‘You mean it was illegal before?’

63019_10151407541394010_2069448190_nI know there are a lot of stories, opinions, statements and ideologies being offered today as the Supreme Court hears arguments regarding Prop 8. I don’t want to go into a long, tired argument as to why I support marriage equality – those who support it will understand, those who don’t will dismiss.

But I will say this: I was a journalist when Iowa’s high court deemed the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in 2009. I remember talking to those who both supported and objected to the move, all the while containing my own opinions because, well, that’s what journalists *do.*

When I got home, however, I could share my excitement with my kids, who were then 16 and 11. I’ll never forget their response:

“You mean it was illegal before?”

It never occurred to them that any group of people in the United States wouldn’t have the same rights as everyone else.

I was both thrilled and dismayed – thrilled because I had raised my kids to be so open to the differences between us all and embrace them without question, but dismayed because I had sheltered them so much that they weren’t aware of the inequalities and discrimination that really do exist. My daughter became fascinated with the civil rights struggles of the ’60s a few years earlier, and was captivated by the actions of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, she studied and listened to speakers regarding the Holocaust and shared the sadness we all do when we think of that period. But those were things of the past in her eyes, things that happened in history.

Now we’re here. History is happening again, right in front of them. I hope, as my kids raise their own children, they can tell them about  this time in history and hear the same quizzical response from their kids: “You mean it was illegal before?”

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