As an eight year resident of Washington state and an ally of the LGBT community, I was overjoyed when the results began coming in for Referendum 74 in favor of allowing same sex marriage – barring, of course, the overall grossness I felt about voting on the civil rights of other human beings. Marriage is a human right, and I can’t imagine spending so much time talking about weddings while denying all the rights and benefits they convey to my friends. As it became clear that Referendum 74 would pass, I began to brainstorm things I and other allies could do to help celebrate the joyous occasion and stumbled upon the idea of handing out flowers to the happy couples on what was to become marriage equality day, December 9th.
At first I tried to get corporate and local business donations to maximize impact, but they all fell through for one reason or another…and that’s when people stepped up. Between private donations, my contributions, and friends bringing their own flowers, we handed out over 300 flowers last Sunday, and when the back doors to Seattle City Hall opened and the first couple stepped out into the light, the first happy tears began to fall and the air was filled with nothing but love.
People have asked why everyone was making such a big deal about marriage equality day in Washington, when everyone having the right to marry should be normal instead of extraordinary. I cannot speak for everyone, but I celebrate precisely because it’s not normal, because it’s one hard-won step in the battle for marriage equality everywhere, on the federal level, not just in Washington, Iowa, New York, Maryland, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Everyone should have the right to have a nervous breakdown over a seating chart, agonize over a registry, and be wooed by wedding vendors for their big day, not just straight couples. So in the future, in Washington, marriage equality will be commonplace, but for now, it’s a victory, a shining beacon of love and “it gets better” in a sea of inequality. That’s something worth celebrating.
If you’d like to see some more of the day’s celebrations and question whether someone is cutting onions near your computer, check out this gallery of professional photos.