Yesterday was an incredible day – I am still reeling. Kendra and I woke up to the softly padding footsteps of our daughter, Addison. As she crawled into our bed, I turned to my wife and whispered, “Happy Birthday.” Addie followed suit. Not long after, my nieces and nephew who were spending the night awoke, sending us into a half-hour of bathroom trips, teeth brushing, getting dressed, and smiles. It wasn’t long before we were out the door and on the way to one of our favorite breakfast spots.
We celebrated Kendra’s birthday over french toast, bacon, sausages, and pancakes. After eating our fill, we stopped back home to pull on swimsuits and grab sunscreen, before heading to my Auntie’s for a morning of swimming in the pool with more of the cousins. Kendra stayed behind to wait for the plumber. (Addie had decided the bathtub drain was a good place to keep her bouncy ball, which led to some unfortunate consequences.)
Just a few minutes after I left, Kendra called in tears.
“They struck it down. DOMA was struck down.”
It was the Supreme Court decision we’d been praying for – the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented our legal Massachusetts marriage from being recognized on a federal level, was declared unconstitutional. I cried with her.
In 2014, I can file a joint tax return with my wife. We are no longer going to be taxed on our health insurance benefits. If, God forbid, something happens to one of us, the other can collect social security and does not have to pay inheritance tax on the house. Our friends married to folks from other countries can finally petition for green cards for their spouses.
Yet these benefits do not extend to all gay Americans. Those living outside of the 13 states that permit same-sex marriage still cannot marry, and in many places they cannot adopt, and also face the prospect of losing their housing or being fired because they are gay. I can’t help but think of the similarities to the 13 British colonies in America, which offered many more religious and civic freedoms than found in Great Britain. Though not all the colonists enjoyed these benefits, it was a more inclusive land than England. Perhaps this is the start of a new revolution – one for the inclusiveness and full equality for LGBT Americans.
We may not be there yet in terms of full equality, but yesterday the LGBT community took a giant leap forward. We ended our evening with dinner with friends, (two of whom are getting married on Saturday – a marriage that will come with federal benefits and recognition from day one!) and an Indigo Girls concert.
I can’t think of a better way to have celebrated Kendra’s birthday, her 29th week of pregnancy with our twins, and the fall of DOMA, than surrounded by LGBT folks, listening to the Indigo Girls, and watching my daughter dance her heart out.