Purely by happenstance, I had social work meeting scheduled in Washington, DC the day after the Supreme Court was to hear the oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges. So my wife and I decided to take the week and make a family vacation out of it. The four of us stood in front of that enormous building surrounded by a throng of people, while they deliberated about the fate of our family. So many people there in unity and hopeful for our futures, we all stood there, shoulder to shoulder with strangers just like us. We were so happy to have the chance to be there, to be a part of history in the making. Coincidently, I had another meeting scheduled in DC on June 26th. This time I only had time to go up and back for the day so the family stayed home. When I heard a decision day had been scheduled for that Friday, I had a feeling the decision would come down that day so I left my meeting, grabbed a cab and headed over to stand in front of the court again.
It was an amazing sight, the crowd full of anticipation. I stood there with a young friend, a fellow social worker, who said he didn’t have a boyfriend but hoped someday he would find the man he wanted to marry. We waited, listening to the DC gay men’s chorus, anxiously waving our red equality flags. Then it happened, we were equal in the eyes of the law. I called my wife and said, “Honey, Tennessee has to recognize our marriage!” Then of course I burst into tears and felt the arms of 5 stranger’s envelope me in a hug. We won. When we got back to our meeting, a room full of fellow social workers gave us a standing ovation. I cried again.
I got home late that night and my wife, Jessica, and our two girls, ages 5 & 7, met me at the airport. The girls held signs that said, “Mama, will you marry Mommy, again?” It was quite a reception for the Nashville International Airport!. I said to Jessica in astonishment, that I was only gone for a day. Then she said something that had the greatest ring of truth. She replied, “And the whole world changed.”
I’ve been waiting along with our entire community for this day for many years. June 26, 2015 will always be my favorite day. Our community has struggled, fought and endured, and we prevailed. Justice and fairness finally won the day.
As much as we can celebrate, there is still much work to do. While our state and our country must now treat our marriages equally, in many states, including Tennessee, we can still lose our jobs just for marrying the person we love or expressing our true identity. This is one of the many reasons I wanted to run for city council. I want to make a difference, a positive impact on my neighborhood and my community. I’m not running because I’m gay, I’m running because fighting for fairness has been something I’ve done for most of my adult life.
We have the unprecedented opportunity to elect 4 openly gay candidates to our city council. As recently as 4 years ago, our community was frequently ignored, overlooked. Now we are poised to make up 10% of the city council. I have been humbled by the support and the encouragement that I’ve received from so many people in Nashville’s LGBT community. The endorsements from The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition and Out & About Nashville are among the most treasured I have received.
The campaigns are in high gear. Early voting starts Friday the 17th. I’ve worked harder than I thought was possible and couldn’t be more excited as we move into the final stretch.
Our people are our greatest asset (July 23, 2015)
What does it take to make a good council member (July 28, 2015)