Local Reaction to SCOTUS’s Ruling on Marriage Equality

Compiled by PQ Monthly staff

As news spreads of this morning’s historic decision by the Supreme Court, which in a 5-4 vote ruled that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions — via the 103-page decision on Obergefell v. Hodges — comes reaction from local leaders in the LGBTQ community.

(Scroll down for info. on today’s “SCOTUS Decision on Marriage Equality Lunchtime Rally for LGBTQ Equality,” starting at noon at Terry Schrunk Plaza.)

Kendall Clawson, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and new Executive Director of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon, calls the decision “a spectacular moment in our history…not only for LGBT people, but for all Americans.”

We have choices in how we live our lives, and legalizing the right for all people to love and marry the person who they love is what we should all want for each other.

The decision by the Supreme Court opens the door for each of us to simply dream of and meet our true love, plan our perfect wedding and make the commitment to marriage on equal legal footing.  But at its core, this ruling solidifies our right to live in a world that protects and celebrates what we know to be that initial rush of feeling that steadies itself into a sustainable flow of committed love for another person. This is about the protection of our right to be respected and valued and humane to one another as people living in community. And this is about love and equity for all.

Finally, there are no more qualifiers like “gay marriage” or “same sex marriage”. It is just marriage and it is just love. So on this historic day, and every day that follows,  it is just about love. It is just about love. It is just about love.

Roey Thorpe, Director of Advocacy Programs for Equality Federation, says “the emotion of the Supreme Court decision has knocked me over. … I can’t stop crying.”

I remember election night in 2004, struggling to understand how we could lose the Measure 36 campaign when we knew we were on the side of love and fairness.  What happened next was both epic and utterly simple:  we didn’t give up.  We doubled down, we metabolized all that sadness and outrage into passion and determination.

People talk about momentum and tides turning without thinking about what it takes to make that happen. Which is how it should look: effortless, inevitable. But we know different, that today love won because of the multitude of people in Oregon and across the country who have sacrificed so much so that we could get to this moment.

And so today’s Supreme Court ruling holds a very special meaning: that we can–and have– changed the world for the better, and that we should take the long view even when it seems like we’re losing. The world needs people who know this, and know how to do it.

What’s next?  Let’s take all that beautiful energy and make sure that tragedies like the one in Charleston never happen again, that if love is love then hate is hate, and that every life lost to racism or bigotry is unconscionable. Let’s start by putting an end to gun violence and reform our corrupt and racist justice system, and demand accountability from law enforcement and from each other.  We have been given the gift of knowing our own potential, and it’s up to us to build it into something bigger than any of us could dream.

Portland attorney Lake Perriguey, who in July 2013 initiated the federal court challenge to Oregon’s ban on same-gender marriages, begins: “The choice to marry, or not to marry, is a fundamental right, even for gay and lesbian people, and the government may not violate the guarantee of equal protection of the laws by excluding gay and lesbian people from full participation in this fundamental civil right.”

The Supreme Court today recognized and respected the inherent human dignity of gay and lesbian people…and appreciated as vital the choices that we make as gay and lesbian individuals, and how these choices relate to laws created by other human beings that might reduce our dignity and limit our choices in a manner that is different than the way those laws affect straight people.

The dignity afforded by our government to gay and lesbian people is, today, finally equal to that of other citizens in our country.  No more.  No less.

And this dignity applies to the fundamental choice of whether to marry…or whether to stay a lifelong bachelor/ette.  It it not the government’s, nor a majority of voters’ whim, to limit this decision for us.

This case is about much more than marriage.   The Supreme Court decision recognizes that gay and lesbian people are entitled to personal dignity and autonomy when it comes to making fundamental choices, and to the civic equality when the government holds a monopoly in handing out certain rights and privileges.

The Supreme Court’s recognition and affirmation of our inherent dignity as gay and lesbian people will inspire and quicken the spirit of our country, young and old, gay and straight and queer and trans, as will collectively celebrate our Nation’s inclusivity in recognizing these fundamental principles of what it means to be a citizen.

Jeana Frazzini, Co-Director of Basic Rights Oregon, tells PQ Monthly, “Today’s ruling was made possible by the courage and resilience of our LGBT communities and our allies. This is a moment to celebrate an important milestone and to rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of justice for all.”

Our movement is more than marriage. It is more than LGBTQ equality. It is the struggle for equality and justice for all people in our nation.

If all of us who got engaged for the sake of marriage equality stay engaged to bring about lived equality for all, just imagine our Oregon a decade from now! Together we can create an Oregon where transgender people no longer face steep barriers to employment and health care. An Oregon where people of color have the same opportunities as their white peers. An Oregon where our youth are safe and supported, and where LGBTQ people in small towns and rural areas can live openly, free from the sting of discrimination.

Basic Rights Oregon, along with community partners Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Freedom to Marry, ACLU of OregonHuman Rights Campaign, Q Center, Family Forward Oregon, and Indigenous Ways of Knowing, is hosting a noon-hour Marriage Equality Lunchtime Rally for LGBTQ Equality today at Terry Schrunk Plaza (364 SW Madison). While planned before this morning’s decision — as BRO notes, “We’re not done” — you’d better believe there will be a whole lot of celebrating. Join them.

PQ Monthly will continue to bring you local and national reaction online and in our July/August print edition.