With pundits on both sides firing off on yesterday’s SCOTUS rulings on DOMA and Prop 8, my Facebook thread rightfully aflutter with glad tidings and celebratory photos, my phone buzzing with calls and texts from family and friends, and my heart pounding with exhilaration, I kept repeating something–a new mantra of sorts–I learned from Dame Judi Dench as her on-screen character Evelyn navigates a new life in India.
“Initially you’re overwhelmed. But gradually you realize it’s like a wave. Resist, and you’ll be knocked over. Dive into it, and you’ll swim out the other side.”
And while Rachel Maddow likely won’t reference The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel anytime during her discussions about national LGBT rights versus state-centric LGBT rights, I find many of the characters’ quips about starting anew incredibly empowering. Because, like the retirees in their new environment, LGBT people have a new landscape opening up before their eyes.
It’s difficult to articulate the absolute importance of yesterday’s rulings, and the unexpected nature of it all–especially given the way the SCOTUS took a step back with their ruling on the Voting Rights Act. For many of us, it seems like a dream, while its reality leaves us in shock. So many activists–especially of the Stonewall-era–never thought they’d see such a day, experience this wave of change first-hand.
But as Evelyn so rightly alludes, resistance to the tide will only ensure a swift fall from grace. And I think Republicans are soaking wet and floundering. Because the rulings not only illustrate how grossly ineffective the Republicans’ egregious DOMA-defense expenditures have been, but they also reveal how archaic and anachronistic their conservative 1950’s-era perspectives of the sociopolitical and economic landscapes are today.
And while there is still plenty of work to do before the dissonance between the national and state definitions of marriage are reconciled and marriage equality spreads–including greater vigilance in southern states hard-hit by the Voting Rights Act ruling–it is a new day in this strange new nation.
With a legislative body whose anti-LGBT head has been lopped off–a welcomed decapitation.
Whose body is riding the wave into a brighter future.