examiner and Daily Utah Herald. To the political cartoonists and columnists. To the same-sex couples and leaders across this country who dared sue for this right. To the guy at the bar in a small town who shut down an anti-gay conversation. To the gay choirs and arts groups who showed a difference in this world. And to you, for taking the time to read this.
This is, indeed, a happy birthday. It is also a day to look back with pride on what has been accomplished. And to dust off and continue the work that still needs to be done.
I say this in the name of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and Harvey Milk and David Sharpton and José Sarria and Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks and Gilbert Baker and Cleve Jones and Troy Perry and Richard Alvin Ragnar McCall and in the name of every mother and father who supported them.