Walking Into The Future Of Marriage EqualityJune 21st, 2012 4:23 pm Connie Schultz
More than 200 companies and groups sponsored booths this year at the Columbus Pride festival. This year’s theme was “Allies in Equality,” to honor straight allies. A record-breaking 230,000 attended the celebration.
If this could happen in Columbus, Ohio — the same state where voters eight years ago overwhelmingly rejected same-sex marriage — it’s only a matter of time before marriage equality is the law of the land.
I don’t say this as a blind optimist. I remember too well the outcome of that 2004 referendum on same-sex marriage and its impact. The Sunday after Election Day, my husband and I were sitting in Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Cleveland when the pastor, who is straight, asked those who were directly affected by the vote to stand.
More than 50 stood up from the pews. As I wrote at the time, they didn’t look angry or defiant. They looked abandoned. Many of us still sitting began to weep. Soon, we stood to join them. When you love or respect someone who is gay — and you probably do, even if you don’t know it — his or her pain is your pain, too.
It also works the other way, so the joy last Saturday in Columbus was infectious. There was much to celebrate, beyond the corporate sponsorships and record turnout.
Under the innovative leadership of Mayor Mike Coleman and the City Council, Columbus now offers partner benefits for city employees. President Barack Obama recently came out in support of gay marriage. The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is history, which made one young man I met Saturday very happy.