Why Marriage Equality Matters To Same-Sex Adoptive Parents


This guest post is by Justin Miles, a same-sex hopeful adoptive parent.  

Last month my husband Brad and I joined thousands of people outside the Supreme Court in Washington to show our support for marriage equality.

It was the latest stop in a long journey for us that has brought us to where we are today in our adoption journey.

When the Supreme Court comes down with its ruling at the end of June it is bound to be a landmark decision for the entire country.

A decision that we hope opens the door for all same-sex couples to be treated as any heterosexual couple would be, no matter what state they reside in.

As Brad and I embarked on our open adoption journey just over one year ago, marriage equality and equality as a whole continue to be huge discussion points in our house and will continue as we grow our family.

We want our child to grow up treating everyone equal, regardless of age, sex, religion, sexual orientation or even favorite food.

Four thirty in the morning came extremely early, but our excitement for the day quickly overshadowed any sleepiness we may have been showing.

A short Metro ride into DC later, we were walking toward the Supreme Court, hand in hand, smiling from ear to ear. We didn’t know what to expect.

We only knew we were here to support marriage equality.

We knew that this would be a good day, but what we didn’t know was just how good it was about to get.

In front of the courthouse people had been camping out so they could be some of the first in line. TV anchors and newspaper reporters were already set up, ready to document history.

We kept filing through people as we passed the steps of the Supreme Court, walking through two lines, one on our left and one on our right.

Beginning at the steps, the lines wrapped down the sidewalk and turned the corner onto East Capitol Street.

We continued to the end and hopped in the line on the right, without thinking, or asking what these lines were for.

We were so in awe of everything going on that we failed to notice that everyone in the line we were now standing in, except for us, were all dressed in suits or dress slacks.

“Are you members of the Bar of the Supreme Court?” the man in front of us asked.  I assume the fact that I had on khaki shorts and Brad was wearing jeans may have been his first clue.

But needless to say, before I could say “No” he was already explaining that we were in the wrong line.

A few steps across the sidewalk and we were now in the other line.  The line we would soon find out was called the “3 minute” line.  Three minutes?  Three minutes of what?

A few people came up behind us asking if we were in the 3 minute line.  We nodded our head and said “yes” which was quickly followed by a chuckle to each other because we had no idea what we were waiting to do for three minutes.

We found out not long after, from the group of high school students behind us, this line was possibly going to into the Supreme Court and hear three minutes of oral arguments.  What?!?  We were ecstatic!

Here we are thinking that we were only here to hold signs and show support and now we’re going to go inside!  This really was going to be a monumental day.

We stood in line, holding signs that read “Love Can’t Wait” and “Love is Love.”  We were asked by a few reporters why we were there and we replied with the same response each time.

“We are here to support marriage equality.  To support our brothers and sisters across the United States who cannot get married in their home state or whose state does not recognize their out-of-state marriage.  We are here to encourage the Supreme Court to stand on the right side of history and ensure equality for everyone.”

Brad and I have always been supporters of marriage equality.

It wasn’t until we decided to get married that the issue truly became forefront and a passion of ours.

In June 2014 when we got married we had to travel outside of Virginia because, at that time, same-sex marriages were not legal.

We chose to go to Maryland to get married because it was both legal and close to my family.  Though when we came home, it meant nothing, in the legal aspect.

Of course we got married because we love each other and are committed to one another, but legally, in the eyes of the courts, our marriage license from Maryland meant nothing in Virginia.

In October 2014, this changed for us in a positive way.  The same-sex marriage ban in Virginia was declared unconstitutional and now Virginia must perform and recognize same-sex marriages.

This was an incredible win for us living in Virginia, adding to the list of states that allowed same-sex marriages.  But what about all the other states?

State Street in downtown Bristol is the state line between Virginia and Tennessee, and mere minutes from our house.

You can stand with one foot in Virginia and the other in Tennessee, theoretically being in two places at once.

How can taking one step completely nullify our marriage?  It is questions like that that fueled our passion and desire to support marriage equality across the United States.

Same-sex marriage bans do not promote equality, instead they classify gay and lesbian couples as second-class citizens.

Marriage equality also ensures stability, not only emotionally for the child, but also financially in case something ever happened to one of the parents.

Brad and I waited outside the Supreme Court for almost four hours before we were able to witness three minutes of history.

Words cannot begin to accurately describe all of the emotions we felt as walked down the steps once our three minutes was over.

Looking out on all of the supporters, as well as the protesters, was exhilarating.  We left feeling accomplished.

We left hopefully that at the end of June marriage equality will come to all citizens of the United States.

Justin Miles and his partner,  Brad Fields, are a same-sex couple from Bristol, Virginia looking to grow their family through open adoption.  

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