So, the Hawaii legislature has passed marriage equality, setting the Aloha state to be the 16th that will allow all citizens, gay and straight, say “I do” to love and commitment.
It has been an extraordinary year. Think about it, just 18 months ago, the citizens of North Carolina, a state that already had a law banning marriage between same-sex couple, approved an amendment to their state constitution prohibiting the state from performing or recognizing either same-sex marriages or civil unions. Then, 12 months ago, on election night, the voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington state all approved measures in favor of same-sex marriage (and the voters of Minnesota rejected an attempt to amend their constitution to prevent the marriages). That brought the number of states recognizing marriage equality to ten. And it was as if the floodgates had opened…
Since then, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, California, Illinois, and now Hawaii have joined the club. Meanwhile, eight counties in New Mexico are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples (because existing state marriage law has gender-neutral language), and the state supreme court has heard arguments for allowing it state wide. Nevada’s legislature has begun the multi-year process to repeal that state’s constitutional marriage equality ban, groups in Oregon are gathering signatures to put two propositions on the ballot next year: one to repeal the constitutional ban, and the other to allow same-sex marriages. Lawsuits are pending in several states which might add one or two more to the “I do” column before the end of the year.
It’s all more than a bit dizzying for this middle-aged homo, let me tell you!
Twenty-three years ago, I was relieved that the voters here in ultra-liberal Seattle rejected an initiative that was going to repeal the city’s domestic partnership ordinance. Polling had indicated that the initiative was going to win, so it was a bit of a surprise (and a big relief) when it didn’t. All that the ordinance did was provide a registry, and allowed gay and lesbian city employees put registered partners on their insurance.
Back then, I didn’t think that actual marriage equality was something I would see in my lifetime. Heck, at the time, there were still a lot of states where physical intimacy between people of the same gender was a crime.
So I hope you’ll forgive me that I still get a little weepy and excited and otherwise worked up over this topical. Because afterall, eleven months and one day ago, I was still legally single.
And today, I’m marking eleven months (and counting) of being the luckiest guy on earth.
This week’s votes in Illinois and Hawaii are big victories. I’m incredibly happy for all the couples in those states who will soon get the legal protections that come with marriage, among many other important things that come with marriage.
The fight isn’t over. Maybe I couldn’t imagine marriage equality twenty three years ago, but now I can’t believe that it’s still a battle at all!
(Now I have to go kiss my husband, because it’s been an entire 26 minutes since I did, and picking photos from the wedding to upload has me crying, again)