As a teen, my imagination occasionally escaped to the perfect wedding reception: buckets of champagne on ice, a symphony sending ballroom music into the air and everyone to their feet in the small (but tasteful venue) and two men in tailed tuxedo jackets standing beside one another gazing into one another’s eyes ready to take the next steps towards the future.
Growing up in a family that didn’t lack dysfunction, I’d often imagine a nucleus family of my own with two present parents who expressed their love to one another and their children often and without shame. As often as I would imagine this, I never thought my future relationship would be perceived as anything other than illicit in my lifetime. And never did I consider I’d have the opportunity to marry the man I loved.
But I kept up with the news: read about Baehr v. Lewin in Hawaii, became confused and disappointed by Bill Clinton’s signing of the Defense of Marriage Act, sorted through pieces of the Baker v. State of Vermont and was envious when the Netherlands, Canada and France all began to recognize same-sex marriage.
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
Justice Anthony Kennedy
Same-sex marriage was never a barrier for love. Love exists without marriage. But what same-sex marriage is about for me and those who want to have a family of our own that somewhat resembles the one we grew up with is a chance to look at my friends, family, colleagues and everyone else and say, Come here, look, meet my partner whom I love and watch as we express that love, devotion, loyalty and commitment to one another.
This morning my mom calls me. I can hear the breaking news report from her end of the line. “Did you see? Did you see? The Supreme Court just legalized same-sex marriage.” There is joy in her voice for this and I’m proud of just how far she and I have come since I was that kid daydreaming of a time when I’d be able to pop open a bottle of champagne and toast with my forever partner.
There is a pause. Then she asks,” So when are you going to meet a nice man?”