Wednesday's historic decision by the Supreme Court means that many couples who have already had their wedding celebrations have a new reason to celebrate. The federal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples provides a whole host of benefits to couples all across this nation. These couples include author and GLAAD friend Lesléa Newman and her spouse, Mary. The two have been together for twenty five years. On Thursday, Lesléa wrote a piece for Huffington Post Gay Voices about the Court's decision and what it means for her and her "beloved."
Lesléa and Mary had a big wedding in 1989, before DOMA and Prop 8 but also long before anyone even imagined state or federally recognized same-sex marriages. Their wedding (or their "commitzvah" as Lesléa calls it) was a declaration of their love, shared with those closest to them. They didn't do it for the legal benefits, there were none, they did it for fun and love. Just before their 15th wedding anniversary, Massachusetts became the first state with marriage equality. The couple waited until their actual anniversary and renewed their vows in a quiet ceremony between just the two of them and a Justice of the Peace.
This year the two will celebrate their 25th year of being a couple.
"What a wonderful present the supreme court has given us," Lesléa says, "the recognition that our union deserves all the federal rights and privileges bestowed upon any other couple."
Lesléa and Mary understand what the Court's ruling means. They understand how many couples will be positively impacted by their newly found access to survivor's benefits, immigration sponsorship, tax benefits, joint parenting rights, hospital visitation rights, as well as many other benefits, not to mention all the couples who can once again marry in California.
But she also imagines the children all over the country who are effected by the decision but who don't understand what really happened on Wednesday. Lesléa imagines the fictional character of Donovan from her book Donovan's Big Day, about a little boy who assists in his mommies' wedding, wondering why his moms "are laughing. And crying. And talking about getting married." All over the country, kids on Thursday woke up to a country where their families are more protected, even if they didn't know it.
There are also people like Heather from Lesléa's book Heather Has Two Mommies. Were Heather a real person, she would be close to thirty today. She would have been waiting nearly three decades for her family to receive the same recognition and protection that straight families have always gotten. Wednesday the long-time dream of same-sex parented families all across this nation was realized.
Still though, Lesléa recognizes that the fight is not over, saying, "I look forward to the day that gay marriage is recognized not only by the federal government, a dozen states, and the District of Columbia, but by all fifty states. That will be the biggest day of all."