Today I witnessed history

Today I witnessed history.flag

On this misty, gray morning, I stood outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham and watched a bright rainbow flag wave as Alabama became the 37th state to allow same-sex marriages. I watched Jefferson County Probate judges uphold the law and defy bigotry, hate, and fear. I saw families embrace, relieved and joyful that they are now afforded equal protection under the law.

Today I witnessed history.

I stood in the crowd, jostled about as the first couple emerged and were enveloped by supporters, their banners protecting the two women from agitators, zealots, and proselytizers brandishing crosses and spewing vile words. I watched while supporters and protesters sang “Jesus Loves Me,” their voices blending together in a loud chorus, their ideologies like oil and water. I saw that both groups believed those words to be true.

Today I witnessed history.

I stood on the grass in Linn Park and watched two women promise to love, honor, and cherish each other forever and ever, Amen. I watched them choke back happy tears and remembered how my husband and I were married at this same courthouse. I saw that I had taken for granted how easy it was for me to marry the person I love.

Today I witnessed history.

I stood among gay and straight, black and white, men and women, all gathered together to celebrate the dawn of a new era in Alabama. I watched the old guard of conservatism give way to a new regime of tolerance and acceptance. I saw the dark clouds part and the sun shine through.

Today I witnessed history.