Pride and Joy

June 26, 2015, 6:30 am. I drift into wakefulness, my darling Wifey asleep beside me, the window air conditioner whirring in its valiant effort to keep our bedroom cool overnight. The cats are still curled up, too early even for their breakfast yowling.

Blurry-eyed I reach for my laptop and open the live blog from the Supreme Court. Wifey stirs, fumbles for her iPhone. People are logging on from all over the world. “Greetings from the Netherlands, first country to legalize in 2001,” someone posts. All sorts of procedural questions are asked and answered while we wait for the ruling we’ve been working, hoping, praying for.

7:01 am. “Marriage,” the court blogger types. The ruling is in. “Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex.”

7:02 am. “And to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when a marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.”

This is it! We won! 

I hug Wifey, we kiss and laugh. Sheer joy. I hop out of bed, grab our rainbow flag, freshly ironed in expectation, and sing the Stars and Stripes Forever tune while I dance nude around the bedroom. Wifey takes a turn waving the PRIDE flag and does her own happy dance. 

I’d been optimistic but braced for disappointment — we’ve had so many in this long bending of history’s arc — toward justice.

The cats are yowling now. What do they care whether their humans have the right to marry in all 50 states — and territories? They want breakfast. While I feed the pussies, Wifey turns on the TV. Masses of people are celebrating, crying, laughing, dancing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Cut to our president speaking in front of the White House: 

Good morning. Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created equal … Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt. 

Yes, yes, like a thunderbolt! I’m weeping and laughing. 

 This morning, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love. 

Equal under the law. Us! This is REAL!

Wifey has to leave for work, so we hug again and smooch goodbye for now. 

I’d usually be heading out on my morning walk before work, but I’m too excited, too elated. I won’t take my usual meditative route today. I put on my walking shoes and sun hat and head out the door waving our rainbow flag. It’s only 8 am and already hot. As I’m crossing the street, a car horn toots. The driver grins and gives me the thumbs up. I’m a parade! As I march across town, I stop at Kate and Amy’s house to see if they’ve heard. They burst into happy laughing tears at the news. We share sweaty hugs and recall the day these two friends held the rainbow flag canopy for me and Wifey when we (and 10,000 other couples) were symbolically married during the March on Washington in 1993. This day has been a long time coming.

More tooting and waving as I continue my one-dyke parade. I’m so happy I just keep walking, stopping in to thank people who have helped bring us to this amazing day — the Rev. Dan Bryant at First Christian Church, Ted Taylor, my editor at Eugene Weekly. Neither are in, but receptionists snap my photo and agree to pass on my gratitude. People all along my parade route smile and wave. 

We’ve come so far. I’m thinking of all the marches, rallies, phone banks, canvassing, panels, speeches, songs, letters to the editor, meetings, pickets, petitions, lobbying, endless comings out and courageous conversations that have gone into making this day possible. All the family rejections, casting out, condemnation, humiliation, isolation, erasure and abuse LGBTQ people have suffered and endured and not always survived. And now our highest court has ruled and our president has spoken and some 63 percent of Americans support our freedom to marry.

No question there’s more to do. As our president said, it’s our responsibility to “keep reaching back to help others come along.” I know we can’t be complacent, but we can celebrate. We can take heart that our efforts are being rewarded, that our full humanity is recognized. Today love won.

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