Another victory in our fight for equal rights

I remember marching from my campus at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. across the state line to the courthouse in Fargo, ND to protest a state amendment that would define marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman. I didn't even know yet that I was bi, but I remember the thrill of the march, raising my voice with the crowd to chant for equal rights in marriage. I felt like I was a part of something and that we were right. And then I remember the anger and helplessness as I solemnly stayed up with my fellow Campus Democrats on election night as 73 percent of the state voted to approve the amendment. The president of our Campus Democrats club was a lesbian and a triplet, and she told us that her entire North Dakota family -- including her other two triplet siblings -- called her the next day to brag that the amendment passed... and that therefore their sister would not be able to marry in their home state.

I remember how crushed I felt when one of the first elections after I moved to Florida included Amendment 2 in 2008, which did the exact same thing. My one vote of "no" could not counteract the 62 percent of voters who helped pass this measure.

On the other hand, I was so proud that Massachusetts, the state of my birth, became the first state in the country to legalize gay marriage in 2004.  My pride-by-proxy swelled again this year, when New Hampshire, the state I spent my childhood in and where my dad's side of the family still resides, became the fifth state to allow same-sex marriages. If I can't currently live in a state that believes in equal rights in marriage, at least I can be proud of these states that I have once called home.

I believe I may see the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide in my lifetime. But we don't have to wait for the courts to take action. We can start by signing the petition to repeal the wrongly named federal "Defense of Marriage Act" and write to our politicians. We can win this fight and help make the United States a little more free.

Allow me to add one more voice cheering California for overturning Proposition 8. While those who defend Prop 8 vow to keep battling, possibly even taking it as far as the US Supreme Court, this is certainly a celebratory day for the LGBT community and gives us more weight for our argument  on marriage equality.

Despite the victory, it was not immediately determined whether same-sex marriages would be able to resume until after the appeal. The Huffington Post reported that Judge Walker wanted to have a written argument from both sides before he decided, and if appealed, it would first go to the 9th Circuit and then to the US Supreme Court if the justices agreed to take the case.

Appeals can be nerve-wracking, especially when the standing ruling is already for our side, but if it does go all the way to the Supreme Court, it could be in our favor as a nation. If the high justices rule that it is unconstitutional to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, that could potentially be the gay equivalent of Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 US Supreme Court case that made it unconstitutional to restrict marriages based on race.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.