In this exclusive audio broadcast, Rep. Pocan, the only current member of Congress who is both openly gay and married, talks about the future of gay marriage in this country and what Congress will do to expedite marriage equality in the 37 states that still discriminate against LGBT families.
Everybody in every corner of the world wants to be loved, whether it is by family, friends or a spouse. No one wants to go through life alone and unloved. It's a basic human need to be loved. So why is there an issue over who one group of individuals' love?
As if being lead by a guiding light, the masses were coming to congregate in The Castro -- the land where Harvey Milk started the forefronts of gay rights and the bells of equality still ring today.
This morning, the Supreme Court extended civil rights to lesbian and gay couples by overturning Section 3 of DOMA (which defined marriage as male-female dyads for federal purposes), and (basically) overturning Proposition 8.
I'm going to stop using the term "gay marriage" ever again in my writing. There is no "same-sex" and "opposite-sex" marriage anymore. There is just marriage, period.
Some have argued that the Supreme Court's decision should only affect the two couples who filed suit against Prop 8, or the two counties in which the couples reside, because the suit wasn't brought on behalf of California's same-sex couples as a class. This argument has little merit.
The Supreme Court's decision allowing legally married gay couples to access federal benefits opens up an entirely new area of financial planning for gay couples. Everything from estate planning to Social Security to income tax returns and retirement benefits will be affected by the rulings.
The Supreme Court had a chance to end the cycle of injustice in the United States but chose not to. For those of us in the other 37 states, the battle continues. Achieving marriage equality in Oregon, not to mention throughout the South, is not going to be easy.
The joke goes that gays should be allowed to marry so that they can be as miserable as everyone else. The real joke is that gays already know what it's like to be as miserable as everyone else; it's just taken this long for almost everyone else to realize that they are no different.
By declining to give a 50-state equality ruling on Prop 8 today, the Court shows that it still doesn't "get it" with regards to treating LGBTs as equal human beings who should have the same rights as other adults.
This week's rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 will of course find resistance -- some of it extreme. So what does Luke say to us that might be helpful in the midst of so many contrary positions?
The fight for equality in 37 other states continues. But we now have clear direction that the Constitution, in addition to the political process and changing attitudes of the general public, are coalescing in favor of marriage equality across the entire country.
: With so many loving families still living in states with marriage bans, what will it take to overturn bans that were passed by ballot measure? And how will we enact other important initiatives that benefit LGBT people, women, working families and new Americans?
It is not picking one issue as more important than another. Which leaves me wondering, do I go out and twirl for all of the couples who now are going to enjoy a thousand plus rights previously, and wrongfully, denied to them, or do I wail because of yesterday?
What does it feel like to be like everyone else? As I write this, I can hear my daughter Clara squealing from her high chair in the kitchen as Papá -- who can now become a citizen because I can sponsor him -- tells her not to plaster herself with yogurt.
I remain hopeful that further progressive change is not far beyond our reach. Let us celebrate today but continue to fight for a brighter tomorrow. Do not lose sight of the struggles for equality and justice that persist. We will bring light to places still living in fear, hate, and ignorance.