Today is the anniversary of our second wedding. My wife Chantal and I had to get married twice because it was not legal the first time, and we had to travel to California to do so because it was still not legal to marry in most states at that time, including Florida.
Our LGBTQ forebears had asked politely for their rights and were denied, repeatedly. They grew tired of the social discrimination, abuse, and arrests (for such things as violating gender-appropriate clothing statutes) so in 1969, in response to a police raid at Stonewall, they rioted. For five days. Our people were so hurt and angry that they were ready to burn it all down. That was the catalyst for the gay rights movement. It took almost 50 years more but with the help of the Supreme Court and a couple more brave queer peeps (thanks Edie and Jim) we all finally have the right to marry.
It is because our ancestors and allies refused to accept injustice and were willing to fight for their rights that we are able to enjoy the legal and societal benefits of marriage today. I am so grateful. Regularly I am also reminded that we have so far to go. We can still lose our jobs or be denied housing because of who we are. LGBTQ people are at higher risk of dying by suicide or homicide than the general population. And there is a case currently before the Supreme Court that will determine if it is legal to bar LGBTQ folks from adopting.
Today I stand in solidarity with folks who are part of another historically marginalized group in this country: my Black brothers and sisters… not because I understand exactly what it feels like to be them, but because I believe we have a long way to go as a society in learning to fully accept those who do not look, believe, or live like the majority. We are all brothers and sisters, regardless of our politics, skin color, or orientation. And until all of us are free, none of us is free.