Yesterday was a good day. I woke up to the news that SCOTUS had ruled that the Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage. And while the ruling doesn’t change my life in any real way, it does give many of my friends the same rights that many of us take for granted simply for having been born straight.
I decided that I had to do something to help celebrate this day. I didn’t know what might happen, given gay marriage has been legal in California in June 2013, but I had the idea to go to the Santa Clara County offices and hand out cupcakes to newlywed couples. If someone was eloping today in celebration, they deserved the best part of weddings: cake.
Given that the SCC Wedding Chapel was going to close at 3:40, I realized I didn’t have time to bake the cupcakes myself, so I got a tray of beautiful rainbow-colored cupcakes from Safeway, grabbed my camera in case anyone didn’t have someone taking pictures, and headed to downtown San Jose.
With the help of some employees, I found the wedding chapel, located adjacent to the cafeteria. The first thirty minutes or so were rough–I almost gave up. honestly. A news crew from NBC Bay Area showed up, thinking like I had that there would be a line of people getting married. They left within a few minutes.
I decided to give it fifteen more minutes, and I’m so glad I did. I got to witness four couples getting ready to get married yesterday (I didn’t actually enter the chapel). I had positioned myself near the entrance of the chapel at one of the cafeteria tables. It was a little awkward at first–I was just sitting there, and several people just assumed I was waiting for another wedding.
Eventually, the universe smiled and someone asked me what the cupcakes were all about. And I explained to them what I was hoping to do: bring a little wedding cake joy to anyone getting married on this historic day.
The idea was a hit, and I almost started crying. After that, everything just kind of flowed perfectly. I met four couples yesterday, some opposite-sex, some same-sex, all super happy to be getting married that day. I’m actually on the official camera rolls of one of the couples, which was so fun.
I wanted to share this with you all simply because it was fun. And appreciated. Small gestures as allies can go a long way toward showing people how much others care. Pride is happening up in San Francisco this weekend, and I’m sure it’s going to be one of the most amazing on record. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to take part, but being around yesterday’s couples totally filled a need to be outside doing something that I didn’t realize I had been missing. It’s been a whirlwind couple weeks of events for our nation, between the events Charleston and SCOTUS’ decisions on the ACA and FHA. I’ve been outside my bubble of close friends and family, so going out and doing something fun simply for the sake of doing it was refreshing. And seeing the joy of the happy couples getting married (and enjoying cake–who doesn’t love cake??) was so worth it.
Let’s be real, the upholding of the constitutionality of same-sex marriage (or, as we should probably call it, marriage) isn’t going to “fix” the discrimination LGBTQIA individuals face on a daily basis, in the same way that having a black president didn’t end racism. Multiple states still have no laws protecting the aforementioned individuals from being fired based on their sexual orientation. But yesterday was a step toward making a large portion of the US population feel like accepted citizens of our country. One good friend expressed her feelings as “overwhelming,” that she now felt like a full citizen of our country by being given the legal ability to marry the woman she loves. And yes, this friend is in California, where she could legally have done this since 2013. But there is something amazing about the knowledge that your marriage options aren’t limited by the state you live in, that all people who feel as you do have the same right to marriage as any heteromonogamous couple.
This isn’t the first major decision on who can marry whom this country has gone through. Anti-Miscegenation laws in the United States weren’t officially deemed unconstitutional until 1967 in Loving v. Virginia. Spanning from all non-whites in several southern states, to laws specifically including Blacks, Asians, and Native Americans in countless others, anti-miscegenation laws are generally recognized as racist today (though trust me, there are many exceptions). But these laws were justified with the Bible in the same way that laws against same-sex marriage have been justified my whole life.
I can’t fully understand the joy so many of my friends yesterday. And while yes, my partner and I do sometimes get dirty looks when we’re out together, I generally go from day-to-day without my current relationship being questioned by anyone (in fact, generally it’s pretty encouraged). But knowing that even fifty years ago, that wouldn’t have been the case (hell, it wouldn’t have even been legal), breaks my heart.
I could talk about the separation of church and state, or Judao-Christian values. I could be an utter snob and translate some biblical Hebrew or Greek to show off my MA knowledge. But trust me, it doesn’t work. Instead, I’m choosing to focus on the looks on the faces of brides and grooms I saw yesterday, the joy that literally radiated off of them. I’ll focus on those friends who expressed relief for finally feeling a part of this crazy project we call America. And I’ll feel grateful that a small step was made toward improving the quality of life of so many families across our country, families who will now have inheritance rights, death benefits, health insurance, and access to most of the basic economic and social rights so many of us take for granted.