You’ll read a lot of marriage-equality articles and news items in the next few weeks thanks to the pending ruling on the subject by the U.S. Supreme Court — but likely none like this one.
People like me, who have been in the fight for LGBT equality almost 50 years now, had never allowed ourselves to believe that this day might come, and so we came up with what was a sort of denial. Our statements were: We don’t need marriage since it comes from a tradition of religion, and religion is the ultimate oppressor of the LGBT community for thousands of years. We also stated that we had no need to copy a heterosexual institution, or need for a government blessing.
In 1969, we were attempting to begin the process of defining ourselves, rather than accepting the definition with which society had labeled us. That identification took many forms but mostly it became anti-institution — whatever that institution was, including marriage.
My reaction has “evolved” over the years and when the chance came to marry, Jason and I did. Up until the very ceremony, I believed to the bottom of my soul that it was just a piece of paper we were signing, which might give us some new rights but it would not fundamentally change our lives. That was a total misjudgment.
As the judge was performing the ceremony, I found myself so emotionally overcome. Was it the long battle to get there or was it my feelings for Jason, or a mixture of the two? That night when we went home, like all couples who’ve been together for a long time, we went through our normal routine. At one point I looked over at Jason, and he had a look on his face that I have not seen since my parents were alive.
In that instant, I knew what marriage was, and no couple should be denied that special feeling.
Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at https://twitter.com/PhilaGayNews.