Why I Stand for Marriage EqualityMarch 27, 2013
When my home state of Massachusetts became the first in the United States to allow same-sex marriage in 2004, only around 32 percent of Americans supported marriage equality. Now it is almost 10 years later, and the tide has dramatically changed. The latest polls have support at around 58 percent overall, with more than 81 percent of people ages 18–29 supporting marriage equality. There are also countless leaders in politics, civil society, and the media who are vocal supporters of same-sex marriage.
While for some the shift in support may seem like the natural outcome of years of activism, for others it comes as a surprise. And for others, it’s a frustrating development. For me — a young woman whose activism on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people began around the time Massachusetts took that first, bold step — it is nothing short of life changing.
I was 14 in the spring of 2004, when Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to LGBT couples. The summer before marked the first time I met another person who had parent(s) like mine. Until the age of 13, I had thought I was the only person with two moms, with the exception of Rosie O’Donnell’s kids. Back then, the young people speaking out about their families were simply not as visible as they are today. Now, there are countless viral videos of inspiring youth sharing their stories — like this or this.
Youth (like Cameron and Daniel) are also joining the conversation about the Supreme Court’s consideration of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and California’s Proposition 8. DOMA limits all federal recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples, complicating the lives of many already married same-sex couples and acting as a barrier to greater marriage equality across the country. Proposition 8 defined marriage as being between heterosexual couples through a state constitutional amendment in California.
Being surrounded by people who feel as strongly as I do about marriage equality brought me back to the day when I first met other people with LGBT parents. I was in Provincetown, Massachusetts, for Family Week with COLAGE, a national organization of people with LGBT parents, and we marched down the small town’s central street. At the top of a hill, my moms and I paused. As far as we could see ahead and behind us were LGBT families celebrating the love that brought them together. At that moment, we knew we were not alone and that we were part of something big.
I felt the same way at the rally yesterday. My family is ready, and the country is ready. It’s time for marriage equality and recognition of the rights and respect that all people deserve.
This post was written by Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.