March 26, 2013

'Til We Reach That Day

My Aunties
My Aunt Jeannine came out to me while we were sunbathing together at a hotel pool while on a family reunion trip in Chicago. It was the first time I heard from her mouth how she survived her breakup from the woman I had known my entire life thus far as "Aunt Cathy," stories about her few years being single again, and about her new girlfriend, Rosalia.

That was 19-years ago, and my Aunties (as they are affectionately called) have been together ever since. I couldn't have been prouder to stand witness to their commitment ceremony in the mid-90's - it was a gorgeous October day in Phoenix, and these two remarkable women were united in front of an unbelievably supportive group of friends & family.

But what was not in attendance was a marriage license. And to this day, there is still no marriage license. How is it even possible? These women have been together longer than most heterosexual couples.

My Aunties stood up for Mr. Newman & I when we exchanged vows in 2000. They were in the delivery room when our daughter was born. With us when we bought our first house. And built our second one. They are Godmothers to our girl.

Lyla's First Christmas, 2004
Today and tomorrow, same-sex marriage will be brought before the Supreme Court in two cases: a constitutional challenge to California's Prop 8, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). My prayer, along with millions of others, is that the Court will deem that as a nation, moving forward, all are to be treated as equally as we are created

I look at the courage my Aunties have had over the course of their adult lives being openly gay. Their bravery paved the way for my generation. My friends were able to have the courage to come out earlier than the majority of the generation who preceded them.

I think about the tireless efforts of my friends at Marriage Equality New York, for example, who fought every minute of every day to get marriage equality passed here in New York, and once that extraordinary day happened in 2011, they moved on to other states throughout our nation and have seen further victory since. I am honored to have worked with them.

Performing the National Anthem, MENY Marriage March, 2010
Their efforts paved the way so that my best friend Amy could marry her now wife, Lauren - even though at that time in 2011, they had to cross the border from our great state of New York to Connecticut to become legally joined together.

Lyla's First Wedding, Marriage of Amy & Lauren, 2011
But then, in 2012, the third member of our trio, Andrew, could marry his now husband, Mark, right here in New York.

Marriage of Andrew & Mark, 2012
As I said on Twitter this morning, "Praying that all are heard, seen and respected as equals, marriage is for all, and equality is ruled as the truth of our land."

And until that day comes, I continue to stand as an advocate for equality. I count it as a privilege and an honor to fight for those who do not have the same rights as Mr. Newman & I do: our friends. Our family. Our brothers & sisters. Our country.

We will reach that day! 
xx JN

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