Written by Zamara Perri
In a 5-4 ruling on Friday, the Supreme Court justices made it legal for same-sex couples to get married in all 50 states. As a black lesbian who never intended to get married, I think it’s great news especially for black families. The financial, social and legal benefits of marriage are well known so I won’t restate them here. But I will say that for many black same-sex couples who are statistically on the bottom of the totem pole, this is a step forward.
Although I love black lesbian love stories, I do not personally plan to rush to the altar. My partner and I have discussed marriage quite a bit. We both agree that we want a lifelong commitment with each other, but we don’t feel that legal marriage is the only way to do so.
She wants to have a huge wedding ceremony and doesn’t want government involvement, while I don’t want a huge ceremony and would be fine just going to the justice of the peace. She is more concerned about the ritual and ceremony while I’m more concerned about legal protections. I’m sure in time we’ll come to an agreement, but for now we are not in a rush.
Needless to say, I support the freedom to get legally married and I’m thrilled for those who take this step. I will continue to highlight legal marriages and other examples of loving, committed black lesbian relationships.
Some people are rightly pointing out that for black people this is a bittersweet victory. Yes, the ruling gives legally married gay couples access to hundreds of the same rights as every other married couple in this country and that’s great. However, it’s difficult to ignore that the ruling came during a time of highly visible killings of black people. Some people are calling the new nationwide same-sex marriage law, a distraction, which has truth since we haven’t heard much about the Texas pool party or the Charleston shootings.
I say it is a victory for those who want it, but we must call out the mostly wealthy white powers that be, who funded the gay rights struggle while ignoring that most black people continue to be targets of an oppressive, racist power structure that benefits white people and leave many blacks disenfranchised.
As a black lesbian at the intersection of two minority groups, I can be happy for the marriage victory, while recognizing that we must continue to call attention to the other injustices impacting the black community at large.