Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Supreme Court Rules

DOMA overturned.  Though I would have rather been at home clanging a loud victory pot on my porch, Im in the service department at Liberty Ford in Maple Heights.  There are six people in the waiting room with me; most are engaged in other activities.  One man is sleeping, a woman in typing on her laptop.  A man, who just left, was checking his phone.  One reading the paper.  The man next to me was watching the tv too, but did not make any indication that he was for or against the two landmark decisions that were just handed down. 

I am flush with a near-weepy feeling, knowing what this means to my friends J and M who were married in New York last month.  I am near-weepy because I know what this means to other couples I know, most of who have been together "forever."  And, mostly, I am near-weepy because I feel a little more whole. 

I wish I could talk to these people around me about that, that feeling of being seen or perceived as less-than or not-quite.  They're all black, older, in their sixties or seventies.  I know they lived through the years of Jim Crow.  They saw the marches, the bombings, the hoses aimed liked guns on small children.  

Trust me, I am in no way equating being gay with being black.  Two different situations all together.  For one, I can hide and have hidden my difference, and there is no way for someone of color to do the same.  Those people around me today, I would imagine, have come face to face with more covert and overt discrimination than I ever will have to face. 

Maybe, this is no big deal to my fellow wait-ers, or, they may be in complete disagreement with the decisions. All I know is that no one flinched, just at a time when I wished I had someone to talk with.  Wished I had seen someone else in this room smile.  Nod.  See me smiling too.

After some action I took five years ago, in which I promised to not hide who I am or feed into the fear associated with that, I thought I was done.  The journey to acceptance was complete. But today, right now, I realize I was not done.  These rulings -- this stamp of legality - filled up something that was still not complete.  I realized that I was still on edge, expecting the Supreme Court to sway conservatively.  I was expecting to be rejected again.  I had already started to steel my argument, I had already cemented a crust to skin. 

Maybe it is appropriate that I was here, in the service waiting area, as the Supreme Court rulings came down.  This is what life is after all -- this is we've ever wanted.  Supermarkets, hospital rooms, co-signed mortgages and tax relief.  Taking the car in, sharing insurance.  Holding hands.  Paying the bills.  All of this without a fuss.  Perhaps it is a great sign that there was no reaction from the people in the room with me.  This coming of justice is so right and so obvious that it raises no rancor or grand celebration.  There are more important things to think about: lunch, broken wiper engines, crossword puzzles.  The arc of moral universe is long and it does bend toward justice.  We simply know that another right thing has been done on a slow path to equality, no big deal.

So to JF, making sack lunches for the twins she and her partner parent; and, J driving home tonight to the home she shares with M; and D who's more excited about this than her pimp deck on the trailer; to all of the straight allies posting messages and waving the flag of solidarity; to that couple I saw in Target yesterday, both in their seventies, gathering up toilet bowl cleaner and paper towels; those of you in a new but lasting love (you know who you are); to T who is pushing the boundaries defined in churches; to people who have loved gay people for their whole lives before it was in issue of equity and justice like C; to you who never thought this would come in your lifetime; and to those of you who may not be excited but have come to realize that love cannot be tamed and controlled by law...thank you and congratulations.  Part of our country was broken, and now service has been done.

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