This morning, I woke up with such a full heart and an amazing sense of déjà vu. Today, I am going to San Francisco City Hall, to the mayor’s office, and will witness history. I will be surrounded by familiar faces, the faces of heroes. I will stand before two of the most extraordinary women in my life and watch them affirm their love and relationship. I will watch Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin exchange vows, and as I watch, I will have the full confidence that their marriage is as enduring as their love.
Four years ago, Phyllis and Del married in secret, with fewer than a dozen people in the room. When we all woke up the next morning, it was a different world. It felt unreal and magical, a dream that I had to close my eyes to remember. Today is different. Phyllis and Del had time—although not much—to print invitations and a plan reception. Family and friends could make travel arrangements and fly in for the ceremony. Today will be a day full of joy and celebration, and I am so proud to pay witness to this moment in history and pay tribute to two of the founding mothers of our movement.
I asked Phyllis and Del what they planned to do after Monday, and they said they wanted to have their party and then rest. They plan to play cards, read, watch the news, and attend a wedding of close friends. In other words, they plan to live just as they did yesterday, last week, last month, and last year. They plan to enjoy the extraordinariness of ordinary love, the comfort of sitting next to the person you love most in the world. Phyllis and Del have been sitting side by side for 55 years. Tomorrow, they will wake up and their love will be the same—extraordinary and ordinary all at the same time—but they will be married, a gift and a fundamental right they never thought they would live to see.
I know as I witness this extraordinary moment, I will cry—even thinking about it makes me well up. I feel so lucky to be alive for this history that I really cannot describe it. I know my heart will grow fuller and fuller as the days go on and more and more couples affirm their commitment and love. The celebration and joy will continue, but, over time, the weddings will become commonplace. The love will remain extraordinary, but our marriages will be beautiful and ordinary—as they should be. I very much hope that 10 or even 5 years from now, the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples to marry is no more remarkable than our right to a workplace free from discrimination, or our right to safe school hallways, our right to live free from violence, or our ability to live fully and openly. I know that in most places in this country none of this has been achieved. I know that in every state, regardless of what the laws say, there are LGBT folks who live lives tinged with fear and marked by bigotry. But I also know that today marks an unprecedented new beginning, and a turn away from the worst we have suffered.
It does not matter if you are gay or straight—today is about shared humanity and being in love—that’s a déjà vu we all get to share.