Exactly three months ago, I joined the demonstration outside the Supreme Court in support of the repeal of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. Yesterday, we expected and received victory. I had to be there.
Freezing low temperatures in March were replaced by intense rays of the sun in late June.
Days before, I had my eyes glued on SCOTUSblog for updates on opinions, speculations, informed predictions, and to read on some landmark decisions of the Court. On Tuesday, I read in full the Court’s Opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which I thought could well be a precedent for the marriage cases before us. Indeed, it was mentioned at least 8 times in Windsor. I haven’t read the Windsor or Perry decisions yet, but here’s a snippet from Lawrence, which I highly recommend reading in full (yes, including Scalia’s dissent, which mocks this section of the Opinion):
Yesterday was also the 10th year anniversary of this decision. How providential. Thank you again, Justice Kennedy, for these powerful words that I’m sure are reflected in Windsor. And of course, Justice Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor, and my personal hero Justice Ginsburg for joining in the landmark decision. <3
Since the reading of the Opinions are never televised, we had to rely on liveblogs from the press inside the courtroom. “We have DOMA,” SCOTUSblog announced a couple minutes after 10:00. As the decision on DOMA was handed down, a guy in a pink tank top ran wildly through the crowd. He appeared to have been assigned (or self-appointed) to announce our victory.
And then it’s real: DOMA had indeed been struck down, 5-4: “DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.” I had the privilege of breaking this news to the lady next to me whose technological device was perhaps not reloading well. The atmosphere was glorious. My heart soared. As I told Chris, I had never felt that giddy since the day I found out I succeeded to be class valedictorian in my high school. Except this one was not about me, it’s about a movement, a strongly discriminated group; it’s about love, liberty, equality, and yes…the pursuit of happiness (read above). Love won against hate.
Speaking of this movement, I was reminded of a segment from The Rachel Maddow Show where she talked about the long-standing struggle for gay rights. She compared it to the light from the stars we see at night: those stars are soooo far away that it takes years, decades for their light to reach us. Sometimes, by the time the light reaches us, the star may have already been gone. I thought this was a marvelous analogy, and teared up the first time I watched it. She showed clips from 1971 of gay activists trying to get married. Today, they are gone, but oh how happy they would have been. We celebrate because of the work they had started, because of the light they had cast decades ago. Thank you.
This was also from yesterday. The banner references Justice Ginsburg’s comment on gay marriages being treated like “skim milk marriages” compared to heterosexual “whole milk” marriages. Rachel Maddow has a cocktail response to this, too. Above.
When the crowd had somehow died down, Chris and I went inside the Supreme Court. It was my first time in that grand marble building, where I saw the courtroom where history was just made a few minutes before we entered:
My main reason for wanting to go inside was to visit the Supreme Court gift shop and purchase the cookbook of recipes from Martin Ginsburg, late husband of Justice Ginsburg. I found out about it from SCOTUSblog, and am looking forward to trying out some of the recipes in it:
(If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I’ve been spending some time in the kitchen lately. This past month, I made some very good Southern-style spicy fried chicken (the secret is the buttermilk+tabasco marinade, in case you’re interested), pudding made from leftover pancakes, and some ‘to die for’ blueberry muffins.)
Because you enter the building from the side entrance, we felt compelled to exit from the main door, overlooking the crowd below. We saw some of the important people who made this historic day happen. I was starstruck.
Sandra Stier and Kristin Perry, as in the Perry of Hollingsworth v. Perry (the Prop 8 case)
Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo, also plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case
We also saw Barney Frank, who was apparently the first open gay politician in the US, and other personalities. I wanted to see Edie Windsor, but I didn’t see her because she wasn’t there. It was hot and we were hungry, so we ate, left, and quietly celebrated.
LEAVE A COMMENT
Google was proud.