Cel­e­brat­ing a mile­stone

GA Voice - - The Wedding Issue -

It’s an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing to know that on June 26, 2016, our com­mu­nity will cel­e­brate the one-year an­niver­sary of Oberge­fell v. Hodges – the his­toric Supreme Court rul­ing that le­gal­ized mar­riage equal­ity na­tion­wide. That day will be for­ever etched in his­tory as the cul­mi­na­tion of decades of strug­gle, set­backs and ul­ti­mately tri­umph for gay and les­bian cou­ples that were de­nied the dig­nity, rights, and civil pro­tec­tions the in­sti­tu­tion of mar­riage pro­vides.

Per­son-by-per­son, story-by-story, we set out to change the hearts and minds of Amer­i­cans by be­ing vis­i­ble ex­am­ples of how love can man­i­fest it­self be­yond the het­eronor­ma­tive ideal. The world is in­deed chang­ing. The de­bate may con­tinue about same-sex mar­riage rights, but one thing is for cer­tain, our com­mu­nity’s courage to de­mand re­spect and recog­ni­tion for our re­la­tion­ships have not only changed the law but has also changed the tra­jec­tory for so many LGBT youth for gen­er­a­tions to come.

Al­low your­self to think back to the first time you fell in love – the first time you ever al­lowed your­self to en­ter­tain the idea of set­tling down with your cho­sen part­ner – the first time you sat down to plan your dream wed­ding de­spite such nup­tials be­ing il­le­gal in a ma­jor­ity of states or be­fore you even knew who would stand next to you at the al­tar. The le­gal road­blocks or one’s per­pet­ual bach­e­lor/bach­e­lorette sta­tus never stopped us from lov­ing and hop­ing and, for many, never stopped us from dream­ing about ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the ul­ti­mate form of com­mit­ment.

It’s a dream I’ve had as far back as I can re­mem­ber. The fact that my “bride” would most likely be a groom didn’t seem to de­ter me from mak­ing wed­ding plans pre­ma­turely in my head. My in­tu­ition as­sured me that so­ci­ety and the Amer­i­can le­gal sys­tem would rec­og­nize mar­riage as a civil right for gay and les­bian cou­ples in my life­time.

We’ve come a long way from 2004 when the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Ge­or­gia vot­ers ap­proved a dis­crim­i­na­tory mar­riage ban that ex­cluded gay and les­bian cou­ples from civil mar­riage recog­ni­tion. Yet, with re­cent so-called “re­li­gious free­dom” leg­is­la­tion, we’re re­minded that big­otry and dis­crim­i­na­tion is still alive and well in our state and re­mains a threat to equal­ity.

How can any­one be op­posed to love be­tween two con­sent­ing adults? It’s a rhetor­i­cal ques­tion that I’m sure you’ve asked your­self many times through­out the years. It’s a ques­tion I found my­self ask­ing again as I gazed at the wed­ding photos of the four gay and les­bian cou­ples fea­tured in this is­sue. So ev­i­dent is the love be­tween these cou­ples that their joy in find­ing each other and the pub­lic dec­la­ra­tion of their love lit­er­ally leaps from their photos. We should all be so lucky to find some­one to share our lives with, and thanks to the Supreme Court, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion is no longer a de­ter­min­ing fac­tor in one’s pur­suit of hap­pi­ness.

Ge­or­gia Voice is proud to fea­ture the cou­ples cho­sen for our an­nual wed­ding is­sue and we’re equally proud to serve as a source for plan­ning your own spe­cial day. Whether you’re ac­tively pur­su­ing mar­riage or ac­tively run­ning away from it, let’s join to­gether to cel­e­brate the fact that the op­tion is no longer unattain­able and it was the work of or­di­nary peo­ple do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary things that made it a re­al­ity.

By DAR­IAN AARON

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