As I'm sure you're all well aware, last week five members of the United States Supreme Court found that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. Five of the justices, a simple majority of the court, ruled that the federal government may not discriminate against marriages recognized by individual states. Wow. A huge victory for the gay rights moment.
On Wednesday afternoon, less than ten hours after the ruling was announced, I found myself in New York's Greenwich Village, celebrating at a rally in front of the famous Stonewall Inn. Despite the hot weather, I felt chills as it dawned on me that the federal government would no longer be able to discriminate against me* and as I realized that I was actually taking part in history. I found myself beaming as the rabbi of a local community spoke about the role Jews played in this monumental achievement. For once these two aspects of my identity wove seamlessly together. These are the times that will come to fill the pages of history books as civil rights and equality become undeniable fact and not mere aspirations.
The next day I sent a message to a friend of mine telling him that I appreciated spending that significant moment with him by my side. When he responded by expressing how he looked forward to sharing the story with his future children, chills again ran down my spine as I realized that the sentiment he expressed is precisely what we are supposed to feel daily (and especially at Pesach) as we recall the Exodus from Egypt. Though not bound in slavery like Moses and his peers, this decision certainly was an unshackling and I consider myself blessed to have partaken, if only as a bystander. I don't plan on having children of my own, but I too look forward to sharing the story with future generations. I thank G-d for providing the LGBT community with this gift and I'm incredibly glad that I can relate this experience with my faith.
P.S. I'm sorry I haven't written in a long time. Life has kept me far busier than I would like and I find myself forced to place blogging on a side burner. This, however, I needed to express.
*There's still a lot of areas, such as employment rights, that this did not rectify and it only protects those marriages recognized in states like New York and Massachusetts that specifically permit gay marriage; the decision doesn't affect states like Texas or North Dakota where marriage is still limited to one man and one woman.
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