In my lifetime…change is gonna come

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I never thought I’d see the day/When I would face the world and say/Good morning, look at the sun

The lyrics above come from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in the song after Charlie receives his golden ticket and it seems that all is right with the world.

I woke up today, sick with an ear infection that somehow took over my whole head, and realized I was a bit like Charlie when it came to same-gender marriage recognition across the U.S.

But suddenly it seems there’s reason to hope.

Think about it:

  •  Seven (7) states and the District of Columbia offer same-gender marriage licenses: Massachusetts (2004), Connecticut (2008), Iowa and Vermont (2009), District of Columbia and New Hampshire (2010), New York (2011), and Washington (just last night!!);
  • Eight (8) states have laws which provide the equivalent of state-level spousal rights to same-gender couples within the state: California (domestic partnerships, 1999, expanded in 2005 and Proposition 8 was just ruled unconstitutional), New Jersey (2007), Oregon (2008), Nevada (2009), Illinois (2011), Delaware and Hawaii (2012) and Rhode Island (2011); and
  • Four (4) states have same-gender recognition action pending: Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and North Carolina.
  • For a sweet, interactive graphic on what states have what, check out the USA Today piece.

All told, that’s 15 states that are for equality – and four more who are moving in that direction. I also think it’s important to mention that Washington state started out with Domestic Partnerships in 2007 and upgraded to same-gender marriage and that New Jersey is voting on upgrading sometime this month, so things are definitely getting brighter.

And that’s all happened within seven years (13 if you count California from 1999).

Change is coming. And it won’t be stopped. And I really do believe that in my generation most states will have marriage equality. Some folks I know are convinced that states against marriage equality are so convinced that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will fall in the next few years they are altering their state constitutions to protect opposite-gender marriage.

I will remind all my readers that marriage equality didn’t happen by itself. It took (and is taking) guts for folks to stand up and demand it. And it wasn’t always comfortable, or popular, or without consequences. But it matters that people stand up and demand it anyway.

There’s a march in Raleigh, NC, Feb. 11 called the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) sponsored by the NAACP and this year including Protect NC Families. The theme this year is Forward Together: Not One Step Back. The focus is on “We” the people.

We must stand for freedom and defend democracy/We will not be defeated or divided/We shall pursue liberty and justice for all/We the people shall not be moved

Maybe it’s the sun streaming through the window, maybe it’s the marriage equality news updates I get on Facebook, maybe it’s that I’ve finally taken a moment to stop and focus on what is already accomplished rather than what needs to be changed – whatever it is, it seems I’ve finally got reason to hope.

 

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