A friend of mine got married today.
Why is this newsworthy? Because my friend is gay.
Today my friend and her partner joined hundreds of others in the pelting rain to be able for the first time in Oregon history to apply for a marriage license. And it was a beautiful sight to behold: people laughing and cheering, cars honking, the press pouncing upon happily-dazed couples who’ve just received their licenses. There were insta-ministers, waiting around to marry on-the-spot those who’ve been waiting a lifetime for this moment. And there were others who shared in the joy: friends, well-wishers passing out donuts and flowers. Pizza deliverers. Even the county sheriff officers, there to keep things orderly, were smiling. The shock and glee was infectious.
The only time I remember such high spirits was the 1983 San Francisco Pride Parade: as an already-jaded usher at the Castro Theatre (it was a job requirement then–trust me), I stood on the marquee and watched gay pride contingents from all fifty states march by. When the lone member of the North Dakota tribe marched down Castro Street waiving his rainbow flag wildly and wearing a grin so huge it threaten to take over his face, a primal cheer went up from the crowd. He was home. And I couldn’t stop crying.
So no matter what your feelings are about gay marriage, just for one tiny moment think about what it must have been like for those who’ve been told all their lives that they were weird or subhuman or just plain wrong, to wake up this morning and realize now, finally, they could marry the person they loved.