Monday, May 29th, 2023

Toby Grace: Celebrating the death of DOMA

SteampunkToby1June 27, 2013.

To everyone who sent congratulations and notes of happiness regarding the Supreme Court decision that overturned DOMA, or who intended to—thank you for joining the celebration.

It has been a very long road, marched by a very small army. It has been almost 50 years since I stood on Christopher Street the morning after the riots, surveying a scene that looked is if a small war had been fought and wondering if my friends who had been in the fight were OK.

The only other person on the street at dawn was a young boy sweeping up broken glass in front of a shop. He was singing to himself—softly—a song from West Side Story:

There’s a place for us, somewhere a place for us, hold my hand and I’ll take you there—some place, some time, some where.

For me, that was a galvanizing moment. I swore that this would be the place and the time was now! I became an activist in that moment.

That was a long time ago and a great deal has happened. Often the exigencies of life interfered with commitment to the movement but the dream was always in my heart. I have been greatly blessed by being permitted to live long enough to see this day—to see the day when the young people who are so very dear to me can live openly and love the person of their choice without fear and in an environment that, when I was their age, I could not have conceived as possible.

I will spend a little quiet time today by myself, remembering all the ones who, but for the terrible plague of AIDS, would be here today, ecstatically celebrating this victory that they contributed so much to, in laying the foundations of our liberty.

The voices of hate are still heard, but they have become as the croaking of frogs—a chorus of meaningless noise that fades into the night. When one has lived as long as I have, one begins to see a certain repetition in the unfolding of history. I noted the protest signs held up by the religious fanatics opposing this decision outside the Supreme Court yesterday bore slogans identical to the ones the same sort of people used in opposing the court’s 1967 decision in Loving vs. Virginia—the decision that struck down laws against interracial marriage. In ’67, they claimed marrying the person one loves was against God’s law just as they did yesterday. Evidently, God was not impressed with their twisted logic or their primitive theology.

However, the millennium has not yet dawned. Thirty-seven states still outlaw marriage equality. That will change. Gays are still executed in some medieval foreign lands. That must stop. We are not at the end of the road. But we have at least arrived at a beautiful rest stop, and we can celebrate with real joy.

Have a wonderful day, because it is a wonderful day. Today, life is very sweet.

Toby Grace
Out in Jersey


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