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SCOTUS, DOMA and Prop 8: Where Do We Go From Here?

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It took about an hour after SCOTUS announced the rulings before I started getting phone calls from the local media. They wanted to know what I thought about the Supreme Court of the United States ruling that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act -- the part of DOMA that denied equality with respect to Federal benefits to legally married LGBT couples -- was unconstitutional.

They wanted to know what it means to me that Prop 8 was struck down. They wanted to know what that means for people in states where marriage equality is still being denied. In states, like mine, where there are constitutional amendments banning marriage equality. They wanted to know where do we go from here?

In the next 24 hours I must have said the words marriage equality more than 100 times -- in half a dozen interviews, and at the rally we held that evening at the statehouse. The total number of times my words were quoted were many. One journalist quoted my words as marriage equality. Every other time, every other journalist wrote same-sex marriage.

This unfortunate truth speaks volumes to me about where we are post-DOMA (section 3) and sans Prop 8. It tells me everything I need to know when it comes to my reaction. It tells me everything I need to know about where do we go from here.

I have watched the debate of marriage equality from afar. It has not been a debate to which transgender people have often been invited. That notwithstanding, I have been planning my wedding, dreaming about my wedding dress, and wondering about the (ever-changing) guest list since I was a little girl who happened to live as a little boy.

I am an openly transsexual woman who lives 2.6 miles from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. I felt great pride on the day that Fred Phelps sent his followers on a 75 mile trip to the north, just so they could picket the library in Seneca where I was making a presentation on transgender and faith.

I chose that particular library for a presentation in response to a hour-long sermon by New Hope Baptist Church Pastor, Curtis Knapp, where he called for the government to execute gays. My purpose in going to Seneca was not to confront the pastor or to condemn his message. My purpose was to do my part to present a different message. A message of love.

This is the world in which so many of us live. It is the world where a journalist can hear someone say marriage equality and have it equate in their mind to same-sex marriage. It is a world where I can say social justice and equality for all, and too many people still hear gay rights and special rights. It is a world where legalized discrimination affects far too many people.

However, there is nothing in that truth that diminishes the other truth. Prop 8 is gone. Section three of DOMA is gone. What does that mean to me? It means hope. It means that there is reason to believe that in my lifetime, all people will be able to marry the person they love, even in Kansas.

It means that the Supreme Court of the United States of America said something very important, very clearly -- LGBT relationships are valid. These are words that can never be unspoken. Americans will never again live in a place where that truth can be untold.

What does it mean to me? It means that we have rounded third and we are heading for home. It means that there is no force on earth capable of stopping the inevitable. It means that denial and delusion are being melted away like pieces of ice in a toxic sea of hate.

Where do we go from here? We go to work. There is much to be done and too many people still suffer. Until the day comes when no one suffers just for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; we go to work.

They wanted to know what I thought about the Supreme Court of the United States ruling that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. They wanted to know what it means to me that Prop 8 was struck down. It means that there will be a time in the not-so-distant future when a person can say marriage equality, and it will be for everyone.