The court decision legalizing gay marriage is an amazing moment in history. Whatever other problems 21st century life has, I feel privileged to be alive at now. The highest court in the land has affirmed the right of any two consenting adults to marry. I’m elated and I’m slightly amazed; I still remember, when I was a preteen, other kids at day camp telling me how a man with an earring in his right ear must be a gay pervert. When my daughter B is old enough to go to school, what will the other kids tell her? I find myself viewing the SCOTUS decision through the lens of being a parent, with social acceptance in soft focus behind it.
Living on the relatively liberal right coast of the US, it can be easy for an ally to forget that social progress, as always, takes a lot of time. I know other bloggers who have lost audience share over the issue, and one fellow whose parents won’t even acknowledge the decision at all, let along celebrate it. I haven’t had time yet to talk to the couples I know who are directly affected by this.
The supreme court, any supreme court, can only make decisions based on what laws are on the books. Remember that SCOTUS also affirmed the right of corporate personhood, and there’s a lot of talk about trying to some way, somehow counter that decision with new laws. Supreme count decisions can be countered. The battle isn’t over. The people who are against gay marriage may be bigoted but they’re real people who will take action against this decision.
But even though bigotry and hatred are very much alive, this is a time to celebrate. When B is older, I’ll tell her about this day, although I think her relationship with gay marriage will be similar to mine with the moon landing: I can’t remember a world without it, even though I was half a year old when it happened. B will never know a world without the legal right for a gay couple to marry, but she will know a world with prejudice and hatred.
I want her to know that the world can be a scary place, but that good things do happen. And this day was one of those good things.