“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court Decision that struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, this Fourth of July is particularly sweet.  I woke up to a beautiful summer day in my beloved Maine with the knowledge that my marriage to my partner of twenty three years is now fully recognized by my federal government.  We will now be treated fairly and equally to all other married couples.  My family is finally recognized, and it feels so good to no longer be a second class citizen in the eyes of my government.  As it should be.

In addition to feeling relieved, safe, and equal, I also feel a huge sense of responsibility on the heels of Court’s historic decision.  We still don’t have full equality in this country.  Plenty of my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are still waking up in states that discriminate against them.  Even though the concept of those amazing words in the Declaration of Independence are perfect and beautiful, there was still inherent discrimination contained within them.  Women and people of color were not included by the original drafters.  All throughout our history, minorities have had to battle to be included in this perfect concept.  And so the battle continues for full equality for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.  We can’t rest.  We can’t take things for granted.  And, we can’t allow those who would discriminate against us to define us.  On this Independence Day, I am determined to live openly and honestly and to continue to fight for the day when all of us are treated equally in the eyes of the law.

Happy Independence Day.  Peace.