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With Great Pride--Reflecting on Liberty Hill and Marriage Equality

Byline: Darrell Tucci
Chief Development Officer

Tuesday evening, Liberty Hill hosted a small gathering to reflect upon Judge Vaughn Walker's decision striking down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses.

The house of Liberty Hill was well represented. Everyone who attended passionately stands for justice and equality for all, and the group is not one you would see at most events.  We were men and women, gay and straight, African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Latino and white, Democrats and Republicans.  We welcome all who share our values for equality and justice.

After Kafi Blumenfield, Liberty Hill’s president and CEO, and Chad Griffin from the American Foundation for Equal Rights spoke to all of us, we were invited to share our personal reflections and thoughts.  I didn't raise my hand so to allow our supporters the opportunity to speak.  But I had a burning desire to share my reflections of the court decision and of our event: Pride.

Whenever our movement has a significant win or disappointing moment, one of the first calls I receive is from my grandmother. She is an Italian, Roman Catholic, staunch Republican from New Jersey.  She calls to congratulate or console depending on the circumstances and to remind me of the words she spoke to me the night I came out to her: "I'm not crying because I am upset or angry that you are gay.  I am crying because I know you will have to fight hard for everything you already deserve."  And she reminds me I have been doing that, and I must continue to do that.

It's no coincidence this amazing woman of mostly conservative values stands firmly with us on the marriage equality issue.  I had an authentic conversation about these issues with her, and they became personal to her.  I am proud of her and the rest of my family for standing with me, standing with us.

On Tuesday, I thought about the work of Liberty Hill's grantees.  I thought about API-Equality LA, who showed up in force. And about the Latino Equality Alliance. And about the Jordan Rustin Coalition.  I thought about their community organizing work in diverse communities across Los Angeles, where authentic conversations are still very difficult but critically needed.  These conversations are needed to change hearts and minds before our new allies walk into the voting booth.  These conversations are needed so communities are more receptive and young folks can come out in healthy environments without fear and so these folks who have just come out can then continue to have even more personal, authentic conversations.

Research has shown that individual opinions on same-sex marriage are most influenced when a person knows someone who is gay or lesbian.  Community organizing ensures more and more people put a real face to these issues. To see we are everyday people--their neighbors, their colleagues--and that we want what they want: to love the individual we fall in love with and to have that relationship legally recognized.

So, I am proud.  I am proud of my family for fighting the good fight.  I am proud to work at and to be a donor to Liberty Hill, where my colleagues and our supporters, gay and straight alike, walk lock step with us, as we move toward full equality.

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