Oh, I cried like a baby. For my friends who are binational couples. For my friends in California, my previous home state. For so many of us around the country, in the states where equal marriage is now truly equal. And finally, for myself. It really hit me that this is the first time in my life I am living in a place where I am no longer a second class citizen, and that it means something. It is a notion so powerful and so simple, one I have spent my life fighting for, that it kind of floored me when it actually happened. All along the way there have been lurches forward and backward, a passel of small and large victories, but the prize was always just out of reach. Through all the letter writing, the advocacy, the phone calls, the arguments, the marches — we are finally here, and I had to pinch myself. This is not perfect, because it is not national. But in the place that I live, my people now enjoy all the rights that straight people take for granted. We can’t be fired for being gay. We have the same housing rights. We have the same access to public services and accommodation. And now finally, we have the same federal marriage rights. And the federal rights are the ones that matter most in marriage law, as there are over a thousand of them. There may still be vestiges of homophobia in society, but at least in my adoptive state there is no official, state sanction anymore against us. When you have lived your whole life with constant official reminders that you are a second class citizen, that you are less than, that your love is less than, it feels unreal to be finally unburdened of all that.
As I mention above, this is a less than perfect decision in that my brothers and sisters in the hate states are still not equal before the law. The court should have decided for a national right to equality today. I will not rest until they too have equality. For now, I consider my country to be New York and the other states where equal treatment is now the law of the land. I am optimistic that one day the inequality suffered in other states will also be history, but I do not know when. It will take many lawsuits and many years I am afraid to reach that milestone.
But today, we celebrate, because we are truly equal here in my homeland.