The excitement of that day culminated in an incredible celebration of justice at the Cimarron Alliance Equality Center. Nearly 500 people gathered to laugh, cry, hug one another and lift up the day as a defining moment in American history. The ruling of the court, we all realized, moved the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and our nation a big step toward a time when all citizens are treated with fairness, respect and equality.
It wasn’t until late that night that I read Gov. Mary Fallin’s response to the court’s decision. “Like the vast majority of Oklahomans, I support traditional marriage,” she declared. “I do not and will not support expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.”
Even as I read her quote, I heard the words of Alabama Gov. George Wallace echoing in the background: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!” A generation not long from now will read Fallin’s statement with a mixture of pity, anger, and humor. They
will say that she and other Oklahoma leaders were out of step with the American public, that they were trying against all odds to maintain the illusion of some Leave It to Beaver America that had long since disappeared.
In April, Quinnipiac University reported that same-gender marriage is supported by 50 percent of Americans and opposed by 41 percent. This represents a 3-percent increase in support in only one month. What’s more, 56 percent say marriage should follow the U.S. Constitution, not state laws. In May, an ABC News poll and Gallup survey showed Americans supporting same-gender marriage at 55 percent and 53 percent, respectively.
As for those stomping their feet against redefining marriage, we should note that marriage has been in a constant state of evolution from the beginning of time. Once, marriage was nothing more than a business deal to secure greater wealth. It had nothing to do with love. Today, we would all like to believe that marriage is not a business decision, but one based on love. And that is why the court’s ruling is so important.
No governor’s proclamation, no silly legislative resolutions, no amount of rhetoric from the pulpit or the op-ed pages will stop our movement forward. The equality train has left the station and will not be stopped. Indeed, it will one day soon roll through the Sooner State.
As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, I am honored to know that when we pledge our allegiance to the flag, we are closer than ever to being able to do so with honesty. Indeed, we just moved a little bit closer to having liberty and justice for all.
Hamilton is executive director of the Cimarron Alliance Equality Center, a Central Oklahoma LGBT advocacy and education organization.
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