I still can’t believe it; as I sit here writing, I’m in a state of surreal shock. Marriage equality has finally reached the entirety of my country. Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality on a national level and the overwhelming emotions from the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender Americans and all of our wonderful allies was truly magical.
In 2006 when I met the woman that I will be spending the rest of my life with, we couldn’t go to the courthouse and get married. As a transgender man that had yet to begin my transition, I was still viewed by society and government as a female and therefore, our marriage would be viewed as same-sex. In 2006 the only state in the United States that allowed same-sex marriage was Massachusetts which had passed marriage equality two years prior on May 17, 2004.
For eight long years my wife and I had to worry about what would happen to our children and each other if something happened to the other. Even after I began my transition and had all my gender markers changed, I didn’t feel like I had the right to get married when so many others of my brothers and sisters weren’t’ afforded the same rights. Especially so, when so many were those who had served in the Armed Forces to protect our nation.
It wasn’t until last year when the state that I now call home passed marriage equality, that we finally felt we could get married. On October 10, 2014, I married my soulmate, and while I didn’t think at first that there was going to be much of a difference, I was vastly wrong.
The worry of what would happen to our children if something happened to one of us was lifted. As a married couple my son was now her legal stepson and her son was now my legal stepson. We would now have legal grounds to fight to keep the family together. Our children wouldn’t have to worry about leaving the only family that they have known and be thrown into utter chaos if one of us passed away.
We now had the legal right to be with the other in the hospital, something that I had always worried about because my mother and father detest my wife for “making me transgender”. We have the right to be on each other’s insurance policy.
We have the right to finally be a family.
Yesterday that dream came true for countless LGBTQ families across the United States.
We have never wanted to invalidate anyone else’s marriage, or destroy the sanctity of marriage, or even redefine it. Those are all things that the extremists have done. The simple truth was we only wanted the same rights as other Americans across the country; we wanted the right to be able to be a family with the people that we love and care about.
“No longer may this liberty be denied, no union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.” -Justice Anthony M. Kennedy