Today was a good, good day.
Today the Supreme Court of the United States overturned DOMA and allowed gay and lesbian couples in California to resume the marriages that had been stopped by Proposition 8. This was a big deal. A really big deal. Not only was DOMA overturned, but it was overturned BECAUSE the Supreme Court said that it denied United States citizens equal protection and was therefore unconstitutional. With this one decision, our federal government is no longer able to define marriage between one man and one woman. And now, those lucky gay and married couples who live in states where gay marriage is legal, will be treated EXACTLY the same as any other married couple. And no, that is not all of us, we don't all live in states where gay marriage is legal, at least not yet, but this is still a huge and monumental ruling. I truly believe that here in Illinois, this decision will give our state legislators the motivation that they need to pass the marriage equality bill in the Fall.
And I truly believe that these decisions today showed those who continue to hold on to bigotry and intolerance that they are quickly loosing ground and they will no longer be able to claim that our love somehow hurts their lives. These decisions today showed those who want to stop us from being a family like any other family that they are not going to win, we are not going away, and they are not going to be able to stop our children from believing that their families are every bit as good as any one else's. These decisions today showed gay kids who are feeling alone and scared that they are not, in fact, alone and that the majority of this country stands with them and beside them and will support them in being who they are. These decisions today showed all of us that there is hope and that thought we will continue to face setbacks, things ARE changing and things ARE getting better and there are so many good things to hold on. These were big decisions.
Carla and I were able to watch the coverage of the rulings together. We were watching Rachel Maddow speak and saw her get interrupted in order for the reporter (I can't even remember his name) to reveal what the ruling was in the DOMA case. And we heard him say the words, "DOMA has been overturned." And it took a minute to sink in. It seemed so improbable. It was all we could have hoped for, but it seemed so unreal. And as the truth set in, we both just started to cry. I was so so very thankful that we were able to hear those words together. It was so important that we were here at home, together as a family, hearing history being made. Oh and Millie? She slept right through it all.
I immediately went to Facebook to share my excitement with the virtual world. And within seconds, people responded. I could not believe how many posts quickly sprung up rejoicing in the Supreme Court's decision. These are people whose lives are not directly affected by these rulings and they were so so overjoyed. They now know that live in a more fair and more just country and their excitement over that fact, again, brought me to tears. Throughout the day, more and more posts popped up, all in support of the decisions made and all expressing beliefs that these decisions made our country a better place for everyone. Now, I am not naive enough to think that unsupportive posts were not written today in equal measure, I am just thankful that I am not friends with the people who write them. All I felt today was loved and supported and so so very happy.
And while the legal decisions made today are incredibly important and I am incredibly thankful for them, I am equally thankful for the day to day support that I get from the people in my life. I am thankful for my family who has never, for one small second, made me feel like I had to choose between their love and my ability to be out. I am thankful for my dear, dear friends who have loved me the same before I came out and after I came out. I am thankful for the school district that I work in for never once making me feel like I should not share who I am or who my family is with my students. I am thankful for my students' parents who have only ever cared that I loved there kids and never about who I loved outside of being a teacher. And I am thankful for my students who have never seen me as anything other than their fifth grade teacher and allowing me to share my life with them without any judgement or discomfort. This kind of support matters to me and to my family just as much, if not more, than the support that we received from our government today. Because legal standing and equal rights are important, but they will never be a substitute for unconditional love from the people in your life.
Tonight, I thought a lot about how I was ending this historic day. As one-half of a lesbian, married couple, as one of Millie's two moms, as an elementary school teacher who is out to her community, as a person living my full and honest truth, I ended my night just like many of you. I drove home from my parents' house, where I had spent the day with my family, I put Millie in her pajamas, I put her to sleep (well, I attempted to pull her to sleep while she had plans of staying up to celebrate) and then I came downstairs to watch t.v. with my wife and my dog. That was my night. And thanks to the events of today, that boring (and incredibly wonderful) life that is so much like everyone else's will truly be just like everyone else's.