advertisement

FROM READERS: In Supreme Court rulings, the end of 'separate and unequal'

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 | 5:13 p.m. CDT; updated 6:52 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Robert Stinnett is a 39-year-old gay man from mid-Missouri. He wrote of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act: "It just took a few words to scroll across my screen and I knew that what I’ve fought hard for all these years was coming true — the federal government would now extend benefits to gay married families the same as they did to other marriages — equality, finally!"

Robert Stinnett is a 39-year-old gay man from mid-Missouri.

This morning sitting at a friend's house here in New York on vacation, I waited anxiously for 10 a.m., the magic hour, to strike and the Supreme Court justices to release their opinions on both DOMA and Proposition 8. For all of my 39 years, I’ve been living a “separate and unequal” life of my own. My first job I had out of college I was fired from for being gay; I’ve been attacked and beaten for what I am; I have watched as people use religious beliefs to spread hate. I waited with so many other gay friends for this decision, expecting the worse but hoping for the best.

Watching the SCOTUSblog and Twitter feeds, history unfolded before my eyes.

It just took a few words to scroll across my screen, and I knew that what I’ve fought hard for all these years was coming true – the federal government would now extend benefits to gay married families the same as they did to other marriages – equality, finally!

Words could not express my joy enough — in an instant, my Facebook page turned into an explosion of celebration from friends coast-to-coast. In an instant, a huge weight had been lifted for gay people everywhere. In that moment I could imagine being no other place (in New York where gay marriage is legal), during no other time (Pride Month) for this to happen.

As it settled in, I had to start thinking about what’s next for me — Missouri has banned gay marriage, so even though I celebrate today I know that when I return home next week it’s “hatred as usual.” Other friends who live in the state shared the same thoughts. This is a great win, a huge accomplishment, but for us and others in states that have written hate into their Constitutions, it means a lot less for us.

So now, as I take today to celebrate, I also start thinking about my life and where I want to be. In a state that deems me a second-class citizen, or in a state that welcomes me, supports me, and extends me all the benefits of the federal government, should I decide to get married to the man I love? After all, why should I pay taxes to a state where the majority of people hate my lifestyle with such a passion they write it into the law of the land?

A new door has been opened — and now I, and many other gay people across this country, will have to decide whether to walk through that door, or keep banging on the ones that have been slammed shut in our faces.

How have the Supreme Court's actions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 impacted you? Consider sharing your story in the section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements