Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Closure from Hawaii

Hawaii has become the 16th US state to adopt marriage equality, which is a big deal for the people of the Aloha State. The bigger deal is the closure this brings.

The fight over marriage equality began in Hawaii. I wrote about that back in August:
Many people forget that it was actually a 1993 decision by the Hawaii Supreme Court, Baehr v. Lewin, that led a few years later, in 1996, to the infamous "Defense [sic] of Marriage Act". The USA's rightwing was terrified that if Hawaii legalised marriage for same-gender couples, the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution would force all states to recognise those marriages. Of course, DOMA went much farther, also denying federal benefits to legally-married gay couples—of which there were NONE in the USA in 1996!
That wound, opened 20 years ago, is now closing. DOMA is struck down. 16 US states—nearly one third of the states—have now adopted marriage equality. If that’s not a tipping point…

I keep mentioning all this because the pace of change has been so quick lately that many forget how long this has been going on. There are so many people who have brought us to this point—many of whom I actually know—and I think it’s important to remember those who brought us to where we are.

So, whenever we have one of these victories for fairness and justice, I think of all the people who helped in whatever way, big or small, to make that possible. So, in that spirit, thanks to my friend Kyle in Hawaii for his work on this. He’s the only one I know, but I bet he’d rather we focus on others. I say, let’s focus on everyone who helps make these things happen.

This is only the start. Marriage equality WILL be in all 50 US states far sooner than any of us realises. And when it arrives, there will be plenty of people to thank. And, it will have been a long time coming.

Photo: By the uploader (Own work; taken by the uploader) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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