The Supreme Court ruled this morning that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
As the first out lesbian Harbor Commissioner in San Mateo County it is with great joy that I share this story with you.
1969 was my birth year and the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement. The Stonewall riots took place June 28, 1969 in Greenwich Village. In April, 1993 I was twenty-three years old and a photography student at the Atlanta College of Art. That year I made a road trip to Washington, DC to take part in the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. My friends and I drove all night through a heavy rainstorm to make it in time for the lesbian march, affectionately referred to as the Dyke March. It was scheduled for the night before the main march. This tradition continues today, the Dyke March is held the day before the San Francisco Pride Parade, and in many other cities. In DC thousands of women turned out from all over the Southeast and East Coast and took over the streets around the Capitol. I remember running though the crowd in a pair of old combat boots and carrying a camera while women around me chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Jesse Helms has got to go.”
The next day a mass wedding took place at noon on the mall. The AIDS Memorial Quilt covered almost every blade of grass, from the Washington Monument to the Capitol. Chants that day included: “Act Up! Fight Back! Fight AIDS!” and “We’re here. We’re queer. We’re not going away.” It was estimated that one million LGBTQ people were in DC for the March on Washington. The mood was optimistic and at age twenty-three I believed marriage equality might be around the corner.
Later that day I took the train to visit my relatives in Bowie, Maryland. My mother’s youngest brother and his two sons met me at the train station. Uncle Coerte worked as an astrophysicist at NASA and the first question he asked was, “Why are you in town? This is a terrible time to visit, the gays have taken over, and traffic is a mess. The special interest groups are ruining things.”
I realized the side-trip to visit my relatives might have been a mistake. I did not visit my uncle again until the summer of 2008 while on a business trip to Annapolis. This time I met Coerte, aunt Wendy and cousin Eric at my hotel and we had dinner at a restaurant overlooking the harbor. It was awkward at first. I think they might have felt uneasy about missing my wedding to Aimee Luthringer the summer before in British Columbia. After a round of drinks we were in good spirits and discussing the upcoming presidential election. I was happy that they were supporting Obama and my cousin Eric asked, “At what age did you know you were gay?”
It has been a long, steep path to equality with many setbacks along the way. On Tuesday, May 26, 2009, I took the day off work to photograph San Francisco’s reaction to the California Supreme Court decision on Prop 8.
We've fought hard for the US Supreme Court victory today. The nationwide right to same-sex marriage is a game changer in the red states.
Great job by justices Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsburg, Breyer and majority opinion by Kennedy!
Thank you for your continued support.