After yesterday's historic decision by the Supreme Court in California to shut down DOMA and Prop 8, many same-sex couples (and LGBT singles) celebrated and basked in the glow of marriage equality. Matt Emert, a Los Angeles-based copywriter who directed and produced an It Gets Better video for global toy company Mattel earlier this year, had a few personal things to share with us in response to the recent developments in what is being called a new civil rights movement...
Since I was a kid, I have always known that I wanted to get married. I’m very relationship-oriented, a hopeless romantic who, up until now, has experienced more of the “hopeless” than the “romantic” in my love life.
As much fun as I make of people who go overboard on weddings and spend way too much money on them, I’ve secretly wanted one too. It doesn’t have to be huge and expensive, but I do want a ceremony in front of friends and family to celebrate the union between myself and the person I love. As cheesy as it sounds, I even have a few portions of my ideal wedding figured out – I’d have a group of groomsmen (guy friends) and groomswomen (girl friends) by my side, both of my parents walking me down the aisle, and gold rings exchanged between me and my fiancé. Of course, these are just dreams of mine, but they are dreams I was afraid of sharing ever since I came out in 2002 because I felt like people would laugh at them. Or people would ask silly questions like, “who’s the bride and who’s the groom?” Or worse yet, people would remind me that marriage wasn’t an option for me because it wasn’t legal. For years I didn’t feel comfortable talking about my desire to get married, even with my closest friends. And I rarely used the word “husband” in reference to my future partner - it just felt awkward.
Then came 2008 – an extremely bittersweet year. First the Supreme Court of California awarded same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Then that freedom was taken away at the ballot box. The idea that the people in my own state, the supposedly liberal state of California, the land of “fruits and nuts,” would vote AGAINST marriage equality was heartbreaking. In 2010, I assumed pro-marriage equality constituents would put a new proposition on the ballot so Prop 8 could be overturned. They didn’t. Then the court case began, and I knew that whatever decision was given by the District Court and Court of Appeals, the case would continue to be appealed up to the Supreme Court. It just felt like an interminable battle.
Today is June 27, 2013. It’s been nearly five years since Prop 8 passed. Back in 2008, I yearned for this discriminatory proposition to be overturned as quickly as possible. At that time, I couldn’t fathom that it would take this long to do so. But now I recognize the fact that we needed this amount of time to pass. We now have a president who publicly supports marriage equality as well as our former Secretary of State, our California Governor, our California Attorney General, 12 states, and 55% of the American public. This truly was the right time.
Starting today, I can tell people I want to get married without worrying about receiving odd glances from those who don’t understand how that can work for me. Starting today I can tell people I want to settle down with a “husband,” not a “partner.” And starting today, the dream I’ve had for so long about having a wedding to celebrate marrying the MAN I love (when I find him, of course) can come true.
And all of you will be invited.