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five and a half years ago i married the most amazing woman. we got married in sweden, since she’s swedish. and, after 6 months of living in two different countries right after our marriage, i moved to sweden so we could create our life together.
i’ve always wanted to live in europe. but, i must admit that part of the reason that we chose to live in sweden rather than the states, was because our marriage was legal here.
there was pretty much no way that we could live in the united states back in 2010.
in sweden, we are legally married, recognized, and have all of the rights + privileges as any other couple. in fact, there are no real issues at all in sweden regarding marriage equality. of course there are some conservative christian people (even here!) that like to talk shit about same sex couples, but that is a teeny, teeny, tiny small percentage.
the problem is that we love sweden and we love the united states. specifically my home state of north carolina. but, as i said, it was not possible for us to live in the states. the only way that lina (my wife) could live there with me was if she got a job, which gave her a work visa (not an easy thing to do at all!). or for her to study (which took loads of money).
so, sweden was our home for three years.
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then, after three years in sweden, we had the opportunity for move to north carolina! we had a huge gift given to us, and an opportunity for my love to study at an american university became a reality. then, voila! after a year of long processes, my love got a student visa for 4 years and we moved to our beloved asheville, north carolina!
so, to sum up… the only legal way we could live in the united states was to pay craploads of money for my love to study. and, our marriage was not even recognized as legal when we moved. but, we did it anyway! and we were happy.
then the unthinkable happened, literally just about the same time we were boarding the plane to move to the states in 2013…
united states vs windsor went to trial, and the supreme court decided that the federal government must recognize marriages of lesbian and gay couples.
the defense of marriage act (DOMA) was found unconstitutional, which means victory for same-sex bi-national couples. what does that mean?! it means that, as an american citizen, i could petition for a green card for my wife, just like heterosexual couples have always been able to do. lina would have the right to live in the states based on our marriage – just like i had the right in sweden.
of course, this didn’t mean that everything was fine & dandy for everyone, everywhere. in fact, in north carolina (as sick as this is gonna sound), our marriage was still not legally recognized. we had no rights as a married couple in the state.
so, our marriage was recognized by the us government, but not in north carolina. it was only legal in 13 states. at the time, though, it was a huge step forward for equal rights. though there was much work left to be done to ensure full legal, equal rights for all couples in all places at all times.
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fast forward to a little more than a year after we had moved to the states. life in asheville was good, but our marriage was still not recognized. so, if either one of us landed in the hospital, we were out of luck. the other one could not visit because we were not family. (just one example of the discrimination + inequality).
in october of 2014, a ruling in virginia struck down the law that defined marriage as only between a man and a women. in other words, it was now unconstitutional (illegal) to say that marriage was only between a man and a woman in virginia. suddenly everything changed! in literally a minute!
that ruling opened the door for other states to also strike down their own bans on same-sex marriage. north carolina had had a ban on gay marriage for a while, but i didn’t really believe that the law would be struck down anytime soon.
however, after a lot of drama and a lot of waiting, and hoping, and wishing, and a few last ditch political and horrific stalling tactics by republicans, and almost giving up, at the last minute on an october friday night, a judge in north carolina ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional (because of what happened in virginia on monday). and then, within minutes, same- sex marriages were allowed to begin.
suddenly, within a flash, our marriage was recognized in our state. suddenly we were a married couple in north carolina – with rights and privileges. not just two girls living together. but, legitimately married. it felt amazing. and i could hardly breathe.
this was the day that love came to north carolina. the day that equality and justice won. i was so proud. so excited. and so overjoyed. and you know what else? it really did feel different walking around today, holding my love’s, my wife’s, hand – knowing that we are not just two women who live together. but, in the eyes of the law of north carolina and the united states, we are legally married. it is a binding contract, affording us the same rights and privileges as opposite gender couples. and i cannot adequately describe to you how incredible this feels.
but, there is still bad news: even though states all across the nation were beginning to make same sex marriages legal, there were many states still holding on to their marriage bans and still mired in discrimination.
and, of course, the conservatives in north caroline began putting up a good fight, spending tax payers money, trying to undo what has been done. and, you know what? they have succeeded in some ways… ugh. marriage is still legal in north carolina. but there are new discriminatory laws that are being put in place, taking away some of the right that we just won a few months ago.
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but… there is something happening in the supreme court again. right now.
nationwide marriage equality could be a real thing in the united states in the next few days. like. for. real.
this month, the supreme court is set to make a decision that just might make same-sex marriage the law of the land = legal + recognized in every single state! this would change absolutely every single thing. this is the thing that would make the united states a country of marriage equality.
this decision is HUGE: if ruled in favor of marriage equality, it would overturn same-sex marriage bans currently in the remaining 13 states, and make same-sex marriage legal throughout the country.
it time time, people. time to stop having LGBTQ couples being treated as second citizens, as less than. it is time that we live out the belief that love is love.
so here’s what’s happening: the case, obergefell v. hodges was argued before the supreme court back in april, and now the supreme court (the highest court in the country) has to address two questions very important questions:
Question 1: Does the U.S. Constitution require states to perform same-sex marriages? (because of basic civil rights)*.
Question 2: Does the Constitution requite states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states? (same reason)*
*of course, i am majorly, majorly simplifying the issue. i’m not lawyer or constitutionalist, you know! hehe.
i am breathlessly, crazily waiting to hear what the supreme court decides. because, whether i live in the states or in sweden, this affects me and my wife. and it affects many, many other couples as well.
over the next two-ish weeks, we wait to hear what the decision will be. the supreme court makes its decisions (opinions) on thursdays + mondays (if i understand it correctly).
and a decision will be made by monday, june 29. when it will come, no one is really sure.
so, we wait. and we hope. and we keep on believing. fighting every single day for every american to have the right to simply love who they love. we fight by raising our voices and by living our lives. we fight by living a life of love. and never giving up. we show what we mean. we share our stories. and we believe that, in the end, love will win.
because that’s what is at stake: love
onwards + upwards!
to keep up with the latest news from the supreme court + marriage equality click –> http://www.hrc.org/campaigns/stand-for-marriage.