When I heard the news about the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA and Prop 8, I was at work. A lot of people had a difficult time focusing on projects and we took frequent breaks to check the news. A few minutes after 10:00 am, I pulled out my phone to check Twitter and bam. There it was. From the man himself.
We took a moment to celebrate together. It was awesome to be surrounded by people who were happy about a monumental win for equality. I took to other social media to celebrate with friends back home, and I was quickly reminded that not everyone was happy about it. I mean, Jesus is crying about it after all.
And then Michelle Bachmann was all:
And the rest of the world was like, “Woa, what does that even mean?” Personally, I think she’s grabbing a pair of imaginary breasts. That’s the only thing that explains the positioning of her hands and that facial expression.
Obama was busy making a difference in the lives of the plaintiffs of Prop 8 and tweeting:
And the Republicans were like:
On the drive home from work, I listened to the news and experienced a lot of different emotions. Excitement about having full protection — on a state level and now on a national level — and gratitude to be surrounded by supportive people. I haven’t always had that privilege.
My mind shot back to Utah when listening to Rachel Maddow. She talked about a hypothetical couple, married in a state that recognizes same-sex couples, that relocates to Utah. What happens to them? What happens to their marriage? What do they do about their taxes? What if they have kids — do they continue to enjoy legal protections for their children?
These types of questions reminded us that we just took an “admittedly somewhat underwhelming but inarguably forward-facing move outside the Supreme Court Building“. And conservatives have it right: this *is* progress and there’s still more ground to gain before full equality is achieved. And we probably won’t stop at human equality: We’re coming for your pets!
After reading so many posts like this on social media, I had a sobering thoughts. I’ve had 30 years to build up tolerance for these types of statements. There was a time of life when I was even more sensitive than I am now, a time of life when I was afraid of people figuring out my secret. And even though I’m here now, there are people currently at the stage where I once was. The things shared with them during Sunday school lessons, fast and testimony meetings, fifth Sunday lessons, and shot around during casual conversations, will stick with them.
They’ve stuck with me. I remember my bishop sharing Boyd K. Packer’s pamphlet “To the One”. In the pamphlet, he shared a story about a missionary who was hit on by another missionary, and the missionary who was hit on punched the other. Or as he described to Packer, he “floored” him. And Packer responded, “Well, someone had to do it.” I was afraid. Adults have the capacity to think about the context — he might have been referring to a situation that involved a potential sexual assault. Kids, on the other hand, probably don’t think about context. I didn’t. All I thought was, “Person who is gay, like me, get’s punched. Church leader gives approval. My peers find out I’m gay. I get punch. They get kudos from the bishop.” That’s a terrifying place to be. Or to hear one of your leaders talk about how gay people should be drown in the ocean. And then go on church and scout trips with him near large bodies of water and wonder, “Would he…?” It causes you to wonder, constantly, what people really think and what they would really do if they knew.
I feel compelled to speak up for them because I remember how powerful and liberating it was when people spoke up for me.
And then I read headlines about violence — hate crimes — against gay people. It can be terrifying. Mathew Sheppard’s mom talked about how she wishes her son was still alive to see DOMA go down, and I’m reminded how far we’ve come.
We’ve come far enough that companies are realizing gay people have been part of an untapped market.
And of course, Google. They’re so gay, I think I might buy one of their tablets.
And movie stars refuse to marry until gay people can marry.
And then I go back to social media and I’m reminded again about how much more progress we need to make. Especially if this guy has a gay child:
At some point, I realize you become callous and desensitized. You don’t realize how much you close and harden up. Until you listen a song like this, and read a comment like this.
We’re making progress. Shame and fear of being gay are becoming less common. Like Macklemore said: