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Equality: Birthday, Role Models and the SCOTUS Blog

by Trey Darnell June 18, 2013

By-Trey Darnell

Over the past couple of weeks, our focus along with many other LGBTQ individuals has been at the Supreme Court of the United States.  As a collective group, we are awaiting decisions on two different cases. One case involves California’s Proposition 8 and the second involves the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act known as DOMA.  These two cases are front and center in the movement for equality and the very apparent shift in public opinion.

Since the beginning of June, I have caught myself reading live updates via the SCOTUS Blog on each and every opinion day.  If you aren’t familiar with the use of SCOTUS, it stands for Supreme Court of the United States.  I consistently set a reminder on my phone to make the loudest possible noise to remind myself to join the 15,000+ other individuals that watch for instant updates.  The SCOTUS Blog has a representative (Lyle) in the Supreme Court press-room providing information as it happens.  Every time there is an update in the “chat window” you hear a specific sound.  When I hear this sound, it seems as if I begin to hold my breath.

I am writing this blog on Monday June 17, 2013.  Today is my birthday, my 34th birthday.  For the first part of the year, I was telling everyone it would be my 33rd.  It was either Matthew growing tired of telling everyone that I actually would be turning 34 or I finally accepted the fact and started welcoming the idea of 34.  I think one thing that has made adding another year to my age easier is the quirky fact that my father was 34 when I entered the world and made him a father.  That day was Father’s Day (June 17th) in 1979.  Want another fun fact?  Matthew is the same age as his father was when he was born.  This September we will become fathers at the same age as our fathers became fathers for the first time.  Can you say that three times fast?

Matt and his dad Andy

Matt and his dad Andy

This morning at 10:00, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hand down opinions on cases from this term.  I am multitasking and trying not to miss any updates.  It is currently 9:56 EDT and there are only a couple of minutes left before the information starts coming in from today’s proceedings.  The landscape of marriage equality and the lives of so many could change within the next few moments.  Just heard the sound of an update, and I immediately caught my breath.  It’s Lyle from the SCOTUS Blog, and he is providing information on the first opinion.  I am going to pause writing and take in the moment and watch and hope for what today might bring.

Today wasn’t the day.  We now focus on the next scheduled decision day which is this Thursday.  There isn’t any insight on when we might get a ruling.  Most experts point to the end of the current term, which is the end of June.  If it isn’t this Thursday, we will wait for Monday and possibly the following Thursday to find out the Supreme Court’s opinion(s) on Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop 8) and United States v Windsor (DOMA).  We are so close.

June is National Pride Month and there are pride events going on every weekend throughout the United States.  Seeing the news and images from these different events reminds me of my first pride experience.  It was last October when we were beginning our adoption journey to become dads.  Matthew and I had just travelled to Atlanta to meet with our adoption agency and had no clue that Atlanta Pride was happening the same weekend.  You can click here to read about that journey.  I am amazed how much progress Matthew and I have seen in just a few short months.  This progress would not have been possible if it were not for the LGBTQ individuals that educated and pushed the need for equality in the past five decades.

When mentioning those that have paved the way, I have to mention one particular individual.  Matthew’s Uncle Dan.  He epitomizes all that one would desire or need in a role model.  Dan has spent a majority of his life working towards equality in our community and does not shy away from an opportunity to educate about the lack of equality.

Matt and Trey with Matt's Uncle Dan and his husband Josh at Biltmore Estates in Asheville, North Carolina

Matt and Trey with Matt’s Uncle Dan and his husband Josh at Biltmore Estates in Asheville, North Carolina

In 2008, I can honestly say I was clueless about the Stonewall Riots or the equality movement in general.  I didn’t even know that some of it revolved around Judy Garland.  Uncle Dan, as I now call him, eagerly and eloquently shared his story and the history I felt embarrassed not to know.  During a longer than the usual car ride from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, he opened the door to things I hadn’t really thought of and things I hadn’t even noticed.  It was obvious that this community has come a long way but still has a long way to go.  Oh, I also got to see a burning RV.

Matt's Uncle Dan and his husband Josh marry in California on June 17, 2008.

Matt’s Uncle Dan and his husband Josh marry in California on June 17, 2008

Dan and his husband Josh were present and wed the first day California granted same-sex marriages.  That was five years ago today, June 17, 2008 (my birthday by the way).  They have travelled across the United States showing their support by getting married again and again in each of the states as they legalized same-sex marriage.  Dan and Josh demonstrated by saying “I Do” over and over that we are getting closer and closer to being able to say “I Do” just once and it counts 50 times.  Dan and Josh thank you for making this moment in history possible.  As silly as it sounds, if it wasn’t for couples like you, I wouldn’t be getting excited to watch the SCOTUS Blog and patiently (not really) wait for decisions on marriage equality.

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Trey Darnell
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