It’s Rachel! This month is a special month because it’s Pride month. Here at Nightingale Events we are HUGE supporters that Love is Love and believe anyone should be able to love whomever their heart belongs to! As E.E. Cummings says “I carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear),” and as someone that is in love, I know that my heart couldn’t be full without her.
So, what is the difference between a same-sex marriage and a marriage? The short answer is nothing. But the longer, somewhat more complicated answer is we were not always allowed to marry. If it weren’t for our fabulous gay ancestors that fought a war on our behalf, we may still be fighting today. In many other arenas of life, we are still fighting, like healthcare, but today we’re talking about how the LGBTQ community fought for our right to love who we love, settle down, and marry.
Fifty years ago the first pride parade was marched on June 28th in New York City. This parade was organized to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The Stonewall Inn was a Mafia owned bar in Greenwich Village that catered to the underdogs of the LGBTQ community, transgender people, effeminate men, drag queens, and homeless youth. This was particularly dangerous because in the 1950s and 60s, the FBI and Police Departments kept lists of known homosexuals, their favorite places, and friends. They were looking to easily identify anyone that was deemed “un-American” and a high security risk, and the LGBTQ community landed in that category.
But June 28, 1969 the patrons of the Stonewall Inn had enough of the Police Raids for simply being who they were and loving who they loved. The first punch that was thrown at the uprising was rumored to have been thrown by Storme DeLarverie. The Stonewall Uprising sparked the Gay Revolution. Thanks to this event, we are able to be out and proud without being arrested, next step in a relationship? Moving in together!
This battle was forged by one of the first openly gay politicians in U.S. Government. Some of you may have heard of Harvey Milk, if you haven’t I highly suggest watching MILK, the movie about his life. He fought for our right to UHAUL. In 1972 Harvey moved to San Francisco and ran three times for office unsuccessfully but being theatrical in his campaigns increased his popularity and in 1977 he won his first race for city office.
He sponsored a bill banning discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and employment on the basis of sexual orientation. The Supervisors passed the bill by a vote of 11–1, so pack your bags, you can finally move in with your partner. Unfortunately Harvey Milk was assassinated for supporting rights for the Gay and Mentally Ill community. But before he went, he enlisted Gilbert Baker to make the first Pride flag, and that is the rainbow flag we see today. The best-known, six-stripe version of the rainbow pride flag was established in 1979, and assigns a meaning to each color: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony and purple for spirit.
Now the last step is a journey that spans over years, so please hang in there! The first stop on this winding road is DOMA, The Defense of Marriage Act. Signed in 1996 by Bill Clinton, this act defined “marriage” at the federal level as the union of one man to one woman. In 2013’s case United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled that section 3 of DOMA, defining marriage, was unconstitutional. In 2015’s case Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court decided all states are to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize same-sex marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions.
So as of 2015 the answer to the question, ‘what’s the difference between same-sex marriage and marriage?’ became, nothing. But this is thanks to the warriors that fought for the LGBTQ community. And it still blows my mind that the Supreme Court ruling was only five years ago!
In 2016, I married the woman I love. So I can confirm that there is no difference between same-sex marriage and marriage. We still argue over what the thermostat is set at, who is going to do the dishes, and if we’re going to get a puppy. But thanks to Storme DeLarverie, I get to kiss my wife when we’re out to dinner. Thanks to Harvey Milk, we settled down into a beautiful home together. And finally, thanks to five judges on the Supreme Court, that only one year before I got married, allowed my marriage to be recognized in all 50 states.
Cheers to progress!
If you would like to contribute to progress, please consider donating to these fantastic LGBT+ organizations!
The Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective
The Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective empowers individuals of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions to lead healthy lives through the provision of health and support services, education and advocacy.
The Allen Foundation recognizes the explicit and implicit challenges of acceptance for high school-aged LGBTQ+ students. As a result, the foundation’s purpose is to fund the Allen Book Award Scholarship. This scholarship seeks to identify and support Greater Hartford area students interested in LGBTQ+ issues and the arts and who have a passion for social justice in their higher education studies. We believe a more just, pluralistic democratic society includes students empowered to write wrongs.