As you’ve likely heard by now, the same-sex marriage ban in California was overturned by the state courts. This is a great step forward, and paves the way for it to become gay marriage to be welcomed on the West Coast.
Here’s a picture of me and my friend Alden a couple years ago, when the first marriage licenses were handed out in Cambridge. Steps of Cambridge City Hall, May 2004. It was midnight, and Mass Ave was filled with celebration, like a wedding reception for people we didn’t even know! There was such joy in the air, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples lined up around the block, and a round of cheers and applause that would spontaneously erupt every few minutes for the couples that emerged from inside Cambridge City Hall as spouses. I remember cheering for strangers because they could recognize their love in the eyes of the state. Brought chills up my spine, despite the curmudgeon in me. A joyous, joyous night.
So: Massachusetts and California have affirmed gay marriage. The simple fact that I can get married in my home state of Massachusetts makes a real difference: it means that I am validated here, rather than having to live in shame. As Martha says, It’s a good thing.
The debate over gay marriage reminds me of the injustices of interracial marriage. One of my students could not believe that the U.S. only overturned this legislation in the 70’s. I had to encourage them to look up the Loving vs. Virginia case (I’ve always loved the serendipity of the plaintiff’s name: Loving).