Saturday, December 28, 2013

Marriage Equality: It's How We Define Ourselves as Americans

When we, as Americans, seek to define what it is about us as Americans that makes us different, doesn't it come down to human rights? To our respect for each other, as citizens? Our respect for one another as fellow human beings?

And (whether one is a "believer" or not), isn't it all summed up in the Golden Rule?

From what I've learned over the years - since earliest childhood - that has been the real "American way," taught to us as our single established American quality and believed in throughout our nation's history.

And now we're seeing - in what one of my friends refers to as "the final battle for civil rights" - the move to marriage equality. We're breaking down the barriers to marriage equality, and when this great force becomes a single driver in American society, all Americans will have the right to marry the person they love.

It's an awesome (literally) time for Americans, a time all of us will look back on and be proud we were here, happy to have been Americans when marriage equality became our country's norm, for all Americans.

As we move into the final few days of this historic year, I'm particularly blessed to be able to write about marriage equality. We just celebrated our second anniversary, an anniversary full of joy and love and happiness that - had things stayed the way they were and had we not been New Yorkers in 2011 - would never have happened.

We chose to celebrate in Paris, since that seemed to sweetest place to be for a second anniversary (indeed, one friend, writing from Germany to congratulate us, suggested we create a new tradition, that the wedding-day anniversary always take place in Paris). And now we're home, wrapping up the year with much thanksgiving and looking forward to a 2014 with happy anticipation of more of the same.

As part of our celebration, we have pledged our support for marriage equality. We did it through the American Foundation for Equal Rights because we believe every American should be able to marry the person they love. We joined AFER and we support their mission to achieve full federal marriage equality.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights took the challenge to California’s Prop. 8 all the way to the Supreme Court. Their case permanently brought marriage equality to the nation’s most populous state and now AFER is joining a federal case in Virginia because no state government should limit the personal freedoms of its citizens. As a former Virginian, this case has special resonance for me, and I will anxiously await the outcome.

But no matter what happens in Virginia, marriage equality is on its way. If you don't believe me (or agree with me), take a look at 2013: A Historic Year for Marriage Equality. It's a terrific video, very short (just 3.36 minutes) and it will give you all you need to know to join me in my optimism - cautious optimism, yes, but optimism nonetheless.

[The Virginia case itself is described in a separate video (also short). Watch AFER's Work in Federal Court for Marriage Equality Continues in Virginia.]

We will have marriage equality in America, and we'll have it sooner rather than later. I firmly believe that, and I am very happy in my belief.

Go here and pledge your support for marriage equality. It's a very simple act, and it shows that you stand up for equality for every American and for the countless couples who want to get married.

It's time.

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