Four years ago, I still had raw wounds over what had occurred.
Prop H8 had passed in California. And even though I didn't have any immediate marriage plans, I nonetheless felt like all my future hopes and dreams were ripped away from me. I didn't know what to do... Until I got active in working to undo the damage.
Yet even though I'm seeing progress in my new home state, I still have raw feelings about what happened in California last fall. I still have wounds that are only starting to heal.
The yard signs that were stolen from my front yard. The homophobic insults coming from my own family. The belligerent Yes on H8 paid canvassers trying to bully my dad into taking away my civil rights. The "urine yellow" Yes on H8 signs being sprinkled all over my neighborhood by the anti-equality churches. These are my memories from the campaign.
The married couples wondering if their marriages were still "legally valid". The couples that waited too long and missed the chance to get a "limited edition marriage". The kids who were bullied in school before and after the election. These are still memories I have from the first days after Prop H8 passed.
Beating myself up constantly about why I didn't do more to stop this oncoming tragedy. This is the guilt I still have over my failure to do enough to stop Prop H8 from passing.
This was the ghost that was constantly haunting me. That's why I was taken aback when this happened.
This week's marriage equality rulings have already been incredibly momentous. Yet even though they do remind us of all the work that must still be done to secure full equality in Nevada and nationwide, I must admit that yesterday's big news finally provided some major closure for me.
Shortly after the 2008 election, I felt sub-human at times. Why was it OK to campaign to strip away my civil rights and the civil rights of so many other Californians? That's why Judge Walker's 2010 ruling was so monumental... And why Wednesday's SCOTUS decision was such a relief. It finally provided closure.
One political campaign over one ballot initiative may not seem all that life changing at first. But when one looks at Prop 8 and all the other marriage ban initiatives, it's incredibly difficult to continue thinking that. Even though I was not in a relationship at the time, I truly felt like my dream was stolen from me. And I wondered when I could ever have it back.
That's truly the message of these discriminatory initiatives. These votes to take away people's rights dehumanize people. There's a reason why LGBTQ youth suicides and anti-LGBTQ hate crimes spiked after Prop 8's passage. That's why this one political campaign over this one ballot initiative mattered so much. It threatened not just the well being of families, but also the lives of many others with dreams of starting their own families in the future.
Now, I live in another state with its own marriage ban initiative that needs to be overturned or repealed. And one day, that will happen. And one day, LGBTQ Americans across the country will be able to fulfill their dreams. But at least for now, I'm finally experiencing some closure.