As the upcoming July 4th holiday approaches and plans get put into place for the accompanying fireworks and picnics, family reunions and parades, I have to admit that I am still trying to take in and make sense of everything that happened over the course of the past week.
Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States pretty much said that married same-sex couples are equally protected under the law. A torrent of well-deserved celebrations have followed, including thousands of weddings.
The same day that the rulings came down, we watched as a New York immigration judge stopped, in mid-hearing, the deportation proceedings against a bi-national same-sex relationship, citing the Supreme Court ruling that struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. With tens of thousands of couples vulnerable to a similar fate, it is extraordinary to think that more LGBTQ people can live openly without fear of being detained and permanently separated from their loved ones.
The following day, the United States Senate approved with bipartisan support a comprehensive immigration bill—the first step in fundamentally changing the inhumane, unjust, and arbitrary way that immigrants are treated. And then on Friday, just in time for pride celebration across the country, the Ninth Circuit Court lifted its stay against California same-sex couples getting married, allowing counties to immediately start issuing marriage licenses—a sweet victory after the devastating Prop 8 loss in 2008.
All of this joy and hope, however, has been tempered by the vigorous and never-ending attempts on full display in the last week to restrict voting rights and reproductive rights. These developments are a great reminder of how vigilant we all need to be about protecting the rights of all the members of our community: marriage rights are so important, but they are only a piece of the puzzle.
If we needed any inspiration to keep us going when things get tough, we now have Wendy Davis, the Texas State Senator, who prevented at least for a day the passage of some of the most draconian health laws that would have gutted any remaining reproductive rights for women in the Lone Star state. She stood up (in her running shoes) and refused to give up the battle.
Here’s to the great victories—and the next battle. There is no question we are marching forward. Thanks to everyone for all your contributions to this progress.