June 26th, 2015: The Day Love Won.
I just recently accepted a new job. I mused that it will be the first time that I am making more money per year than I was when I was 23, almost 10 years ago.
Nate responded in kind, “at least you aren’t a bank manager.”
It’s true. The last 9 years have been a struggle. I’ve reimagined myself, learned a great deal about the world, and I’ve emerged better for it.
When I was working at the bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, I was a conservative Christian Republican. A woman I worked with was gay, and she pleaded with the bank staff to vote for equal marriage rights for LGBTQ. I voted against it, against her. I didn’t believe that gay marriage should’ve been rewarded or recognized for anyone other than a man and a woman. I helped to deny her access to equality under the law because I was a bigot. I helped to keep her, and the woman she loved, from being able to marry.
We Make Mistakes, But We Should Learn From Them.
My personal change didn’t happen over night. It took a long time to shake the bias and hatred from my heart. I had to shed the closed-mindedness that I had learned as a child in school, in church, and at home. I had to see the world through my own eyes.
As I went back to college to read and learn, the shift began. I started seeing the world as someone other than myself. I learned that The United States was not the bastion of freedom and equality and liberty and opportunity I once fully believed it was. Instead, I learned that people are suffering, gun violence is out of control, the planet is being destroyed, corruption is rampant and unchecked, and large population did not have access to the freedoms guaranteed to all people in the constitution.
In college I met a more diverse set of people. Marcus High School in Flower Mound was not the most diverse school. In college I was around people of all skin colors, religious beliefs (or lack thereof), sexualities, and sexual preferences. I learned about American selfishness and our strong ties to religious fundamentalism, despite Separation of Church and State. More importantly, I learned that people are people, buddy, and everyone deserves the opportunity to be happy, regardless. But I had to step back and gain perspective, and it took time. I see the mistakes I had made previously, and I began working to correct them.
I didn’t only change my mind about these issues, but I felt remorse for being so narrow-minded and hateful. I was ignorant and my ignorance caused harm.
“…One Small Step for (a) Man. One Giant Leap for Mankind”
But today is a great day, buddy boy, a giant leap forward in the fight for equality. The Supreme Court of The United States has made gay marriage a constitutional right. This will be widely considered the biggest Supreme Court decision in my lifetime, and maybe yours. It has been a fight waged largely out of the public’s eyes, until the last 15 years or so. Until recently, public opinion was against gay marriage.
However, we’ve grown and learned and changed our minds, collectively. My generation has begun speaking up against the established rules, fighting against the conservative, closed-minded laws that limit freedom. We have a voice, and our voice is finally being heard.
There are still many battles to be fought and won, but today we’ll celebrate the victory: all people have the right to marry who they love, a right that should’ve always existed as fundamental.
Let the Fabulous Parties Begin
You’re going to be reading about this in the history books one day, kiddo. I’m proud to say that many of us, even in a conservative state like Texas, were on the right side of history. Unfortunately, it took me too long to get there, but I made it and I fought for what I believed in, for what I always believed The United States was, a bastion for freedom. Today I am happy to say I am neither a branch manager or closed minded. It’s been a long journey, but every moment has been worth it.
We’ve taken a leap in the right direction today. Tomorrow let’s continue to fight for what we believe in and make this country a place for which we can be proud.
Today, let’s celebrate marriage equality and remember the people who preceded us, throughout our country’s history, who did not have the freedoms awarded today, June 26th, 2015.