On the NBC news this morning, there was a report about how Target was going to begin selling chocolate covered Lay's potato chips. This was definitely a sign that today was going to be a good day. By the end of the day, it had gotten so. much. better.
As I left work this afternoon and sat in awful, awful traffic, I received a text from HRC that the Illinois Same-Sex Marriage bill had passed. I was overjoyed. I instantly became emotional. I called Carla and she was emotional as well. Sometimes, I find it hard to explain why these moments feel so monumental. And why they feel so emotional. It is hard to explain, to those who have never been denied rights that other people receive, why it matters so much. It is hard to explain, to those who have never been made to feel as if they are less than those around them, why today was such a big deal. It is hard to explain, to those who have never had people carry around signs that tell you and your family that you are going to hell, what it means to have the government of your own state finally recognize you and your family as equals. All of this is to say that I am kind of at a loss for words.
By the time I made it to Millie's daycare, I had finished crying and was in a state of simple and pure joy. I picked our little one up and I told her that today, her mommies got to be married in our own state. I hugged her and told her that things were going to be different and that they were going to keep getting better. As I carried her to the car, however, I couldn't help but think about all the states that have yet to feel the joy that I was feeling. I couldn't help but think of all the kids growing up in states that still send the message that they are not as good as everybody else or that their family is not as real as everybody else's. I couldn't help but think about how much farther we have to go. And that is what happens each time a new milestone in equality is reached. I celebrate the successes while still leaving room for the sadness that these successes are even needed in the first place. I leave room for the sadness that there is still so much fight left to fight. And I leave room to remember all of the people who still have to struggle to feel comfortable enough to simply be who they are. I try to leave room for all of that so that we don't become complacent.
So at the end of the day, I look back and recognize that today was a really good day. By the start of the next school year, I won't have more money taken out of my paycheck than other people. By the time we file our taxes, we can file jointly on both our state and our federal taxes. When I am asked to identify my title, I will no longer have to debate between Ms. and Mrs. And when I tell people that I am married, I won't ever again have to explain that while we are married according to the laws of Vermont, we are not married according to the laws of our own home state. These are all really good things. These matter. These make me feel more equal. These things give me hope that more good things are on the way. These things give me peace that goodness and fairness and justice really are going to win in the end. That, and the chocolate covered potato chips now on sale at Target, make this world a better place to live in.