| Tom Grote
By any measure, 2013 was a groundbreaking, tipping
point year for the LGBTQ community, and for my family
In January, my husband (it’s official now, as of October, 2013 in Massachusetts) and I along with our two daughters, Amoret (4) and Sophia (1) attended the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. We witnessed his swearing in for his second term as Amoret was climbing a tree and Sophia was all bundled up, trying to stay warm. We felt at home. Many, many folks from the diverse crowd gave us a thumbs up and approving smiles and asked us who did the girls’ hair (Rick of course).
In June, I sat at my office desk, glued to my computer as I read the blog from the Supreme Court regarding the decisions around the landmark cases on gay marriage. The decisions and applications of those decisions would prove to be more than many would have ever hoped. But the affirmation from the highest court in the land was even more meaningful to me. I could not stop crying and had to shut my office door. When I gathered myself, I shared the news with my colleagues, and that evening, our family celebrated at our neighborhood restaurant, Barcelona.
This October, Rick and I took the girls to Boston, where we were finally “legally” married (a little challenging with Sophia running around the clerk’s office getting into everything). We got “church married” in 2007 at First Community United Church of Christ in Marble Cliff in front of 200 friends and relatives. After the Supreme Court’s decisions, we felt that it was important to make our marriage legal. Already this has had real world implications like filing joint tax returns, getting Rick covered on my company’s health insurance plan (we are a small company and plans for companies our size were not allowed to cover unmarried partners), and something as simple, yet significant, as having Rick’s status changed from partner to spouse on the Miami University Foundation Board’s roster.
It is still legal to fire and to deny housing to someone just because he or she is or is perceived to be LGBTQ. It is still OK to bully gay kids in far too many schools. And, of course, our marriage is still not recognized in Ohio, and my husband is still denied being the legal father of our children (even though it is he who does their hair).
As 2013 comes to an end, we count our blessings. We also gather ourselves for the continued work and struggles ahead of us. We do so with many more allies and friends, and certainly with more affirmation and approving smiles! We will have even more to be grateful for in 2014 and for years to come because there is no turning back – as long as we ALL keep up the good fight and demand progress.
Onward and Upward!