The West Coast woke up to something monumental on Friday. The Supreme Court voted to allow LGBT citizens the right to marry anywhere from sea to shining sea.
It was like Manifest Destiny for San Francisco values. Suddenly our queer siblings and parents and friends and hairdressers and selves could marry the people they loved in every state in the Union. Yes, even those states.
And it felt good. Like really good. Because, whether or not any of us had consciously realized it, we really needed a win. Too many mornings lately we’ve woken up to bad news. From racially based police brutality and murder, to terrorist mass killings, to the evictions of our friends and loved ones…every time we watched or read the news (or turned on Facebook), the world seemed to be going to hell. And then Friday happened, and it felt damn good.
I got the news in a hotel room in Seattle that I was sharing with my gay brother Ross. He burst in the door, waking me up, and said, “Oh my god! The Supreme Court just made gay marriage legal! You gotta get up and watch the news!” So I did, and sat there crying tears of joy, and relief, while the past couple years of national hatred and heartbreak washed out of me…for at least a little while.
Once the initial jubilation wore off the first thing I thought was, “I can’t believe I’m not in San Francisco.” My city who gave lives for this very day and who rioted in the streets for it. My city who legalized love in 2004 and who took Pride, one of the most powerful words in the English language, and emboldened it to mean something more. My city who had been fighting for this day for decades and who at this very moment, got it, exactly when we needed good news the most. Damn it felt good to be a San Franciscan, which is a feeling many of us hadn’t had in a long time.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not dogging Seattle by any means. It’s an incredibly progressive city with a vibrant LGBT community and a badass gay/hipster/hipster-gay neighborhood called Capitol Hill. Plus they even have an openly gay mayor, Ed Murray. I was more than excited be on a trip with my family and get to spend Pride weekend with them celebrating this momentous occasion. But as the photos kept rolling in on social media I couldn’t help but get little twinges of “I wish I was there” because I knew that in my heart, I was there.
By the time you read this article the news cycle will be on to the next thing. Your Facebook feed will be clogged up with some terrible news about an atrocity in the Middle East or a police murder in New Jersey or the shameful eviction of somebody’s grandmother in San Francisco. But when that happens remember last Friday and let it give you hope. Let it remind you that we can change things and we can make the world a better place. It may take years and it may take struggle and set backs, but last Friday was proof that, with enough love, hard work and organization, the tide of history can be pushed forward.
Last Friday was a good day to be an American. I’m really looking forward to saying that again soon.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in The San Francisco Examiner.