June 26: The Gay Holy Day (And My Birthday) #LoveWins

The News

As the entire gay community knows, on the 26th of June 2015, the Supreme Court had a 5-4 ruling in favor for the right of same-sex marriage across the country. It literally broke the internet on all formats and mediums. One of the first public posting on Facebook I saw was the Human Rights Campaign’s following post:

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It comes right in time for a few major city’s PRIDE weekend. The ruling also falls on my Golden Birthday (turned 26 on 6/26). However, my birthday is not new at being the date for historical gay landmark rulings.

The Supreme Court & The Gays

On June 26th, 2003, the Supreme Court struck down laws that made gay sex a crime with their ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. The landmark case came about as officers from Houston, TX entered an apartment in response to a weapons disturbance. The officers caught the apartment’s owner John Geddes Lawrence engaging in sexual acts with Tyron Garner, subsequently arresting, charging them and convicting them. The conviction complied with the following Texan law:

A person commits an offense if he engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex.

Deviate sexual intercourse (is defined as):

(A) any contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person; or

(B) the penetration of the genitals or the anus of another person with an object.

The 2003 ruling of Lawrence v. Texas explicitly overruled the ruling on Bowers v. Hardwick. On June 30th, 1986, the Supreme Court had ruled against Michael Hardwick and upheld Georgian law against sodomy, which was defined as oral and anal sex of either sex. The case came about as an arrest warrant was issued for Hardwick for public drinking. Hardwick’s roommate allowed the officers to enter the apartment to serve the warrant, when they witnessed Hardwick and a man engaging in oral sex in his own bedroom. Both men were arrested. The Supreme Court’s ruling implied that the right to privacy did not protect homosexual sex.

On June 26th, 20013, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law denying benefits to married same-sex couples in United States v. Windsor. This landmark case came about when Edith Windsor sought to claim federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses. Thea Spyer had married Windsor in Canada in 2007 before passing away in 2009, leaving her entire estate to Windsor. The IRS denied Windsor an estate refund for reasons of Section 3 of the federal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), which defined “marriage” and “spouse” as excluding same-sex partnerships. The ruling requires the federal government to acknowledge same-sex marriages performed legally at the state level.

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Now, on June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages cannot be prohibited by a state in Obergefell v. Hodges. The latest installment of Supreme Court gay landmark rulings came about when John Arthur wanted Ohio Registrar to identify his spouse James Obergefell as his surviving spouse on his death certificate. Following United States v. Windsor, Arthur and Obergefell married on July 11th, 2013 in Maryland. Arthur was terminally ill and suffered from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which led him to prepare his death certificate. The Supreme Court’s official holding is as follows:

The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

The ruling implies that same-sex marriages are now recognized as valid and enforced in all states and territories.

Other Gay News

Quite honestly, there has been so much gay news on every informative platform that it’s truly hard to keep up. There’s a checklist of celebrities that are tweeting, status updating, instagramming and publicly announcing their support or opposition of gay rights. There’s conservatives that are saying how mournful the ruling is to society, and how it sets precedence to other rulings. There’s vines about children saying cute things in support of gay rights and half-naked people dancing in all shades of rainbow. There’s a bunch of LGBT-friendly social cannibalism , whether gay person themselves or ally. It’s truly hard to keep up, and half of it’s not worth really digging too deep into.

One cute and funny video that broke the internet would be the New York Officer.

On the other side of the spectrum, there had been a Facebook account under the name of “Jennifer Aniston” that had voiced out disapproval of a photo of gay rights circa 2000s by Ed Freeman. Their Facebook post is as follows:

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My Thoughts

The video of the New York Police Department officer dancing at a PRIDE parade is somewhat comforting and cute. Anyone can say that there is so much work to be done for gay rights, but we have to admit that socially, we have the upper hand. In having the upper hand, we have to be careful that we aren’t bullying others to have the same opinion as ourselves and accept that some people don’t have the same thoughts as one another. Sadly, it’s now commonplace to see that those who oppose homosexuality are ostracized, called names, bullied and lose friendships over it. I love those who accept homosexuality, but I also accept those who don’t accept homosexuality because I accept their line of thought. I’m not going to make someone believe what I believe, especially those who I don’t know nor care about — especially when they’re trolling as other people.

tumblr_nogwf0iv2l1tzet00o1_500The troll behind the faux-Jennifer Aniston Facebook account had been impersonating Aniston as far back as 2011 but just now had gotten the publicity that they’ve been craving. I had seen it posted right away as one of my friends had shared it, and had to see if it was really THE Jennifer Aniston. I reached the same conclusions as the websites had — that previously shared links had unknown (perhaps Arabic) titles, that she didn’t share anything personal like photos or other statuses, and the activity on the account was nearly inactive. I had taken the responsibility to report the page, but on the iPhone Facebook App, they didn’t give an option of reporting a false identity page so I reported it as a harassment so that I would be able to send a report instead of being led to a “just block the bitch” option.

