What The Historic SCOTUS Victory Means To Me
As of this morning, my husband's home state of Nebraska, and my home state of Missouri, have to recognize us as married. We tied the knot in Iowa on September 7, 2014 (pictured above), but have existed in a legal purgatory of tax and benefit conflicts ever since. New York is our home -- and accepted our union from the moment we signed on the dotted lines -- but my husband's business interests in Nebraska, and my family finance interests in Missouri led the law to consider us strangers in our birthplaces. That patchwork of paranoia and inequality is no more, as of Friday, June 26, 2015, thanks to the Supreme Court.
It actually feels different, full equality. As a gay man, I've been burdened by a baseline feeling of "less than" since I was very young. Never underestimate the insidious power of being relegated to second-class citizenship. A tangible sense of unfairness has plagued my mind and my actions, in ways both overt and subdued. As a boy, it manifested itself in depression, intense anxiety and (a few times), even worse. As an adult, the life-sucking feeling of inequality reared its ugly head in simple acts that our straight peers and family members take for granted, like when Wes and I hold hands. It's hard to believe, but the pervasive (and obsessive) worry over fighting for recognition of the greatest gift in my life -- my husband -- has been evicted from my brain in one fell swoop. SCOTUS -- it's more powerful than XANAX! Think about how much of a relief this ruling will have on the psyches of young gays and lesbians, and future generations of the LGBT.
Wes and I sit here celebrating in rural Nebraska, where his mom and her partner of 25 years are having a wedding on Saturday. Though they too were forced to cross the state line and obtain a certificate in nearby Iowa, tomorrow's perfectly-timed nuptials will have legal meaning in their home state. They never thought they'd see this in their lifetimes, yet it has arrived. What could be a better wedding gift?
I no longer feel second class; my unyielding love for my husband is, actually, worthy of being recognized -- just like the love shared between my straight family and friends. The nation's highest court has ruled that I am a full-fledged American citizen in matters of love, that when I fly home to Missouri, the wedding ring on my finger is more than just a gold band. That's going to take a bit to sink in.
It is true that we still have a lot to accomplish for full equality of the American LGBT community, but for today, and this weekend, let's celebrate. What a glorious, historic day.