The only thing permanent in life is change. Over the past several weeks I have moved out of my house of the past two decades and from New Jersey to Connecticut. My mother-in-law, at age 91, is quite healthy yet no longer able to live alone. Relocation to our house was too stressful for her. So in the end, my wife and I decided we would move into her house of the past seventy years.
I always knew I would one day leave New Jersey. I had always hoped to move back home to southern California, at least at retirement if not sooner. But, the high cost of living there has made that a daunting challenge. And, this past fall, the house right next door to my big sister went on the market the week we were visiting her. It was a house we knew well and we were able to buy it from the owners who were friends of my sister and sister-in-law. If you asked me in 2014 what the future held I would have said staying in Jersey (or Joisey as some call it) till someday a hopeful move back to Southern California. Blink, I am in the Nutmeg state planning to move some day to Hollywood…Hollywood ,Florida that is.
With almost the same speed, we have seen a wave of change across the country in other areas. My sister Claire Mostel wrote in the PA TIMES three years ago,
“At the 2010 ASPA Conference in San Jose, California, Erik Bergrud and I engaged in a conversation we have had many times: whether ASPA was truly the inclusive organization it claimed. Erik asked me to help take the first steps toward forming the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Advocacy Alliance Section (LGBT)… the required number of signatures was collected at the 2011 ASPA Conference in Baltimore. The core group met during the conference to create the proposed section’s mission and we were on our way…and [the] National Council approved the ASPA LGBT Section application on December 7, 2011.”
I was proud to be one of the founding LGBT Section members four years ago. It was progress for the first decade of the 21st century. Just a little over a year ago, my sister and her fiancée still had to travel to another state to be married. Florida, like too many other states, denied them the right to be institutionalized in marriage.
At the start of 2014, only 16 states allowed same-sex marriage. It was progress for the middle of the second decade of the 21st century. But, even as some states began to move forward on this issue, the desire to block same-sex marriage remained a daunting challenge within far too many others.
A razor-thin Supreme Court decision, decades in the making, finally recognized that all Americans no matter what state they choose to call home have the same rights to love…and be loved.
Change is inevitable. Sometimes we even get change for the better. As happy as I am for my sister, my sister-in-law and all my friends, my biggest hope for the future is not about marriage itself. In the months and years to come, as gay marriage becomes just another everyday part of daily life, the sky does not fall, society does not crumble and the world does not end…other changes for the better become a little more possible.
One of the best things I know about the younger generations is their openness to positive change. If they can only learn to vote their beliefs, I may live long enough to see a more open, tolerant, equal country than I have in the past three decades.
Submitted by Craig Donovan