Ge­or­gia on my mind

GA Voice - - Outspoken - By DAR­IAN AARON daaron@the­gavoice.com

We have a rea­son to celebrate dur­ing At­lanta Pride this year.

The past three months since the Supreme Court ruled in fa­vor of mar­riage equal­ity for gay and les­bian cou­ples have been a whirl­wind. I’m al­most cer­tain each of us re­mem­bers where we were when we heard the news that le­gal recog­ni­tion of our re­la­tion­ships and fam­i­lies was no longer a prom­ise we would pass down to the next gen­er­a­tion, but a gift we’d be able to en­joy here in the present.

I was glued to MSNBC in my New York apart­ment as the rul­ing came down. I’d spent the night be­fore con­tem­plat­ing whether or not to take a short flight to D.C. to wit­ness history as it un­folded, but I ul­ti­mately de­cided against it; I’d had my hopes dashed one too many times by the tweets from SCOTUS blog in­form­ing the public that there would be no rul­ing on Oberge­fell v. Hodges that day. I now re­gret not tak­ing that trip.

Dur­ing the post-rul­ing cel­e­bra­tion I was des­per­ate to re­turn home to At­lanta (this was be­fore I was of­fered my po­si­tion at Ge­or­gia Voice). I wanted to par­tic­i­pate in the cel­e­bra­tions I knew were sweep­ing through the streets of our city. Be­sides that, I wanted to know how the anti-gay evan­gel­i­cal crowd was tak­ing the news. So what did I do? I logged onto theGe­or­giaVoice.com. That’s not a shame­less plug, just the truth.

“The city’s LGBT com­mu­nity didn’t disap- point, with revel­ers be­gin­ning to de­scend on the in­ter­sec­tion (of 10th and Pied­mont) soon af­ter the an­nounce­ment. By late that af­ter­noon it had turned into a full-on block party, with TEN At­lanta set­ting up out­door bars and a DJ spin­ning tunes for the crowd,” wrote Pa­trick Saun­ders, deputy editor of Ge­or­gia Voice.

June 26, 2015, was the ic­ing on the cake of a string of le­gal wins for our com­mu­nity af­ter en­dur­ing years of anti-gay an­i­mus; sev­eral states, in­clud­ing Ge­or­gia, over­whelm­ingly ap­proved mar­riage bans in 2004. This vic­tory was in­cred­i­bly sweet. Con­trary to the op­po­si­tion’s talk­ing points, the sky didn’t fall, het­ero­sex­ual mar­riages didn’t col­lapse and mar­riage hasn’t ceased to be im­por­tant to het­ero­sex­ual cou­ples who seek to join the in­sti­tu­tion sim­ply be­cause the right has now been ex­tended to their gay and les­bian broth­ers and sis­ters. And shock­ingly, at least to me, Gov. Nathan Deal and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Sam Olens fell right in line and promised to obey the rul­ing.

Sim­ply put: mar­riage equal­ity in Ge­or­gia ap­pears to be no big deal, un­less you’re a gay or les­bian cou­ple seek­ing the right to marry legally in the state for the first time.

Now isn’t that some­thing? Al­low that to sink in.

Sky, are you still blue? Yep. Jane and Paul, are you still mar­ried? Yep. Evan­gel­i­cal ho­mo­phobes and con­ser­va­tive politi­cians, are you still hat­ing? Yep. See, it’s busi­ness as usual.

In all my ex­cite­ment, I’d never taken a mo­ment to celebrate the fact that our state hasn’t turned out to be as big­oted as many ex­pected. It might have taken a Supreme Court rul­ing be­fore Ge­or­gia did the right thing, but we have no record of Kim Davis-style em­bar­rass­ments or a state Supreme Court chief jus­tice go­ing rogue akin to the Ten Com­mand­ments-wor­ship­ping Roy Moore next door in my home state of Alabama, and for that I’m sure we’re all grate­ful.

There is still work to be done. The twice-failed, so-called “Re­li­gious Free­dom Restora­tion Act “spon­sored by state Sen. Josh McK­oon (R-Colum­bus) is ex­pected to be rein­tro­duced in the leg­is­la­ture in Jan­uary, and it re­mains a threat to our com­mu­nity.

But for now, let’s celebrate and use the energy and sense of com­mu­nity that we all ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing Pride to con­tinue shar­ing our sto­ries, chang­ing hearts and minds, and kick­ing the hell out of ho­mo­pho­bia wher­ever it rears its ugly head.

“In all my ex­cite­ment, I’d never taken a mo­ment to celebrate the fact that our state hasn’t turned out to be as big­oted as many ex­pected.”

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