When marriage equality came to Massachusetts in 2004, PW and I celebrated the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision with glasses of wine. We sat together in our living room and cried tears of disbelief, relief, amazement, incredulity, and joy while I read excerpts of that remarkable ruling.
But we never thought it would apply to us. We had already exchanged rings and made promises at that point. We thought marriage equality was great for other people, but we didn’t see why we would need it.
Then, separately, each one of our daughters asked us, “When are we going to have OUR wedding?”
Our wedding? Our wedding!
You might think that since we’re celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary in a matter of days, we wouldn’t be as carried away by today’s United States Supreme Court victory for marriage equality. If you thought that, you underestimate the immense power of being granted explicit equality under the law, and the ripple effect that has on our children and extended families and friends.
As recently as last April, when PW and I flew back from London together at the beginning of her sabbatical, the customs form we had to fill out upon re-entry to the US reminded us of our separate and unequal status. The form allows families travelling together to fill out only one form. However, because the US government didn’t then recognize our marriage as legitimate, we were not, legally, a family. So we filled out separate forms and marked ourselves as travelling alone. It was a jarring re-entry, like how I imagined it would feel to be an astronaut splashing down into the ocean after floating around in space for a few weeks.
Today’s ruling removes the toxic sting of our marginalized status. There is still plenty of work to do on behalf of countless people who remain on the margins, who are struggling for equality under the law (as evidenced by yesterday’s Voting Rights Act ruling). But today–today deserves many Alleluias.