Guest Entry: Same-sex Marriage a Victory for All
We're honored to feature this guest blog from two friends and supporters of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Chris Bohnert and Terry Rosson. Read on as they describe their heartfelt joy at the historic decision by the California Supreme Court that finally recognizes their equal right to marry as a same-sex couple under the law.
You probably know that on May 15 the California Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in the state. Soon, when I call my county (Alameda) court house and ask for a marriage license they won’t tell me that marriage licenses are issued to anyone over the age of eighteen as long as the couples marrying are "one man and one woman." That last part will have to be dropped.
This is a great victory for everyone who has ever been labeled “different.”
I didn't know until today how profoundly this has affected me. I wasn't aware of how deeply you meant it (the people I’ve met and worked with a bit at the Ella baker Center, and my Oakland and Berkeley neighbors) when you told that my being gay made no difference to you, that it was the "me" that was being seen and not the "gay me."
I know that many of you have fought for this, have been at the forefront in speaking up for injustices and slights that are well known to you. I guess that I didn't really trust that it was okay with you that I was me, that my Terry was my Terry in the sense of my married partner in life. I think I was unaware of this sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop. It dropped for me last Thursday, but in a good way, and today I have this sense of relief and joy. I can only say that I am surprised that I feel so much joy and so much relief.
I am also so grateful and thankful that I am a part of this wonderful group of people who never, ever made me feel unwelcome or uncomfortable... that isn't all that I'm trying to say.... what I mean is... thank you… I believe you now…. I believe my "straight" friends and neighbors at a whole new level. This is really big for me as a gay person and a newly recognized, state sanctioned, California Supreme Court anointed class of individual that is granted "equal protection" under the highest standard of the laws of the state, using the "strict scrutiny standard." This is a huge victory as never in any state in the country has such a high legal, constitutional standard for protection been applied to gays and lesbians. At a more emotional level…as Van says…it's a real "Velcro" moment for me and Terry too.
We called the Alameda County Clerk and the message hasn't changed yet but they emailed us back right away and said as soon as the forms are ready they will let us know. (We aren’t holding our breaths though, we’ll keep calling.) My City Councilwoman here in Berkeley called me today in answer to an email about getting married at City Hall in Berkeley. They don't do Civil Marriage Ceremonies at Berkeley City Hall but that could change with us. The City of Berkeley said they are working on that too and we plan to keep working on them as well.
Our point in all of this is it is a great victory for everybody. We are so united on so many levels. We are all one. The shift is happening. It is the change we are working for.
Chris Bohnert + Terry Rosson