Road to Equality – Revisiting the Obama Presidency

President Barack Obama was the first American President I ever heard who openly supported marriage equality for LGBT citizens. My emotions were a mixture of joy and amazement the first time I heard him say the words. I felt an overwhelming sense of validation because a President of the United States declared my love for Teresa was as deserving of respect as his love for Michelle. He set me free with his words, my personal emancipation proclamation.

He is also responsible for the appointments of two Supreme Court Justices without whom the votes on the bench could have gone differently. The road to marriage equality would have been a much longer one without the support of this American President throughout his presidency. His is a legacy of love.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage?

Ask the Supremes

(originally published April 04, 2013)

The dust has settled after the media frenzy surrounding the Supreme Court hearings on two cases affecting the future of same-sex marriage in the United States. Whew! The gays and gay-friendlies partied. Jon Stewart skewered DOMA and its supporters on Comedy Central. The Republicans tried desperately to find someone – ANYONE – in their party to explain their position on marriage on CNN in a way that the general citizenry wouldn’t characterize as narrow-minded at best or bigoted at worst. That search is ongoing and a generous reward is offered to the finder.

The hearings are over and the rulings expected in June. Eight Associate Justices and the Chief Justice hold the key to opening doors of equality that have been slammed shut since the founding fathers held these truths to be Self-evident in the Declaration of Independence in 1776. “…That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I am amazed to realize I have seen all of these Supremes don the robes of the Court at the end of the required appointment process…

… Justice Sonia Sotomayor … is a Yale graduate who was appointed by President Barack Obama. She is the sole Hispanic Supreme. Justice Elena Kagan is another Obama appointee …at the time of her appointment she was Dean of the Harvard Law School…

In summation, Your Honors, I find that the fate of same-sex marriage in the United States in 2013 rests with folks who graduated either from Yale or Harvard law schools and were born in the New York/ New Jersey area on the East Coast or California on the West Coast with one stray Southerner thrown in for good measure. Well, maybe not good measure, but certainly thrown in.

The question before us today is whether this hodgepodge of political appointees will take its place in history as the Court that restores the unalienable rights of a minority of its LGBT citizens who have been made to feel “lesser than” and treated with discrimination that often threatens their Lives and their Liberty and always endangers their pursuit of Happiness.

I respectfully ask the Court to stand and deliver on the promises that have been the hopes and dreams of all Americans for more than two hundred years.

I rest my case.

 Let’s Hear It for the Supremes!

(originally published June 26, 2013)

Well, I never.  No, really, I never.  Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to give equal federal treatment to same-sex marriage in the twelve states and District of Columbia that recognize these marriages is a stunning pivotal day in our nation’s history of constitutional revelation.  I honestly thought this day was my dream to be realized in a future generation.

And while I understand the significance of this ruling for our country and for the message it sends around the world to other nations about American civil liberties, today the political became personal.

I share this day especially with the woman I love, a woman who has been with me through the battles in our state for justice and equality for the past twenty years and a woman who raised a son during difficult times of  hurtful discrimination against them both.  We live in the states of South Carolina and Texas which are states that are unaffected by this ruling.  Yet we celebrate with our brothers and sisters who will benefit from the victory today and we will continue to work until all of us are treated fairly and have the opportunity to pursue happiness.  Teresa, I share this day with you.

I have many personal heroes during the past twenty years of my activism in South Carolina – both sung and unsung.  I am grateful to all of them for the labor we’ve made together in the days before Will and Grace and afterwards.

But today is Edith Windsor day for me.  I will forever remember the petite 84-year-old lesbian from New York who changed the course of history with an outrageous act and a not-so-everyday rebellion.  Thank you, Edie.



About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
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2 Responses to Road to Equality – Revisiting the Obama Presidency

  1. A very special day indeed. Let us hope that all the fantastic achievements aren’t burnt to the ground by the anti Christ…

    Liked by 1 person

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