Written by Hannah Willard, Policy & Outreach Coordinator
One year ago today, I celebrated the freedom to marry in Florida. I celebrated with Floridians who waited decades for that moment, who will wait decades before ever exercising their right to marry, and some who will choose to never marry. Over the last year, I and so many others have continued the celebration, because this victory truly is about freedom. One year ago today, a glorious choice was ushered into Florida. This new option has already drastically changed the lives of many yet seems to have left others completely unaltered; an extraordinary victory for ordinary families.
I’m not married, but marriage equality has touched me personally. For me this victory really is about the freedom to marry. As a young person, marriage isn’t on my list of immediate priorities. And because of my identity as a queer woman, I don’t yet know who I’ll marry or whether it will be someone I could have legally married just one year ago. Many of my friends and peers feel similarly; in this new era of queer sexuality and evolving identity, the freedom to marry is monumental. The beauty of this victory is the choice, the option, and the freedom to fall in love without limits. Marriage matters because of its singular ability to link two people together for a lifetime. It’s the foundation of many families – it will be the foundation of mine. It’s about knowing that someday, when my partner and I so choose, marriage will be an option for which we won't have to ask permission or offer apologies. It will be ours for the taking - a civil right that cannot be denied.
While we celebrate today and mark this huge step forward, we must not forget that this is a single step on a long journey. My fellow millennials worry about job security, student loans, housing costs, and being safe in the communities we call home. Marriage equality barely scratches the surface of what it means to achieve full equality for LGBTQ Floridians. We know our movement is about more than marriage and we’re ready to go all in to make sure that every single kid growing up today will know that no matter who they are or who they love, they can live their ‘happily ever after’. We know our marriage victory was built on the backs of so many who did not get to experience this moment with us, and we cannot delay another minute in the fight for full equality. History will not wait – we’re ready to keep winning.