Alan Riquelmy: Get ready for change
The news of legalized same-sex marriage occurred, as most breaking news usually does, when I was off work.
This news — on June 26, 2015 — was an all-hands-on-deck moment.
Except I was the only one with hands. And the only one on deck.
I lived in a small apartment near my city’s downtown at the time, an easy walk and easier drive to the courthouse. Minutes later I was on the second floor, in the probate judge’s office, waiting for the first couple to arrive.
I beat her by about 30 seconds.
Her fiancee showed up shortly afterward. I’d already introduced myself to the first arrival, and soon was talking to both as the office’s staff performed their regular duties.
Nothing had changed at the office, angering one of the women who pointedly noted the Supreme Court’s decision was all over the news.
You might be able to remember, or imagine, the energy crackling that day. People across the country who had waited a long time — years and years — to get married were now at courthouses just like this, feeling like they were being stymied while the news was blasted from every TV and website.
Eventually, the probate judge came out to talk to the couple. Essentially, he explained, the decision must travel down an official pathway to the capital of each state. From there, the appropriate official would then disseminate the decision through proper channels.
Once that happened, the couple could get married. It just took time.
“We’re not Alabama,” the judge said, making the slightest of insults to our neighbor. “It’s going to happen.”
And it did.
Over an hour later, maybe more, a clerk walked over to the couple.
“Are you ready?” she asked.
“Are you?” one of the women replied.
They held hands while sitting at the desk, signed the paperwork, and it was done. They walked outside the courthouse, and were accosted by a man who asked them to avoid getting a marriage license. Society is built on a marriage between a man and a woman, he said. Same-sex marriage would cause society to crumble.
Six years later, and we’re all still waiting for the bricks to start falling.
It’s a poor argument, regardless of how you felt on the issue — do something I don’t like, and our world will fall around us.
For one, it’s never been correct, because our civilization is still around, though some might not like its shape.
Precisely because this argument has never been correct is a good reason to avoid listening to those who spout it.
Don’t legalize alcohol, because our country will fall apart. Don’t make weed legal, because our cities will crumble. For goodness sake, don’t make same-sex marriage legal; who knows what will happen?
What happened was a bunch of sound and fury, followed by a lot of nothing.
Adults are now allowed, regardless of gender, to enter into a marriage contract. In our everyday lives in the current day, this seems minor, insignificant, if you’ve always had that right.
But to those who were affected, it was a seismic shift — a change big enough to cause someone to rush from their job in the middle of the day, meet the person they love and get married on a random Friday.
They were ready for that change, and more changes and advances over the coming years.
Alan Riquelmy is the editor of The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at 530-477-4249
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An older friend I made when I began here in 2016 called the other day to talk about the paper. I hadn’t heard from her in awhile and, well, I’ve been here just long enough…