At Creative Family Connections, we have always known that marriage matters – that it’s not “just” a piece of paper.
All married couples are entitled to equal treatment under the law. What does this mean for surrogacy? Quite simply, that there can no longer be different rules for married straight couples and married gay couples. If a state’s laws permit surrogacy for married couples then all married couples can now build their families by surrogacy. This is a vitally important step forward for equal rights for all Intended Parents, and we celebrate this victory!
It’s also a fact that Federal law provides citizens with more than 1,100 benefits, rights, and protections based on marital status alone.
Among these are:
- Social Security survival benefits for spouses
- Granting green cards and VISAs to spouses of US citizens
- The ability for Federal workers’ healthcare to cover a spouse, and the right for a spouse to have COBRA coverage
- The elimination of tax burdens that exist for non-married couples
But, while these things are all important, they are not ALL that is important.
Following the Supreme Court’s historic ruling last week, I was privileged to travel to NYC with a group of gay friends to experience NYC Pride from a whole new perspective. What was made abundantly clear to me was that marriage is not purely a legal issue. Marriage also matters because people quite simply want to feel equal. Everyone wants to feel accepted. Everyone wants to be respected. Everyone wants to feel whole. We all want to know that our country “has our back”, regardless of our race, religion, or sexual orientation.
Last weekend I witnessed hugs, tears, laughter, and an overwhelming sense that we are truly riding the wave of an historic change in our nation. I heard more than one person pause at a raucous party to reflect, “I still can’t believe this has happened in my lifetime.” But it has.
On July 4th, 1776, our Founding Fathers stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Nearly 200 years later, in 1963, MLK Jr. was still fighting for the truth in those words, when he said “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” In 1968, MLK died for his dream, but his dream didn’t die.
By the early 70s, the tide was turning and racial equality was slowly but surely progressing across the country. Meanwhile, a new civil rights movement was beginning. Harvey Milk was rallying in San Francisco, still asking us to remember that “all men are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.”
More than 30 years after Harvey Milk’s passing, the Supreme Court of the United States has done the right thing. Our justices have heard the pleas of past generations who marched in the streets and raised their voices and waved their flags for equal rights.
They have also spoken for the multitude of gay people who have lived their entire lives silently, and in the dark – never feeling able to experience their true right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Just months before he died, Harvey Milk stood before the crowd at San Francisco Pride, and said:
“You have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow… Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but …the us’es, the us’es will give up … And you and you and you, you have to give people hope.”
I wish Harvey were here to see this. His hope paid off. And it matters.