Dear Edie Windsor,
Today is the 13th. day of the new regime in the oval office that is apparently now the cesspool from whence both tweets and executive orders spew forth with reckless abandon and no regard for the rights of the citizens of the republic which they were elected to serve.
As the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, you must be particularly saddened at the sights and sounds of the past few days in our nation’s airports where innocent travelers’ lives were interrupted, families were separated and our American values of welcome and acceptance to those trusting us for safe harbor were randomly impugned. Shame on this administration and shame on us if we don’t fight them like you fought your entire life for the causes of social justice and equality for all.
But today I want to give you some good news that is my way of saying thank you for the journey you took for marriage equality in the LGBT community. The Supreme Court ruling in June, 2013 for your case the United States v. Windsor has been described as “the most influential legal precedent in the struggle for LGBT marriage equality.” The dominoes of discrimination against us began to topple and fall after that ruling and before you could say two shakes of a lamb’s tail, my partner Teresa and I were the first same-sex couple to be granted our marriage license in November, 2014 in Richland County, South Carolina – the 35th. state to recognize equality.
I can’t tell you the number of LGBT marriages that have taken place in our state since then, but I regularly see pictures of weddings via social media and personal messages of young people and older ones, too, tying the proverbial knot, as our straight friends have always said. It’s a good thing.
Yet, this weekend, in the midst of an unbelievable national wave of hatefulness and exclusion, my wife and I went to a shower for two young lesbians who are getting married next month – a natural next step in their belief for the pursuit of happiness as they see it. It was a festive fun evening with the usual “games” for the brides-to-be, great southern barbecue with all the trimmings, a special Signature Cocktail (which I can personally endorse) and champagne for everyone.
What made this particular shower different, however, was that the hosts were eleven straight couples with a plus one…all of them friends of the parents of one of the brides-to-be. The parents of both brides were there, and everyone celebrated the upcoming nuptials. As I mingled and talked with our friends who were the hosts, I felt I was in a different universe from the one where I didn’t dare to dream about marrying another girl when I was growing up in rural southeast Texas in the 1950s. It was if a magic carpet had transported me from a land of ignorance to a place of enlightenment. Truly remarkable.
And so I wanted to share this joyful time with you, Edie, because you are one of the major reasons these two young women have the same hopes and dreams for their family that their straight friends do.
Believe me when I say you were there in spirit. They may not even realize who you are and what you have done for them, but I want to simply say “I do,” and I’m forever indebted.
(reprinted with permission of Auntie Bellum magazine: http://auntiebellum.org/mag/ )