Congratulations, My American Friends!

The sun beat down on me the day I married Sandra. There was a slight breeze in the air that soothed my anxious skin. I was so nervous and jittery. Was I really doing this? Was I sure? Holy. Shit. I had met the love of my life, and while there was a time when I didn’t think I would ever be able to get married, this was it: suddenly I could. Thanks to couples who came before and fought for all of us, I had realized a sort of equality that I assumed would never be afforded me. I nervously puffed on my cigarette and looked on in awe at the arriving guests.

I couldn’t look at Sandra before the ceremony began. My bordering-on-OCD brain believed the old trope that it’s bad luck to see the bride before the ceremony. We had decided to walk down the aisle together with my mom and her dad, the two of us side by side in the middle, but as we stood waiting for the procession to begin, I could barely acknowledge her. I couldn’t stand the thought that I might jinx everything. She would later tell me that the moment when I wouldn’t look at her terrified her.

The ceremony itself was a bit of a blur. I can only remember parts of it. As I gazed into her eyes (when I was finally able to make eye contact), I knew she was all that mattered to me. I felt so safe. So loved. So happy. I still do. I have a loving wife who supports me through the deepest, the best, the most beautiful, and the darkest times. We’re there for each other in sickness and health.

That was almost 8 years ago. Being enfranchised in this way; having our union validated and recognized by our government is no small thing. Should anything happen to me, Sandra can sit by my bedside in the hospital. We have access to every single benefit that heterosexual married couples have had the privilege of taking for granted all this time. Ten years since the right to marriage equality was federally enacted in Canada, it’s largely viewed as a no-brainer now that this is as it should be, which brings me to a significant point:

Rightwing pundits and politicians will fight back. Their narrative will include sobbing and hand-wringing about its being the “end of days” and they’ll say that we’re attacking their faith. They’ll talk about Sodom and Gomorrah. They’ll say we’re trying to recruit their kids. They’ll talk about the sin we commit in daring to love one another. Their talking points are endless but they are also ridiculous. You can stand this. You can keep fighting.

Not long after same-sex marriage was legally recognized in Canada, our next Prime Minister took steps to repeal it. Sandra and I were engaged at this point, and we watched the case closely. We were prepared to elope quickly if he succeeded. I remember being glued to CPAC’s coverage of the debates. It was emotionally trying and frankly angering. He lost, however, and our wedding plans continued.

This landmark United States Supreme Court decision came down this morning, and various governors and other politicians are already invoking “states’ rights” (which can be loosely translated, as is the case with some framings of the current Confederate flag debate, as the right to be overtly bigoted). You have a federal election coming up, and your lives will be scrutinized, criticized, lied about, vilified, and essentially put through the wringer in every way. I’m here to implore you to remain firm in your resolve, American friends. You can do this. #LoveWins, and you will win. You already have.

My wife and I were honoured to be featured in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights’s same-sex marriage niche. We have our very own feature wall. Here’s an excerpt from something I told them in preparation for this exhibit:

In terms of advancements made in LGBT rights it’s a proud day at the end of a tremendous Pride Month. Your President and your highest court are recognizing you in unprecedented ways. Is there more work to do? Hell. Yes. Advances must be made in terms of rights for transgender people, in civil rights for communities of colour, and at essentially every intersectional point of identity. But with today’s phenomenal Supreme Court decision, I’m loving this trajectory. HAPPY PRIDE!!!


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