After an entire day to ‘review’ my report, Facebook got back at me on June 28th at 8:44PM with this e-mail.

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Quite honestly, I almost agreed to the fact that I didn’t feel harassed by the troll page, or even by the post but I hated that it was a troll page– that they are pretending to be Jennifer Aniston AND giving opinions on a political (or any other) matter. The opinion of a random troll has potential effects on Aniston’s career and reputation. I don’t really mind the comments the post has in itself, because it’s an opinion and in actuality, it could be seen as offensive but so could a lot of things. You could get offended by any of the military-dancing films, by any time Family Guy makes fun of President Obama, or by Steven Seagal wearing an American flag as a kimono.

I understand that some people truly sees the Raising of the Rainbow flag as some sign of struggle and whatnot, but to me, it’s just another piece of art (political or otherwise, not adjective’d). To me, it’s in the lines of a fat Elvis Presley impersonator, an evil Santa in a horror film, or President Bush photoshopped as Satan. It’s in the same lines as Sargent Dan being seen as a lowlife after the war in Forest Gump, or Jeremy Irons playing a sadistic pope in The Borgias, or William Churchill being photoshopped for a Blink182 exclusive poster. It’s art, and there’s bound to be critics.

After getting that response from Facebook, I decided to let it go. What else is there to do? But then I received another e-mail on June 30th at 5:47PM.

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I’m glad that the troll page had been put down, and that shouldn’t be put back up. It’s a damper for the day we should be celebrating — MY BIRTHDAY!

I always had a love for my birthday — like anyone else in the history of birthdates. I always made 6 my lucky number, having 6/26 being my birthday. I rationalize my illogical choices to make them finalize at 6, whether it’s that 3×2=6, 6×2=12, or that a number end in a (6).

But then I started thinking my birthday wasn’t that great, because it’s always in the summertime and I didn’t get that “No-Uniform Today” day at my Catholic Private School, or didn’t bring in birthday cupcakes for my class. Even when I turned 21, the campus was empty and the bars weren’t as fun. But on top of that, my parents’ anniversary was on the 30th of June and vacations to Vietnam started to be commonplace around the date. I wouldn’t’ve minded my birthday in a tropical place, but I wouldn’t consider Vietnam to be a tropical place more than it was hell on earth without my friends or good American food.

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This year in particular, my birthday was rather ridiculous. Sometimes, my family would go the whole day without telling me Happy Birthday and I got over it. But 5 years ago, my brother decided to get married on my birthday in Vietnam. Earlier this month, Joey and my dad left to Vietnam to get my brother’s 2nd wedding preparations ready. On my birthday this year, Blanche and my mother left to go to Vietnam for the 4th of July wedding. Before my mom left, she looked me in the eye and mournfully said, “Do you know what tomorrow is? It’s Joey’s and his first wife’s anniversary.” Who the fuck cares, mom? It’s my fucking birthday?!

But the decision on making my big gay relationship with Perseus accepted across the American land is actually a good birthday gift. Two years ago, I had gotten a t-shirt from the then-power couple Brandon Brown and Colby Melvin that marked the fall of DOMA. This year, however, I haven’t found a shirt I liked to commemorate the date that happens to be my birthday. Dustin Lance Black and Tom Daley should make a shirt.

Sample
Sample

Honestly, I never really minded if Perseus and I ever got a bloody paper to certify our love and our relationship. Or any of my relationships. But now that I think of our future, having that stupid piece of paper really helps me get the things I want out of my life with him. Sharing parenthood with Perseus would be easier with marriage. Willing my possessions to him would be easier with marriage. Seeing him in the hospital would be easier with marriage.

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Everything would be easier with marriage, and I’m fucking glad I have that right now.

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2 Comments Add yours

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