Today is a historic day for civil rights in America. By declaring DOMA unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has stated that the U.S. Government can no longer deny federal benefits to same sex couples. This means that people like my uncles, who have been in a committed relationship for over 20 years, will now receive the same rights that my parents have. Personally, I feel reconnected to my American identity, and am proud of the progress we have made in recent years. Today gives promise to the hope that we can and will change when our nation isn’t fair and just. It’s a victory not only for the LGBTT community and those rejoicing with friends, family and loved ones, but also a victory for all who devote their lives to fight for what is constitutionally and ethically right.
While today’s ruling was monumental and imperative, we have a long way to go. There are still 37 states in our country that must shift legislation on same sex marriage before equality for same-sex couples is reached. But the real work lies in deconstructing the core of where the fear around same-sex couples comes from. Homophobia and intolerance continue to play a strong role in many households, schools, media and religious institutions in our country. Without directly addressing the real issues and where they stem from, America’s momentum towards justice will be stagnant and insincere.
This ruling gives us all an opportunity to address equality for same-sex couples in our homes, our schools and our social circles. We must continue to have dialogue and discussions around this issue, and push ourselves past the point of what’s comfortable and socially accepted. We, especially those of us whose rights are secure, are challenged to not sit passively in this crucial moment of cultural progress. True change lives in the minds and hearts of the people that make up our country, and must be cultivated, not mandated. We all have a part to play.