"I said it on the Oscar stage," Dustin Lance Black told me last week, just one day after announcing his engagement to Olympic diver Tom Daley. "That I hoped one day I'd be able to fall in love and get married. I never dreamed in that time I'd meet somebody and fall in love and get engaged. I just never knew if that was something I'd be able to appreciate in my own lifetime."
Black spoke about marriage, his brand new engagement, and what the future might hold on my podcast, Defining Marriage. It was one day after he announced his engagement to Olympic diver Tom Daley, and he was beaming.
"We dream bigger," Black said, describing how his life has changed since meeting Daley. "Things seem so much more possible together. ... We both want a family. We want something bigger than just ourselves. That's one of the big reasons I fought for marriage."
Black's connection to marriage equality runs deep. He's been a marriage activist since 2008, when California passed Proposition 8, which revoked the freedom to marry in the state until it was overturned five years later. Black co-founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and our lives started overlapping when I came to work at AFER.
AFER's small team worked tirelessly for years on the case that eventually overturned Prop. 8. Following that victory, Black began work on When We Rise, an ABC miniseries expected sometime in 2016, about the LGBT rights movement starting at Stonewall. At the same time, I started writing a book called Defining Marriage, full of the intimate personal stories about the people who fought for marriage over the last 40 years.
Each episode of the Defining Marriage podcast features a chapter of the book read aloud, followed by bonus interviews and conversation. You can listen to the latest episode below, or at DefiningMarriage.com, with Black's segment featured at about the halfway mark of Chapter 11. Also featured in the episode are Juan and Tim Clark-Lucero, a couple who managed to marry in California the day after Proposition 8 passed.
"Sometimes you have dreams that you're too shy to share with your close friends," Black told me, "but you might share them with someone you have true intimacy with. And in sharing those dreams... you breathe possibility into them."
"I grew up Mormon," he added. "You can take the boy out of the church, but you can't take the church out of the boy. I still want to have a lot of kids. The possibility of having a family, a big family, a messy family — that sounds so joyful to me, and wasn't something I imagined I'd be able to do on my own."
Listen to the latest episode of the Defining Marriage podcast below.