reside at the intersections of multiple identities, anniversaries of
your civil rights struggles can be both bitter and sweet. And, May
17th was a reminder.
12:01 a.m. on May 17, 2004, the city of Cambridge was the first to
issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. At 9:15 a.m., the first
couple was married. Then Cambridge City Clerk Margaret Drury said to
Tanya McCluskey,52, and Marcia Kadish,56, of Malden, “I now
pronounce you married under the laws of the Commonwealth of
on that day was the 50th anniversary of the historic U.S. Supreme
Court case of "Brown v. Board of Education,” a ruling that
upended this country’s “separate but equal”
doctrine, adopted in the “Plessy v. Ferguson” decision of
joy washed over me that day knowing my now-spouse and I could follow
McCluskey’s and Kadish’s footsteps and be legally
married, we could not rejoice over the limited success, huge
failures, and ongoing resistance of “Brown” that allowed
a few of us entry into some of the top universities of this country,
as it continues to be challenged as a form of reverse discrimination.
this year’s 65th anniversary of "Brown v. Board of
Education” African Americans and Latinx Americans continue to
attend not only segregated schools - whether here in Boston or across
the nation - they also attend high-poverty urban ones with metal
detectors. And, sadly, not only have policing while schooling has
doubled since 2001 to the present day, so, too, the school-to-prison
it was once thought that access to quality education would dismantle,
for future generations, the pox of bigotry and ignorance their
parents inherited, race and class, unfortunately, continue to be
discriminating indices upholding not only “separate”
school systems but also “unequal” treatment of students.
year on May 17th marked the fifteenth anniversary of marriage
equality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Looking back at
advances such as hate crime laws, the repeal of “Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell” and DOMA, the legalization of marriage
equality, anti-homophobic bullying becoming a national concern, to
name a few, the LGBTQ community has come a long way since the first
give thanks for these advances that I had the opportunity to write
Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, who wrote the landmark decision
in “Goodridge v. Department of Public Health” the
following thank you note in April 2016:
I left for NECN (New England Cable News) on Friday I never imagined
in my wildest dreams I would meet you there. And, of all things take
a group photo with you and my buddies Sue O’Connell and Scott
Kearnan. WOW! And, thank you!
closest I came to meeting you was once many tables removed from the
stage you spoke from as GLAD’s 2013 Spirit of Justice Awardee.
tsunami of thanks I send your way for authoring the Goodridge case,
allowing me and so many of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters across this
beautiful Commonwealth of Massachusetts to marry the person we love.
an African American lesbian, there aren’t too many places in
this country I feel protected by state laws.
Goodridge decision bestowed upon me full citizen-state rights that
when same-sex marriage was legally recognized on May 17, 2004, I then
began to proudly lift my voice and say, “I, too, am
June will be the fourth anniversary of "Obergefell v. Hodges,”
the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex
marriage in all 50 states. The ruling was a great day similar, I
surmise, to that day in June 1967 when the Supreme Court case of
Loving versus the State of Virginia declared anti-miscegenation laws
with victory comes backlash. Opposition to the SCOTUS decision went
public with born again Christian Kim Davis—the now infamous
Kentucky County clerk who not only refused to issue marriage licenses
to a same-sex couple, but she forbade her co-workers to do so, too.
is the talk among Christian evangelicals of walking back “Obergefell
v. Hodges” without disrupting other precedents on marriage,”
Rebecca Buckwaler-Poza wrote in the article “The End of Gay
Rights” in the June 2017 issue of Pacific Standard Magazine.
Supreme Court can significantly undermine LGBT rights even without
reversing a single case. The Court can strip the rights to intimacy
and marriage of their meaning, carving away gradually and masking the
magnitude of changes by phrasing them in arcane legal terms.”
last year, the Supreme Court ruled in "Masterpiece Cakeshop v.
Colorado Civil Rights Commission” in favor of Jack Phillips,
the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on
the grounds of religious freedom.
the years, I’ve learned that joy can share its space with
17th is always one of those days.