Dear Mr. Steward,
June 26, 2015 will go down in history as one of the most momentous days for a gay American. Pleas from the heart of Ohio and the hills of Tennessee were answered by the most hallowed institution of American jurisprudence. The Supreme Court finally granted us equal recognition under the law.
Justice Kennedy wrote:
Right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.
– Majority opinion, Obergefell v. Hodges
I thought of you the instant I read the news. I wish you were alive to experience this moment. Your courage paved the way to this day; yours and all your contemporaries’ who defied discrimination for the sake of your individual – sacred and profane – identities. Today the highest Court of our land heard you.
This marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Despite its impact on American law and society, today’s Court ruling will have little immediate influence on those who oppose gay marriage. In fact, today’s ruling may incite and initially increase violence and sexual-orientation-motivated crime.
In a society that continues to battle phenotypical prejudice – where being black makes life inherently more dangerous – this institutional attack on conservative religious beliefs and social customs will most certainly invite backlash. This would require community solidarity and impervious vigilance.
Human beings are creatures of habit, and society is a massive engine slugging by the force of that collective habit. Change, therefore, does not come easily. But a friend once sang to me, “Change is good.” And Justice Kennedy wrote, “Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations.”
So now that change has arrived, let us build this more perfect Union.