I was going to write a typical Friday writing update, but I was pleasantly distracted by the news that gay marriage was now legal in all 50 states. I try not to let myself fall down into internet rabbit holes, but I spent my Friday reading articles about the ruling. I looked up pictures of couples in Kentucky and Ohio, read about the asinine dissenting briefs from the four justices, and choked up a little at the White House lit up in gay. We’ve come a long way.
I kept thinking about 2008. I was living in Los Angeles at the time of the election, and more than the presidential election, the biggest issue on the ballot was easily Prop 8. The initiative would’ve overturned the gay marriage ruling recently legalized by the courts. (Sidenote: I remember when gay marriage was first made legal in CA that May. The first night, as we headed to a bar, a friend of mine said “Well, I guess I need to start looking for a husband now.”)
Record amounts of money were spent on both sides for Prop 8. There was a pro-Prop 8 commercial that kept running, warning people that if Prop 8 didn’t pass, kindergartners would be forced to learn about gay sex. Won’t someone think of the children!
I remember attending an event on election night. People cheered when Obama won, but there was still a pall of disappointment as it looked like Prop 8 was going to pass.
A few days later, I attended a marriage equality rally in Silver Lake. We marched through the streets chanting, holding up no on 8 signs. “Gay, straight, black, white. Marriage is a civil right.” In truth, our rally was kind of preaching to the choir. It’s not like we were marching in a conservative neighborhood. We were surrounded by supporters in a very liberal area.
Someone got on a podium and made a speech (I believe it was a the mayor, but my memory’s a little fuzzy). He said that every civil rights battle in America has succeeded, eventually. That gave me hope. At the time, we didn’t know how long this battle would last.
I attended another rally a few weeks later. Got another No on 8 poster to wave over my head. The rallies were fun, more like a social gathering for me. At the time, I didn’t think too much about what we were doing. Marriage wasn’t really on my radar, and I’d never been an activist type of person.
But now 7 years later, here we are. I’m planning to marry my boyfriend next year. Not civil union. Not domestic partnership. Family and friends are happy for us. The gay marriage thing is a non-issue to them and their kids. I know things aren’t perfect, and there are still bigots lurking around the corner, but it’s a large step in the right direction. The days of Prop 8 seem miles away.
After the rallies, people were discarding their posters. “Don’t throw yours out,” my friend said. “You should frame them. They’ll be valuable one day, once gay marriage passes. A relic from another time.”
I’m glad I took his advice.