I've written about my feelings on Obergefell v. Hodges before. In fact it was my first post here. And then, Friday the decision came out.
There is literally no way you missed the news that on Friday, June 16, the Supreme Court found that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to license a marriage to same sex couples and to recognize same sex marriages performed out of state.
Luckily, I was out of my doctor's appointment with plenty of time to spare, and even had time to sit in on a meeting with a school administrator about how it is impossible to find funding for the unpaid internships those of us going into public interest have to do. By 9:45 I was at my desk in the clinic watching the SCOTUSblog livefeed. And at 10:01 there it was: Obergefell v. Hodges. When the decision came out and the livefeed was being updated, other people in the clinic gathered around A and I to read over our shoulders. It felt big but also so isolated -- fifteen minutes later, everyone went back to work. A and I broke our no-PDA-at-school rule and exchanged a very chaste kiss.
And I can't deny that I was happy. I don't even like the word equality, and if anyone uses it there should be about a million asterisks next to it. If you asked me to rank gay marriage and pretty much any other issue for important, the other issue would win. Universal Healthcare vs. Gay Marriage? Universal Healthcare. Racial Justice vs. Gay Marriage? Racial Justice. Economic Justice vs. gay Marriage? Economic Justice. In a lot of ways, gay marriage feels like a giant distraction.
But that being said, I don't really see any reason not to celebrate this decision for what it is -- one change that means a lot of things to a lot of people. To old queers and queers with medical issues and queers who adopt. It means a lot of things. As a law student, I can't ignore the very real, tangible benefits marriage gets you, as much as I might personally believe that those rights should not be tied to marriage.
But in addition to it being an undeniable win, there is also the huge blank that we now get to decide how to fill. The cynic in me says all the upper and middle class white gay men will now exit any new organizing, but that still leaves an awful lot of us who get to redefine what queers want. Queers want economic justice. Queers want racial justice. Queers want a comprehensive welfare system and affordable access to drugs. Queers want immigration reform. Queers want equal pay. Queers want prison abolition. These are what is next.
Marriage, which has eaten up our resources to the exclusion of almost everything else -- is done. Whether you care about gay marriage or not, I think this calls for a celebration -- today, we work for what comes next.
To follow my in the moment reaction to Obergefell, and see my favorite quotes from the crazy dissents check out @gaydptofjustice on twitter: