Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Journey Continues.

Yesterday, we saw history made. Even though the US Supreme Court did not "go full throttle" to endorse nationwide LGBTQ equality, civil rights did advance in a big way with the scrapping of DOMA Section 3 and invalidation of California's Prop 8 marriage ban. And even though the rulings don't directly (legally) affect most Nevada families, Southern Nevada's LGBTQ community nonetheless found reason to celebrate the historic occasion at The Center.

Owly Images

Owly Images

And there were a number of special guests stopping by to celebrate with the community. Several Nevada legislators spoke, including State Senator Justin Jones (D-Enterprise). He came with his brother-in-law, and reminded the audience of the many reasons why today's rulings and the ongoing effort for SJR 13 matter.

And that wasn't all. Several other legislators spoke, including the sole Assembly Republican to cross the aisle to support SJR 13. And not only that, but Assembly Member Michele Fiore (R-Las Vegas) took to the stage with her mother! Now that's what I call real family values.

We saw many poignant moments at The Center yesterday. It was particularly moving to see longtime community advocates take the stage to take in what had just occurred. After all, they remember the (not so) long ago days when queer folk had to fight like hell just for the right to exist.

Owly Images

Owly Images

Long before Assembly Member James Healey (D-Enterprise) and State Senator David Parks (D-Paradise) were elected to serve in Carson City, they were fighting for equality. Obviously, they've never stopped doing so. And they certainly had something to say about it yesterday.

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And so did Senator Pat Spearman (D-North Las Vegas), as she's also been working on this for some time.

As we discussed yesterday, this was a long time coming. Yet with that being said, we still have a long way to go to reach full equality in Nevada and nationwide.

There were many reasons to celebrate yesterday. Overall, the nation inched ever so closer in the direction of full equality. And for LGBTQ families in California, the long and harrowing nightmare of Prop 8 finally began coming to a close.

I should know. After Prop 8 first passed, I fell into incredibly deep depression. It took days for me to leave the house again. But ultimately, I had to pick myself up and realize what needed to be done next.

In many ways, what happened yesterday felt like closure to me. Finally, that horrifying nightmare was over. Finally, I felt more human again. Finally, I felt more equal again.

However, this journey is still far from over. There's still more to be done here in Nevada, and all the speakers at The Center yesterday reinforced that message. Relief and jubilation were quite palpable in that very hot parking lot, but so was the drive to continue the journey to full equality.

Some on that stage yesterday had to fight a number of political obstacles to advance LGBTQ civil rights in Carson City. Many in the crowd have had to overcome intense bigotry and discrimination to reach The Center and its very hot parking lot. There's been plenty of progress over the years, and yesterday marked another promising milestone of progress. Yet today, the journey continues. This story isn't finished just yet for us.

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