Yesterday as the Supreme Court began hearings on Prop 8 and today Windsor vs The United States (DOMA), the world (real and virtual) turned red. In support, I put on my red t-shirt and laced-up my red chucks. I am here, I am queer.
I married my wife and partner of six years twice last year. The first time we said “I Do” was on June 1st in New York City at the City Clerk’s Office and the second was in Austin, Texas on September 22nd in front of our friends and family.
We joke, the first was for the paper, the second was for us, for our love. It isn’t a joke that we had to have two weddings, it’s reality for us and the countless other LGBT Americans who have to travel out of their home state or to Canada to “get married.” I do appreciate the support and comments from straight friends who say “You’re just as married and committed to Kate as I am to Sean.” It’s true we are just as married and committed, but according to the government we are not. I would like to not have to file my taxes as single, I would like to not have to worry if one of us is hospitalized in the fine state of Texas, and not be granted visitation or able to make decisions or receive any benefits. It would be nice not to have to explain to people who ask and or say you aren’t married in Texas.
On a positive note, what a great time in history to be queer! To be able to proudly post your gay status to the world. As the day progressed yesterday, and the red tidal wave took over Facebook, you could almost feel the queer envy. All this out and proud and support from straight allies had me wondering about Edie, what does she think about all this red madness? Edith Windsor, was born in 1929, she lived most of her life in a time when you could not be free to be queer. Now, she is the face of DOMA.
Listening to Edie Windsor, the 83 year old taking over the Supreme Court (NPR) I found myself on the verge of tears multiple times (take 5 minutes and listen to Edie).
[Excerpt from the NPR transcript] In 1967, on a drive to the country, Thea asked Edie what she would do if she got an engagement ring. After all, if coworkers saw it, they’d want to meet the guy. And when we got to the house, she got out of the car and got down on her knees and said, Edie Windsor, will you marry me? And this pin appeared. A circle pin with diamonds. At the time, of course, there was no place the two could actually marry. But they led good lives together. After 13 years, Thea was diagnosed with MS, but the disease at first progressed slowly.
Thea Spyer died 21 months after the couple’s wedding. Edie has a life-sized photo of Thea in their apartment. She says she sometimes leans up against it and talks to Thea about the progress of the case known as Windsor versus the United States.
Yesterday and today there are Light the Way to Justice actions happening nationwide as the Supreme Court began hearing the Prop 8 and DOMA cases. I joined the Get Equal TX rally at the steps of the Texas Capitol Building in support of the freedom to marry across the nation.
I first became involved in the fight for gay marriage in 2003. I was living in Boston, Massachusetts when Goodridge vs The Department of Public Health was happening. It was a landmark state appellate court case dealing with same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. The November 18, 2003, decision was the first by a U.S. state’s highest court to find that same-sex couples had the right to marry.
On May 17, 2004 I was privileged to be amongst the few photographers allowed into City Hall to document Julie and Hillary Goodridge as they applied for the first same-sex marriage license in Boston.
Here are a few selects from the scenes outside from City Hall Plaza. Visit my set on flickr to view more images.
This is a movement, a love story for millions of people. No matter what the outcome, verdict decision of the Supreme Court over the next few months, this movement will continue until their is full equality for all in the United States of America.
Before I Die sign, Tillery Street, Austin, TX 03.26.13