some time now, my spouse and I have been bickering over where we should
reside in our retiring years. She, being a child from the South, and
me, being from the North, well, we have our tensions. I have jokingly
dubbed them our “Mason-Dixon line feud.” We are not stretching our
imaginations much to feel some of the same concerns our enslaved
ancestors must have encountered as the considered the free states up
spouse is tied to the weather of the South - a moist, subtropical
climate with sultry summers. I, on the other hand, like the four
seasons of the North. I could live in autumn all year round.
particularly heated battles, our horns locked, I have questioned if her
desire to live in Georgia was worth living in a state which didn’t
recognize our marriage. Our marriage would be de facto dissolved.
ongoing exhaustive argument gained a new complication (in my mind at
least) with last week’s historic Supreme Court ruling, Obergefell v. Hodge, legalizing same-sex marriage in all fifty states.
The ruling was a great day similar, I surmise, to that day in June 1967 when the Supreme Court case of Loving vs Virginia declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who wrote all recent decisions protecting LGBTQ rights, including the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas - which struck down sodomy laws that targeted gay men - and the 2013 U.S. v. Windsor - which
would recognize and provide federal benefits to same-sex married couple
in states where their marriages were legal - was once again the swing
vote on this tough ruling. His argument was Loving vs. Virginia redux, showing how these two historic struggles for marry equality are interconnected.
course I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision. It would have been both
wrong-hearted and wrong-headed to rule otherwise.
But with victory comes backlash. This change in law will not come easy. A movement is already afoot with a 50-state plan to pass “Religion Freedom Restoration Acts” to roll back progress.
the country battles this issue on a new front, we should hold onto
Thomas Jefferson’s words about how change is required for progress:
am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But
laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the
human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new
discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions
change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance
also to keep pace with the times.”
Same-sex marriage is of our times. And it’s democracy at its best.
understand democracy to be an ongoing process where people are part of
a participatory government working to dismantle all existing
discriminatory laws truncating their full participation in society.
democracy can only begin to work when those relegated to the fringes of
society can begin to sample what those in society take for granted as
their inalienable right. The right to marry regardless of a couple’s
sexual orientation or gender identity is now one of them. How wonderful
to know that a same-sex couple in Mississippi has the same right to
marry as someone here in Massachusetts.
to the challenge in my home. My spouse is all smiles now with this new
ruling. She has been doing what I call “nicey nicey,” which is her
attempt to wear down my recalcitrant stance on issues with her charm.
In celebration of Obergefell v. Hodge we
went out for evening drinks at Legal Sea Foods in Harvard Square. While
enjoying the evening summer breeze with our drinks, my spouse said we
could have this experience all year in our retiring years if we moved
to a milder climate.
I snapped back and said, “I ain’t moving to Georgia!”
And that’s what marriage equality looks like.