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Op-ed: When Marriage Is a Possibility, So Is Love

Op-ed: When Marriage Is a Possibility, So Is Love


A gay Los Angeles resident reflects on the nation's, and his own, journey toward marriage equality.


Weho1_0(A rally in West Hollywood, California on Friday)

When I was very young, I remember my mother telling me that, whichever woman I ended up falling in love with, she would love, too. Because she loved me, she said. And she loved me so much, that the most important thing in the world to her, was that I would be happy.

What neither of us expected was that one day, I would be gay. And not only would I identify as gay, but that society, in the 21st century, would see fit to pass marriage equality across the country in both of our lifetimes.

Moreover, through whatever instance of fate or chance, it came to pass that I, a gay man at 29 today, find myself writing for The Advocate, the oldest and most venerable LGBT publication in the United States, at the moment when such an implausible event occurred.

It was hard to register Friday morning, at 7 a.m. in Los Angeles, when my managing editor yelled across the room, "It happened!" There was a brief period of confusion, then disbelief, before I switched into work mode, helping to deliver the dozens of news items that our team produced about the momentous event to the world.

Between Tweeting headlines and Facebook-ing the marriage equality news and memes, I found time enough to text one heart emoji to my partner of over four years, who traveled with me on this journey to Los Angeles almost exactly three years ago from New York City.

I remember, in our trip, how we would stop at cities across the southern half of the country during the month of June. Atlanta, New Orleans, Austin, El Paso and more had their full colors of Pride on for us as we made our way to the City of Angels. They were welcoming oases across a country, in which, as an interracial gay couple, we were afraid to disclose that we were same-sex partners.

At the time, it was standard operating procedure that one of us, alone, would accept the room key from the hotel receptionist. The other waited in the car, so as not to arouse suspicion and put ourselves in harm's way.

Here we are, in June 2015. On Friday, I attended a rally in West Hollywood, perhaps one of the queerest cities in the world, listening to the religious and community leaders, and the local gay celebrities, deliver songs and speeches about the great success we have achieved with the Supreme Court's recognition of nationwide marriage equality. What incredible obstacles we have overcome, they said.

However, the celebration was muted for me. "The party isn't here," said one Angeleno friend, who was on the arm of his partner of five years. "The party is in Austin and Atlanta," and all those places in America where the thought of marrying someone of the same sex had hitherto existed only in dream and fantasy.

The party in Los Angeles, he said, had peaked two years ago, when Edie Windsor and the Prop. 8 plaintiffs had restored marriage equality to California. Indeed, they had restored hope to the rest of the nation. We were, in a sense, just living in an aftershock in L.A.

Afterward, when I saw my partner for the first time Friday--in a purple shirt, his eyes wide and brown and beautiful, smelling of the cologne I had given him several months beforehand on our fourth anniversary-- I grabbed ahold of his shoulders and his neck, embracing him and breathing his familiar scent in deeply.

I thought of how, when we first met those years ago at a bar in Manhattan, I looked into his eyes and thought, "Wow, there's a man I could love."

But never did I imagine at the time that one day, our love could be recognized in every state across this nation with the same respect and equality that my straight friends had taken for granted since birth.

Although neither of us have seriously spoken of proposals or marriage to one another, it didn't matter. I saw, for the first time, a man I might marry in this brief time that I lived and breathed and loved upon this earth. He was a person, as my mother told me so many years ago, that she could love as well.

For a moment, I let instinct take over. I hugged him as hard as I, or he, could bear. I wept with sadness, and with joy.

DANIEL REYNOLDS is a reporter for The Advocate. Follow him on Twitter @dnlreynolds.


(A rally in San Francisco on Friday)


(A rally outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City on Friday)

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.