I was trying to figure out what to compare being at the state capitol to when the legislature when the vote came down to pass equal marriage yesterday. The closest I could get is at the end of the first performance of a play. You spend so much time and effort to complete something that others will see and hear, to take that last bow on stage as the audience claps. “We did it” Runs through the mind and that permanent grin makes it hard to sleep that night.
Now imagine that play was your life. You had spent years, even decades, working towards a goal. Your very being, your way of life has been on that stage attempting to first convince people that you exist. That the life you live is who you are and not some abomination. Once your friends and family were convinced you were human the fight had only begun.
As you start gaining dignity, however slight, you are accused of controlling every evil thing from politics to entertainment. While you fight to be able to hold a hand in public others accuse you of bringing the wrath of good down on the world; that you are just a disease to be cured. Still you sit on that stage being you as the people in the audience are there only to throw fruit at you.
As the years passed more and more people come onto the stage to declare who they are and sit ready for the insults to fly. But as chairs are filled on stage so too are seats in the audience. Friends and family members come to cheer you on. To say that who you are is not a crime but just the way things are.
Some of those in the audience who clap and cheer get back stage to support you. To fight with you. Yet still the critiques scream and write and throw their garbage. Not knowing that their garbage has never been a deterrent but a rallying cry to those not on stage to climb those steps for all the world to see.
Now as the balance shifts and the fruit thrown gets heaver and thrown harder, the amount is less. The theater is full of support and the opening performance is done. Gay Marriage in Minnesota has passed and will be law tonight. I got to see the joy and fulfillment of those who have fought for this most of their lives. Those who didn’t think this day would come in their lifetimes. Those who I have stood beside in this struggle as they stood beside me in mine. Those are the people I saw in the halls cheering and chanting for hours. Those whose smiles couldn’t be broken by anything. Those who wanted nothing more than to love.
Tonight, the governor signs the bill and the curtain comes down on opening night. Take your bow and celebrate with those you love. Take it all in. It is in this moment that all the hard work put onto that stage has been leading towards. The critiques will still write their words but it is not up to them anymore. The show has opened and I will gladly buy a seat to your next performance.