I did not intend to write this particular column. But circumstances afforded me an opportunity I could not refuse. You see, growing up a gay kid with a heart bent on activism, I always thought my life would be spent fighting for marriage equality and I would never see the sun shine on the day in which marriage was a right we all share. And then October 17th, 2014 happened and marriage equality was the law of Arizona.
In just a few short hours that day, I was moved to tears, smiles, laughs, and eternal hope and optimism. Yet, marriage equality isn’t about just me or any one person. It is about the many couples who waited–some for decades–for the day when the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause was justly applied to include the right of gays and lesbians to marry. It is about the hope of a little gay kid seeing a glimmer of hopeful light as he or she struggles to find a place in a world that doesn’t always welcome them. And it’s about the hope of a promise shared between a loving couples: to love, honor, and cherish. Yet, for all its specialness, October 17th was like any other regular day: folks went to work, parents dropped kids off at school, many cups of coffee were poured, and some happy couples got married.
It occurs to me here that the fire of equality activism that was ever present in my heart was, all along, shared by so many others who call Tucson home. Straight allies like Congressman Raúl Grijalva, Supervisor Richard Elías, and Dolores Huerta stood with the LGBT community calling for marriage equality, even when it wasn’t politically wise. Ministers like Owen Chandler—despite years of vitriolic rhetoric that no church, synagogue, or mosque would welcome the LGBT community—proved the mission of clergy is to spread God’s love, not bloviated hatred. LGBT community leaders like Paula Aboud and Bianca Lucrecia stood tall in the early days so that younger generations could see pride in coming out and fighting for equality.
From the allies to the leaders to the activists, I simply and humbly offer my sincerest thanks. Muchsímas gracias para todo vuestro apoyo!. It allows folks like me to put word to paper. Sí se pudo!: We have marriage equality. But the activism in my heart burns brighter today than yesterday, for we still face hurdles. In Arizona, gays and lesbians can still be fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes for being gay. Until we have justice for all, in all aspects, I shall proudly fight on. ¡Adelante!
By Adam Ragan