Following in her parents’ footsteps in the fight for marriage

Yesterday, October 29, former journalist Sue Green published an opinion piece in The Advocate outlining the story of her parents fighting for marriage before she was born, and how she continues the fight for the freedom to marry for everyone. In 1961, when Sue's parents got married, they were fighting against laws banning marriage between interracial couples. This year, Sue and her wife fought a similar fight, for their marriage to be respected in their home state of Arizona, urging the courts to strike down Arizona's ban against marriage between same-sex couples. They celebrated earlier this month when a federal judge struck down Arizona's marriage ban once and for all. 

Although Sue's parents had to repeatedly ask for permission from the Army, of which her father was a part, and were only allowed to live in one of the states that respected their marriage, they finally were able to get married. Sue wrote:

Quickly, my father hopped on the phone to my mother, instructing her to grab her wedding dress, which had been hanging in her closet for months. He wanted to get to the registrar’s office before the military “powers that be” changed their minds.

That afternoon, they got my mother’s family together, and stood before the preacher, God, and a handful of friends and committed themselves to each other, regardless of the law in some states. Their commitment was as strong the day my father died as it was the day they tied the knot. They knew they faced an uphill battle, but they would be doing it together. The lack of a unified law did not scare them off.

Six years later, in 1967, the Supreme Court ruled that bans against marriage between interracial couples were unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia, making the freedom for interracial couples to marry a nationwide law.

This op-ed brings to light the milestone that the United States reached earlier this month. After the United States Supreme Court denied review in five cases involving the freedom to marry, the freedom to marry was effectively brought to 35 states, leaving 15 states without the freedom to marry. In 1967, when Sue's parents' marriage became respected throughout the country, 16 states refused to respect marriage between interracial couples. This means that, today, we have effectively won more freedom-to-marry states for same-sex couples than we had won for interracial couples prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia.

Sue and her wife continue to work towards the freedom to marry everywhere, and know that their love will prevail, just as her parents' did before her. Like Sue's parents, we must keep fighting until same-sex couples across the nation are free to marry.