September 11 always brings with it social networking posts and conversations of people remembering where we were and what we were doing when the United States was attacked by terrorists that day in 2001. I appreciate those memories; it’s how we recall ourselves and our lives through our own lenses, which gives us our own significance at such a brutal time in our history.
There are few times in my life when I so vividly remember a day in my history. I don’t think this means that I find very few things to be historical; I think it’s that there hasn’t been a great number of broad, sweeping events or actions that freeze time in the same way. My memory retains snippets of events and images: logos and signs, feelings and interactions, temperature and weather. I can remember everything I experienced that election night at RiverCentre in St. Paul when the marriage amendment was voted down, but the actual winning of marriage equality in Minnesota is a bit more convoluted due to it being spread out over multiple days. But, when July 31 turned into August 1 and same-sex marriage became legally recognized, I know that I was at Patrick’s Cabaret covering the mass wedding ceremony that happened as the clock struck midnight; I know where I parked, who I saw, that I grabbed coffee at a fast food drive-thru on Lake Street on my way to Minneapolis City Hall where I found more people getting hitched until the wee hours of the morning.
When DOMA was struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States and Prop 8 went the way of equality in June last year, I was at my desk, following SCOTUSBlog and every other social media outlet I could. Social networking had been covered in a sea of HRC logos in red and pink; I can recall the people who pleasantly surprised me by changing out their profile picture for that clear display of supporting same-sex marriage. Those victories certainly made that morning significant, but the fact that it wasn’t broad and sweeping in terms of defining a clear path for the nation means that it didn’t take on that same air of historical relevance it could (should) have.
On September 29, the Supreme Court of the United States will have its first conference to consider which cases it will hear in its 2014-2015 term. There are 7 different petitions seeking certiorari (hearing oral arguments that will likely result in judgment) in marriage cases from 5 different states that have been distributed for the conference. If the marriage cases aren’t mentioned at that conference, there are subsequent other conferences this fall at which we might see progress.
My hope is that this is the year that time stops; when we remember what we were doing the morning that the Supreme Court ruled that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional in the United States. I want it to be one of those momentous occasions that causes us to remember what we had for breakfast, what was playing on the radio when we got the phone call, who we hugged, how we cried. How we felt significant.
With you and with hope,