50 Years After Stonewall: the Good, the Bad, and the Tacky

This year (2019), there has been noticeably more emphasis placed on Pride Month. One obvious reason is that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Aside from that, I think this year is just the next step of an accelerating trend. This year more than ever, rainbows are on display everywhere, from store windows to the screen of the ATMs at Wells Fargo. For the past several years my former employer, Intel, has flown rainbow flags outside each of its offices, including some in foreign nations.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, it’s amazing to think about how far our society has evolved with regard to accepting and respecting differently-oriented people, particularly in the U.S.

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30 Years Ago: Remembering the 1987 National March on Washington

Today, October 11, is National Coming Out Day. This day could have easily come and gone without my remembering it had I not seen a post from someone else on Facebook. I’ve been “out” for so long that this day holds little meaning to me anymore, and I have done little over the past couple decades besides note its passing. I’m sure there have been a couple years I have forgotten.

But this year is different. Today marks the 30th anniversary of the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. (The first took place in 1979.) National Coming Out Day was established in 1988, on the first anniversary of the 1987 march.

I was there. That was a momentous weekend for the LGBT movement as well as my own life. I haven’t thought about the march for years, but the memories have been flooding back all day.

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Why Are Some Same-Sex Couples Not Getting Married?

The Supreme Court decision on June 26, 2015, which made same-sex marriage legal everywhere in the United States, was a huge, monumental win for fairness and equality. The decision made it clear that same-sex couples would be legally married anywhere they live or travel in the U.S., and it put an end to court cases and appeals that were still in process.

By the beginning of 2015, marriage equality had already come to 36 states, the District of Columbia, and numerous Indian reservations, covering roughly three-fourths of the population. That means that in all these jurisdictions, couples have already had anywhere from six months to ten years in which to get legally married. Many have, but many have not.

Marriage equality arrived in my home state of Arizona over eight months ago, on October 17, 2014. Shortly after that, I became an ordained minister and went into business as a wedding officiant. As of this date (June 28), I have officiated 54 weddings; 49 of which were for same-sex couples.

Yet, I’m surprised by how many long-term couples in my network of friends and acquaintances have not yet legalized their union, and apparently have no plans to do so.

Why?

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