Marriage as a ritual cuts across all cultural boundaries. Its deep human significance validates relationships in the eyes of family and peers. More importantly, it affirms the legitimacy of unions — especially those banded by love and nothing but.
In an ideal world, everyone who’s willing to commit could marry. The problem, however, is our world doesn’t even come close to ideal.
Although I find it inconceivable that some people are opposed to many bonafide love-fueled relationships from getting the validation they deserve, I have long surrendered that there’s no pleasing everybody — probably only the broadminded, which is what really matters anyway.
Take it from President Bill Clinton who relentlessly campaigned for the defeat of Proposition 8 — an initiative that redefined marriage in California as a legal union exclusively between a man and a woman.
In a phone call to millions of registered California voters in 2008, Clinton said, “Proposition 8 would use state law to single out one group of Californians to be treated differently — discriminating against members of our family, our friends and our co-workers. If I know one thing about California, I know that is not what you're about. That is not what America is about. Please vote NO on 8. It's unfair and it's wrong.”
Hate prevailed. Prop 8 won. Whatever flicker of hope I had for my own happy ever after vanished. I started believing there’s no way I’d be exchanging “I dos” — not in this lifetime and definitely not with the one I genuinely want to spend the rest of my life with.
Haters just won’t let love win. They argue that allowing me to marry would adulterate the beatitude of marriage as if heterosexual unions have not done it enough damage. Not even when 50 percent of first (straight) marriages, 67 percent of second (straight) marriages and 74 percent of third (straight) marriages end in divorce, according to the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.
I was ready to give up my dream to live happily ever after when justice finally favored love and equality in 2013 via two separate U.S. Supreme Court rulings that practically annihilated the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.
Only six months since the SCOTUS rulings, I started living my own fairy tale on Dec. 27, 2013 with the prince I met seven Christmases back.
However, barely a year following what would’ve been a major victory for equality, many fairy tales like mine once again faced serious threats of abrupt, unhappy ending. The Sixth Circuit in November overturned an opinion by District Court Judge Bernard Friedman that found Michigan's 2004 voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.
The Sixth Circuit essentially upheld same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, essentially nullifying more than 300 same-sex marriages in Michigan.
Nevertheless, a glimmer of hope comes to light for the gay rights movement now that the Sixth Circuit ruling forced the U.S. Supreme Court to once and for all hear and make a definitive decision on marriage equality in America. A hearing has been set for April and a decision is expected by June 2015.
A same-sex couple from Michigan has put the question of the right to marry nationwide before the Supreme Court. The couple's plea to be allowed to marry asks the justices to hold that state laws prohibiting same-sex couples from getting married violate “our nation's most cherished and essential guarantees.”
Although there’s no guarantee what the Supreme Court decision will be, majority of Americans have practically made up their mind about marriage equality.
According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, conducted in June this year, 56 percent of Americans believe it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry; only 38 percent say they are opposed. Eleven years ago, only 37 percent favored same-sex marriage while 55 percent were opposed.
Homophobia lingers. It continues to put a wedge on families — between parents and their gay child. But there’s no denying that the tide has turned. It’s only a matter of time until love and equality, with finality, will triumph over hate and discrimination.
And until then, the embers of hope for everyone’s happy ever after ferociously burn.