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As we commemorate the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk, our recent trip to Japan to speak about marriage equality made clear how Harvey’s call to come out is just as important as ever.
Significantly fewer LGBT Japanese have come out than their American counterparts, and LGBT Japanese are a much less visible part of society and the media than in the U.S. The Japanese people we met gave us insight into how coming out in Japan is similar to, and different from, America.
The latest California public opinion poll shows record support for marriage equality — 64% of likely voters and 61% percent of all adults. This news made us realize how wonderful it is when dreams really do come true, and when political goals that once seemed impossible are actually achieved. When the U.S. Supreme Court rulings ended Prop 8 and Section 3 of DOMA this summer, we wrote a press release for Marriage Equality USA saying that there would now be “more love and more marriage” than ever before. Yet we didn’t anticipate fully just how it would feel, landing somewhere over the rainbow — where instead of rallying for marriage equality in front of City Hall, we were getting invited to weddings inside City Hall. And for the first time we started having a whole new relationship to these weddings – in addition to getting wedding invitations, we started being invited to officiate. There truly is no better reward for a marriage equality activist!
All summer long, it has been amazing to see the marriage map changing day by day as weddings performed by county clerks in New Mexico and Pennsylvania have proven once again that the marriage equality landscape has completely changed since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings this June. Watching joyful couples lining up in county after county has been a wonderful reminder of the power we have on the local level to create national change – a lesson we learned almost a decade ago on the steps of San Francisco City Hall.
By John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney,
Marriage Equality USA
It was perhaps one of the last things we thought we’d hear in a gay bar in the heart of the Castro. But at a recent Friday evening happy hour at Hi Tops, we saw two attractive young men eagerly approaching each other, and when we overheard their greeting to each other it went something like this: “Did you get your biography in yet? Yes, we just did it today! That’s great – so did we! We’re so excited! Which adoption agency are you using…?” Definitely a sign of the times — on a Friday night in a gay bar in the Castro, among other things, gay couples were discussing their hopes and dreams for having kids and raising families. And we were even more surprised when we heard the two men remark that gay male couples tend to receive babies through adoption more quickly than straight couples.
Winning Rhode Island and Beyond
By Thom Watson, Marriage Equality USA
I was poised to write this column as a speculation about which state would be the tenth to recognize civil marriage equality for same-sex couples, joining nine other states and the District of Columbia where the freedom to marry is already guaranteed.
Would it be Delaware, where the House recently passed a marriage equality bill, just five days after the bill’s introduction?
By Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA
Last week as we were busily collecting our 2012 receipts, W-2 and 1099 forms and preparing to hit the send button on our income tax returns, we thought maybe, just maybe, this year might be the last that legally married lesbian and gay couples will have to lie to their federal government about the nature of their love and relationships and file their taxes as supposedly single people. If the United States Supreme Court in the historic United States v. Windsor case upholds its duty to enforce the Constitution and strikes down section 3 of the misnamed Defense of Marriage Act, this indignity and real cost to thousands of same-sex couples will finally end. For many lesbian and gay couples, not being able to file their taxes jointly means writing a check to the same federal government that openly discriminates against them for thousands of more dollars – money that they, just like anyone else, could use for health care, retirement, emergencies, or a down payment on a house.