This morning, at just a touch past 10, the Supreme Court announced its long-awaited ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, striking the law down in an uncharacteristically sweeping 5-4 ruling. In all the media analysis mumbo-jumbo since the case was argued back in February, the fundamentals of the case got all tangled up in conjecture and hypotheses about the court ruling this way or that.
Well, no more need for guesswork: With the demise of DOMA, married gay couples in the states where it’s legal (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, and D.C.) can now enjoy the over 1,000 federal rights and benefits attached to marriage. And here in New York, it means more than 10,000 couples living with skim-milk marriage can now get their cut of the fat.
Right after the decision was announced, Edith Windsor, the widow and plaintiff who started this whole party, exclaimed, “I want to go to Stonewall right now!”
We here at the Voice thought, hell, that’s not a bad idea. Might be nice to see where it all began, talk to the folks gathered at the first shrine to the gay liberation struggle. So we hoofed it down to Christopher Street, hoping to insert ourselves among the jubilant throng.
But by the time we got to the bar, it was essentially just reporters standing around getting reactions to this morning news–the crowd from this morning had all but dissipated. The enthusiasm, while still present, was muted. (For pictures of what it looked like this morning, check out some photos here.)
We approached a number of patrons at the bar. Most were either tired of talking to journalists or were more interested in the designs they had on the beers in front of them. The party had passed, and it was back to business as usual in no time.
And I guess that’s the story, isn’t it? The remarkable strand that ties the whole mess of DOMA and the gay rights movement together is that for some time now, full protection under the law for LGBT citizens was seen or felt to be inevitable by nearly everyone on both sides of the issue. Since we’ve been hurtling toward this destination (more a waypoint than a conclusion) for so long, what we saw on the street today was the kind of relief that comes from checking a box on a long list of to-dos. It’s all going to get done one way or another. Now that DOMA is dead and Proposition 8 defanged, it’s on to the next one.