Prop 8 is Gone: A Day in History. A Day to Remember.
When my kids were born. When we won marriage in California. When Sandy and I got married. Today.
These are moments I will remember with joy and elation for the rest of my life. Today, in a huge way, in an unprecedented way, our lives and our love were validated by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) rulings were sweeping affirmations of our right to equal dignity and respect, and everything as we have known it will change forever. This is a new day.
It has been a long road to this day. Nine years ago, I got the call that set all this in motion. Then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Chief of Staff was calling to tell me that the mayor was going to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It was February 6, 2004. We worked with the Mayor’s Office and City Attorney Dennis Herrera to action the mayor’s plan into action. That bold move led to our lawsuit seeking the right to marry in California. We won in May of 2008 and that win sparked Proposition 8 and the Ted Olson-David Boies federal challenge that was ruled on today.
In a few short weeks, same-sex couples in California will be free to marry the person they love. This nine-year journey was punctuated by ecstacy and heartbreak. But today we celebrate. Prop 8 is history. Prop 8, the 2008 ballot measure that threw me into my first full-on, months-long depression when it passed, is buried on the ash heap of all other laws passed through fear, ignorance, bigotry, and unvarnished hate. Good ‘effing riddance, you stigmatizing piece of crap.
And as if that is not enough, section 3 of DOMA is also historyheld by a majority of the Court to be offensive to constitutional principles of liberty and equality, ruled by the Court to be a reflection of bare animus targeted at same-sex couples.
After today, many married same-sex couples will finally enjoy something DOMA denied—federal recognition of their relationships and the security that it provides. With the striking down of DOMA, one of the final vestiges of government-sponsored and -supported discrimination against us is gone.
There will be reams of analysis on the ins and outs of what these rulings mean. I invite you to read a very cogent explanation, from NCLR Senior Staff Attorney Chris Stoll, as well as our fact sheets on Prop 8 and DOMA. What I am focusing on in this moment is less "the what" and more "the how." How it feels today. How it feels to know that the ground has shifted. How it feels to know that things will never be as they were. How it feels to be a part of history as we are living it.
There will still, of course, be many places where our relationships and families are not respected, and where it is not safe to be out. There will still be many places in this country where stigma, lack of dignity, hostility, and harassment are daily realities. But after today, those who are bigots, haters, ignorant, or cruel—their days of having power over us are numbered. We won today, and those who would deny our humanity are outnumbered by those who embrace us.
Today is a day to remember. It is a day to savor. It is a day to celebrate. Tomorrow, we must make sure that the promise of today becomes a reality for every gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person living in this nation. We all win together.
P.S. If you're one of the 18,000 same sex-couples married in California in 2008, celebrate your 5th wedding anniversary through our Facebook campaign. Check it out.