The Austin Chronicle

The Hightower Report

What moved marriage equality from taboo to justice?

By Jim Hightower, July 17, 2015, News

Until 2010, CBS television's daytime lineup included a long-running soap opera titled As the World Turns. But times change, and now a real-life human drama of profound importance has debuted in America, titled "As the Generations Turn."

It's the inspiring story of our society's continuing struggle to evolve toward equality, dignity, and mutual respect – as well as love – for all. The moment came on June 26, when Justice Anthony Kennedy proclaimed from the ornate chamber of the Supreme Court: "The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, couples of the same sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty."

Kennedy and four other justices voted to make this higher level of inclusiveness the law of the land, but they are not the ones who produced this landmark. Indeed, while the Court's ruling debuts a new day, it is the culmination of generations of painful struggle by brave gay and lesbian activists and advocates. And in particular, it is the product of a defiant and determined LGBT movement for equality that arose from the brutal police riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York in 1969.

This democratic evolution from rank inequality literally came out of America's closet, rising through only a few neighborhoods at first, but then entering the consciousness of today's youth. Rejecting the shibboleths, ignorance, fears, and bigotry that have previously permitted such intolerable discrimination, young people have, in a remarkably short time, created a generational shift in the nation's consciousness.

The true Supremes are the people themselves, and it's their awakening enlightenment that has transformed marriage equality from yesterday's taboo to today's affirmation of simple justice.

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