I remember covering the marriage equality demonstrations in Chicago in 2004, and interviewing a young woman who had been on the phone with her partner. She was pacing up and down in front of City Hall fretting. “She’s late. She’s late for our wedding. Late on our wedding day.” And for some reason (maybe because I was late to my own wedding, something Mr. A has yet to let me live down), that was what got to me.
Not that I’d ever been anti-gay-marriage, but being a straight girl the reality hadn’t been something I’d ever had to consider. That woman, though, made me consider it. She was a bride, nervous about the arrival of her love, just as I’d been. And the look on her face when her fiancée finally came running up the walk — apologizing profusely for her tardiness, carrying flowers — reminded me of the look on my husband’s when I walked up the aisle.
The couple I talked to wasn’t married that day, though they stood in the hallway of the County Clerk’s office, quietly insisting, “Marry us, or marry no one.” No one was married that day; the protest ended when the office closed. They will be married one day, though, they and many others across this country. People were so nervous in 2004, that seeing all those weddings in San
Francisco would set the cause of equality back decades, and it seemed,
in the aftermath of the 2004 elections and again in the aftermath of
Proposition 8, that maybe America would never get on board with what
was right. But that’s not the way it’s going to stay. Look at those faces from Iowa.
Joy is infectious. Love is contagious. Faced with love, faced with the reality of love, it’s no wonder the
tide of public opinion in this country has changed, so that even people
who HAD been uncomfortable with the idea of full civil equality changed
their minds. When you are happy, you want happiness for everyone. When you are safe, you want safety for all. This is how we grow, how we expand the circle of those we call our own, by admitting everybody. There is no other way this happens. There is no other choice. We take one another’s hands, toss the bouquet, and step out into the world together.