We have a great deal to celebrate. The United States Supreme Court, with its recent rulings on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's discriminatory marriage ban, Proposition 8, affirmed that all loving and committed same-sex married couples around the nation are equal.
Gay and lesbian married couples now enjoy more than 1,100 federal benefits and protections that they were previously excluded from. This moment in time -- when our highest court finally struck down DOMA and restored marriage to our friends in California -- will stay with me forever.
Not only do these victories mean a great deal to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, but they mean a great deal to me on a personal level. Last year, my partner Sumitra and I moved to Iowa to get married. And after 26 years, we will finally tie the knot this fall in Des Moines.
It occurred to me the night of the rulings, as I looked out over the hundreds of supporters who had gathered together for a celebration rally in Des Moines, that my marriage would mean so much more now. In fact, each and every one of the marriages of the more than 6,000 same-sex couples who have traveled to Iowa to get married since 2009 has changed for the better, practically overnight.
Now all these couples who came to the heartland to marry will finally be afforded things that most other married couples probably take for granted, things like social security benefits, military spousal support, and being able to check the "married" box on federal tax returns. Can you believe I'm actually excited to fill out my 2013 tax returns?
We are grateful that Iowa has welcomed us with the kind of hospitality that one can only expect from Iowans. And we are so grateful to live in a state that enjoys the freedom to marry. The decisions on DOMA and Proposition 8 only enhance this, by extending to us exactly what we deserve: recognition by our federal government and fairness under the law.
At this moment in time, I am proud to be an Iowan and an American. And I am thrilled to finally marry the woman I love.