Many years ago, when Zoe Nicholson came out to her mother, the news didn’t go over very well.
“She said that she was going to burn in hell,” Nicholson said of her mom, who took responsibility for what she considered to be her daughter’s sins.
Nicholson, a Newport Beach resident who was in her 20s at the time, has been what she calls a full-time equality activist ever since, and she’s coming up on her 65th birthday.
Wednesday night, she’ll celebrate a ceremonial “wedding” outside the Santa Ana courthouse for two Orange County women -- Beth Syverson and Jan Mabie. The couple plan to get legally married soon, said Nicholson, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a blow to Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban.
“I must say, this is the beginning of the healing over what happened on Nov. 5, 2008,” when California’s Proposition 8 was declared victorious, said Nicholson.
At the time, she said, her neighborhood was filled with signs supporting the same-sex ban. I asked Nicholson what she thought had changed since that time, in light of the court’s decisions and as polls suggest California’s sentiments have shifted.
“I know the answer,” said Nicholson, who was once married but is now bisexual and single. “It is that all of us started telling our stories, and from Harry Reed to Dick Cheney, people found out they had gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relatives. One by one, those of us who could tell our stories told them.”
Though she was happy about today’s advances, Nicholson was disappointed the high court didn’t rule more broadly in support of same-sex marriage.
“I cannot let it pass without mentioning the 37 states where our LGBT brothers and sisters are going to have to be having to battle this one state at a time,” said Nicholson.
Her brothers and sisters in those states want and deserve the same thing she has always fought for, said Nicholson.
“Human dignity and full rights under the law.”
I don’t know how long that will take, and surely the haters have something new to rally around. But today, the nation has evolved a bit, in the interest of fairness, tolerance and understanding.