Today, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear Utah's appeal concerning same-sex marriage in this state.
This is what this decision means to me. For starters,
The State of Utah is now required to recognize this:
And the State of Utah is required to recognize families like this:
And the State of Utah is now required to accept love like this:
And the State of Utah is required to recognize that gay and lesbian people exist. There is no more state-sactioned societal closet.
Like hundreds of thousands of other gay men, I grew up in a time when a realization that one was gay - that one was queer, a homo, a faggot - was in most cases a death knell to the blossoming of one's individuality, one's personhood. This mental illness called homosexuality - for such it was considered until 1973 - was to be suppressed at all costs.
One learned to hate oneself. Growing up in a religious environment, one also learned that, while others merited God's love, I - and others like me - did not. No matter how hard one tried to believe otherwise, the tides of self-hatred were too strong. Repress. Suppress. Carry on.
Perhaps there would be some way to redeem myself. I thought I had found the path out of "homo hell" when I converted to the Mormon faith as a young man and embarked upon the "way of happiness." I married. I raised children. I loved to the best of my ability. But as the song, "Blessing" states, "every day a bit of me died." I could not redeem what could not be redeemed. Nor, as it turned out, could God ... because even He cannot redeem what needs no redemption.
Four years ago this month, I came out of the closet amidst the death throws of my marriage. Three years ago, I met a man with whom I fell deeply in love. Today, I share my life and my family with him. We had a commitment ceremony a little over a year ago and were married last spring in Hawaii.
Now, as of today, there will no more need for "commitment ceremonies" in the State of Utah.
Now, as of today, I can hold my head even higher in the community in which we live, because the State of Utah is required to recognize that gay and lesbian people exist. We exist. We love.
Finally, as of today, the State of Utah is required to legally recognize that who I - as a gay man - am worthy of protection by the government of the United States of America and the State of Utah.
All of this and more is what today's Supreme Court decision means to me.