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Rebecca Shore: Celebrating My Mom's Wedding

Rebecca Shore,
LGBT Project
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June 20, 2008

Rebecca Shore is a staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBT Project.

My mom is getting married today in San Francisco. In this age of multiple marriages and divorces, the fact that my mom is remarrying, while exciting, is probably not the subject of a blog posting. But for my mom, who is gay, her wedding in California is more than exciting; it’s historic.

My mom and her partner have been together since I was 15 years old. For almost 20 years, they have loved each other, lived together, shared each other’s lives, friends, families and pets, bought houses and cars together, cried at each other’s hurts, and exulted in each other’s joys. My mom’s partner has been a grandmother to my daughter, and my mom has loved her partner’s grandchildren. In other words, they have been a family.

But also for those 20 years, I have watched as my mom experienced unequal treatment, intolerance, and sometimes prejudice because she is gay. I shared her anger at politicians and government leaders who have tried to legitimize discrimination against gay people, and cried with her when her 2004 San Francisco marriage license was invalidated by the California Supreme Court. And, with each insult and hurt, I have seen her fight back for equality and acceptance for everyone, within the San Francisco Bay Area where she and her partner live, and with her work with the senior LGBT community.

My mom and her partner cheered, danced, and celebrated at my wedding in San Francisco in June 2003, as any kvelling mom would. During my mom’s toast, she announced that she and her partner should get married as well, so that they too could have such a celebration. At the time — which was before the Massachusetts marriage decision — her statement saddened me as I realized that my mom and her partner would probably never marry. Yes, they could have a commitment ceremony, or register as a domestic partners, but, given the current political landscape, it was hard to believe that they would ever be permitted to get “married.”

Five years later, gay couples are getting married in Massachusetts and California, and their marriages are being recognized in even more states. It has been a hard struggle, but slowly and surely, the country is acknowledging that gay couples deserve the same ability to express their love and commitment, and be married.

So now I can cheer, dance, and celebrate at my mom’s wedding just as she and her partner did at mine. Today is not solely about my mom and her partner expressing their commitment to each other — they have done that for 20 years. My mom’s wedding today is a recognition that she and her partner’s relationship is just as special and just as real as everyone else’s relationship.

Mazel Tov, Mommy and Lila. Matt, Sarah, and I are so proud of you and are overjoyed to celebrate your wedding, marriage and love.