Thank you, Justice Kennedy, you shall indeed be eternalized as a gay rights icon. After his heroic “aye” this morning, Justice Kennedy was the lone conservative vote needed to end the long struggle for Marriage Equality in all 50 states. As soon as the news broke, celebrations began right outside the Supreme Court entrance. The rest of the nation swiftly followed suit. Here in Michigan, they began in the blink of an eye and couples wasted no time getting to their local courthouses.
In Ann Arbor, the biggest celebration was at Braun Court, in the Kerrytown neighborhood, where hundreds of supporters gathered in victory. Activists and prominent leaders all rallied for a noon press conference with April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a Michigan couple whose case fought its way to our nation’s highest court —and won.
The excitement over victory in the half century long battle with the courts didn’t skip a beat after the press conference concluded. Braun Court continued to celebrate well into the evening until 5:30 pm, when the Jim Toy Community Center brought the group together once more for passionate speeches from local clergy, elected officials, and local leadership. Throughout the day, press from local, regional, and even national media outlets were scattered throughout the area getting interviews with the speakers and congratulating members of the LGBT community on justice being served.
One of the most absolutely amazing things to see was the vast diversity among the news teams present to cover the event. Everything from local liberal bloggers to the most widely viewed conservative broadcasts in the nation showed up. But they didn’t just show up–they supported. There were couples being asked for hugs from Fox News anchors, Republican politicians posing for photos wearing supportive pins and beads, and clergy demanding even more rights in interviews. We captured a brilliant shot from an interview between a local Ann Arbor priest and a Fox 2 News crew on film. While it is hard to make out the audio because we filmed it on an iPhone in the middle of Braun Court, his words are so empowering that we wouldn’t feel right if you couldn’t see his passion for yourself. We’ve provided a transcript of the interview below as well.
“This is one of the challenges that is going on about equality is there’s always going to be a first step, there’s always going to be a conflict around it. I think both sides are trying to organize around what they believe in and get supportive people involved.
The Civil Rights Act doesn’t include LGBT members, we saw that tried to get amended this past year and it didn’t happen. There are still things going on with adoptions and only clergy being able to do weddings. And, in my mind, as a clergy person, I don’t need permission from the state to perform a wedding. It’s the state’s responsibility to make it legal, so why would it be only held to clergy to do something that’s legal and non-religious? It’s just baffling to me.
So, yeah, there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done. You could get married on a Friday and fired on a Monday, you could get kicked out of your house on a Monday, and that’s not just, that’s not right. That’s not a place anyone should have to be.”
If there is anything that indicates that the United States of America is headed in the right direction more so than a priest in rainbow beads demanding more equality, it’s the way the children acted just outside of Braun Court. A couple of people brought huge bubble making contraptions to the festivities for the kids to enjoy and, boy, did they ever. These children don’t really grasp the complexity or scale of what happened yesterday and most of them probably had no idea why they were there other than their moms, dads, or mom and dad told them they were going to a party with a lot of people and other kids would be there to play with. These children will grow up with two moms, two dads, or a mom and a dad, some of them will one day marry a person of the same sex and others the opposite, but the most beautiful thing of all is that, to them, all they saw yesterday were bubbles, rainbows, and love.