Today is a day for celebration. In reviewing multiple cases from across the country, the Supreme Court of the United States has decided states cannot ban marriage equality for LGBT folks.
This triumph of love and equality over exclusion and bigotry is to be celebrated, for sure. And when I think of how many loving, happy couples I know who will at last be able to pursue their dream of marriage, my heart fills with joy (which is hard on the charcoal, but I’ll make room). I have, in fact, entertained notions of marriage myself, although that’s going to have to wait until I recover from my last relationship (gay, straight, whatever—heartbreak is a ball of suck for everybody).
Looking beyond the rhetoric, and the bumper-sticker activism, we see today that the rights of everyone must be preserved if the rights of anyone are to be of any value. The actual decision—drawing from the name of the first of four cases considered in the ruling, Obergefell v. Hodges—was, as many have been with this court, a near thing; a five-to-four triumph of individual rights and equal standing under the law over religious fervor. Close or not, the decision reflects a growing understanding in our country that LGBT folks don’t want “special” rights, or “gay” rights, or magical bonus treats draped in gold silk (although, hey, if you’re offering…).
What we want is to have our rights to love, and to participate in the civil benefits of marriage, recognized as equally valid under the law of the land (a land which, I feel I must remind some people, has no official religion and counts among its founders multiple deists, skeptics, and at least one genius who liked his Christianity sans magic).
There’s still a lot of work to be done. Marriage equality is the first step in total equality under the law, including better recognition and protections for LGBT folks. We have made so many strides forward, but in a country where interrupting the president in protest (a time-tested tradition in the fight for LGBT equality) can still get you flack, rather than support, from other folks in the community, the walk down the aisle is but a few steps on the long path we have yet to traverse.
We will not be silenced. We will not be relegated to a pile labeled “Less Than.” Today, we celebrate our victory. Tomorrow, it’s back to work—but with a lot more hope for what’s to come.
Image Credit: Ted Eytan via Flickr