By Brad and Justin
As the temperatures climb and the days get longer, we anxiously await a decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, the historic marriage equality case before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
Brad and I were lucky enough to be at the Supreme Court the day oral arguments were held back in April. For us, the 6 hour drive to D.C. was well worth the time to be able to stand in front of the Supreme Court and show our support with thousands of others who support marriage equality. Of course, there were those who opposed marriage equality, but the supporters far outnumbered those who opposed it. People filled the sidewalks on both sides of the street, flags both big and small with equality signs flew above our heads and chants of “Love can’t wait” echoed throughout the crowd.
That morning in late April, we came to D.C. not knowing what to expect but were lucky enough to be witness to history, even if it was just for three minutes. After waiting in line for almost four hours, we were allowed inside the courtroom where the arguments were being heard. We were witnesses to three minutes of history in the making. Brad and I were in complete awe. We were here. We were a part of this. Walking down the steps of the Supreme Court, a wave of emotions swept over us as we looked out onto the crowd. We left feeling accomplished. We left hopeful that the Supreme Court would bring marriage equality to everyone in the United States.
The Supreme Court was posed two questions in its current case for marriage equality: Does the U.S. Constitution require states to perform same-sex marriages? And does the U.S. Constitution require states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states? Our hope is that SCOTUS sides with marriage equality on question one, therefore making question two irrelevant, bringing marriage equality to all 50 states in one sweeping decision. While the majority of Americans, 61%, support marriage equality, there are many strong opinions and voices that oppose a sweeping decision for marriage equality across the United States.
The importance of marriage equality rings paramount with so many people across the country. Along with that there are so many who cannot grasp its importance. As Brad and I were a part of history standing outside the Supreme Court, we were asked why we were there. Our response was met with some puzzled faces as people learned that Brad and I are married and that our home state of Virginia now legally recognizes our marriage. Why was marriage equality so important to us, one person asked?
The answer lies in that when Brad and I got married in June 2014, Virginia did not allow same-sex marriage. We got married in my home state of Maryland, a state that does allow same-sex marriages. It was not until a few months later that Virginia began performing and recognizing same-sex marriages. Same-sex couples want the same treatment as everyone else. We are not asking to be treated differently. Marriage equality allows all couples to celebrate their love and commitment to each other. Additionally, it allows legal security and provides for greater legal protection for the couple’s children.
When SCOTUS brings its sweeping decision in favor of marriage equality, for Brad and me specifically, it will mean that no matter where our lives take us, our marriage will be recognized, our child/children will be legally protected and we will not be second class citizens. We have had numerous discussions about how our family will be viewed and treated once we welcome a child into our family. We worry about what will be said to our child about him or her having two dads. Brad and I believe that in addition to allowing loving, committed same-sex couples the ability to be legally married in states that currently do not allow or recognize it, marriage equality is also a huge step in the fight against discrimination of the LGBT community as a whole. When we look at marriage as the union to two people who love and are committed to each other, regardless of sexual orientation, religion, race or any other discriminating factor, we will help alleviate other prejudices and unequal treatment.
We pride ourselves in committing to raise a child where love, respect and honesty are shown daily. We hope marriage equality allows for giant steps forward in the understanding and acceptance of differences and the fight against discrimination in making the world we live in a better place.
Brad and Justin are a same-sex couple from Bristol, Virginia looking to grow their family through open adoption. They are an approved family with the Independent Adoption Center. Follow their adoption journey at www.bradANDjustinAdopt.com and www.facebook.com/bradANDjustin