~ Judge Anthony Kennedy, on behalf of the U.S. Supreme Court
My empathetic cup runneth over with joy today for the historic ruling favoring marriage equality for all U.S. citizens. Judge Kennedy's poetic reflection in the closing paragraph of this milestone ruling speaks to the heart of the matter -- love -- and all it encompasses: fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. Family by no means is limited to blood lines. Too often, the blood line family is devoid or severely fractured of these fundamentals. I've witnessed it. I've experienced it.
What makes my heart dance and sing today is the giant leap of progress that the right of love is now legally available for a community of human beings that have sacrificed much, including the loss of love from family, in declaring their love for someone other -- another gender. A community of people who have been alienated, excluded, shut-out, shut-down, ignored, discounted and rejected -- because they're different.
As a heterosexual woman, my empathy and support of equality and dignity on love for my fellow humans, specifically the lgbt population, became impenetrably favorable in 2005, when I personally was socially rejected, the first time, because Boomer and I were not "married." One late Saturday night, I sat, alone, in a hospital waiting room -- waiting -- for 4 1/2 hours while Boomer lay in a bed in an e.r. exam room (Read: Maya Called It). I repeatedly asked the hospital employee at the admission desk to see him, how he was, what was happening, etc. I tried every creative approach I could think of to get information or to get to be by his side, each time I heard, "Are you his wife?" "No, I'm his girlfriend." "I'm sorry, if you're not family, I can't help you." That hurt. Eight years in a devoted, loving, sacrificing relationship, yet only a "girlfriend" in society's view, meant bupkis. The upside, and the downside, was Boomer too was pleading with hospital staff for me to be with him. It took 4 1/2 hours before the hospital, in the middle of the night, finally let me be with him. He was released 1 1/2 later.
Ironically, fast forward to November 2012, now three years married, I only waited 30-minutes to be by Boomer's side for what would be the remaining days of his life (Read: My Man). Yet, at a memorial for Boomer, I felt the hurtful discounting sting again in a eulogy that merely acknowledged our relationship for the 3 years we were married, ignoring the other 12 of our relationship.
I get why this is such a magnificent achievement today and I am so happy about it. I know Boomer is too. I loathe hypocrisy. When we love, really love, we give our all -- no matter what. While I am no longer married due to death, my love for Boomer does indeed endure. Everyone deserves that equal dignity of honor, acknowledgement and respect -- no matter what, no matter who (Read: Woman of Significance). It is so, at long last, ordered.