This post was originally written on April 28th, 2015.
"Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard." ― Harvey Milk
Today I stood outside the Supreme Court of the United States building as a straight ally in support of marriage equality, and the voices of the hundreds of advocates around me and around the country were definitely heard -- loud and proud.
I was not able to enter the Court to view the proceedings, but two questions were being discussed today:
Does the Constitution require states to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples? Should states be required to recognize gay and lesbian marriages performed in other states in which it is legal?
The crowd outside was charged with positive energy as signs were raised, songs were sung, and love was celebrated. Sure, the usual opposition crowd was there as well, but more as a sad sideshow than anything really worth mentioning. However, I will say this, while hate was shouted out by certain groups, I did not hear a single curse word hurtled back at them from the advocates for equality.
It was exciting to see the intersection of activism for various causes joining in the common fight for marriage equality and full LGBTQIA+ equality at large. There were supporters from the immigration reform movement, pro-choice advocates, signs reading #BlackLivesMatter, economic justice warriors, and so much more. It is often forgotten that the oppression of one group is inextricable from the oppression of others. Sexuality, race, gender, reproductive rights, economic inequality, and even climate change are all interrelated and intersecting. In the midst of so much turmoil in this country, I was so proud to be surrounded by people who "get it," who realize that the fight for their individual rights is linked to the fight for the rights of all people so that "all men are created equal" can finally be supported by our laws and our social systems some day.
One person at the rally, Rafael Petry, was holding a sign reading "Don't mess with Dumbledore's rights," referring to the gay headmaster of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series. As the nonprofit the Harry Potter Alliance would tell you, "the weapon we have is love," and this was abundantly evident this bright Tuesday morning. Everywhere I looked, I could find gay and lesbian couples celebrating their love, many of whom have been together for decades.
That's what today is about, what this case is about, and what any fight for equality is about -- love. Love conquers hate, it conquers ignorance, and it inspires an eternal passion that leads to positive change. Time will tell when the Court will rule in favor of love, because nobody is asking for permission to love, they are asking for equal recognition of that love and all the rights that come with it.