Less than 24 hours after same-sex marriage became legal in Wisconsin, there was jubilation in the air outside the city-county building in Madison, Wisconsin. As I arrived, band members from the Solidarity Singalongs were playing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and a newly wedded couple was walking out.
Tina Cody and Cody Houston, who’ve been together two years, were dressed in bridal white and smiling broadly. “We’re giddy,” Tina said. “We’re super excited.”
She added that when she heard the news late yesterday that federal judge Barbara Crabb had made same-sex marriage legal in Wisconsin, “We started crying.”
In a case brought by the Wisconsin ACLU, Judge Crabb ruled that the ban in Wisconsin was unconstitutional. "Quite simply,” she wrote, “this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution.”
It didn’t take long for same-sex couples to start getting married in Madison. One of the first was Sunshine Jones and Joann Kelley, whose daughter, Sol, I coached in soccer 20 years ago, and I’ve been inspired by all three of them over the years, with their steadfast activism.
“What great joy to share in the abundant love flowing from all who gathered to celebrate legal marriage for same sex couples in Wisconsin tonight,” Sunshine wrote. “My beloved partner, Joann, with our dear Sol by our side, rejoiced in our 36-year marriage finally being recognized under law. Glory Be. May we continue to move justice forward so that all may share in rejoicing hearts.”
U.S. Representative Mark Pocan was also exultant as he stood outside the city-county building this morning. “It’s great,” he said. “Wisconsin can finally be added to the column of states that are treating everyone with equality and liberty. I’m glad we’re finally there!”
I also ran into Callen Harty, a stalwart at the Scott Walker protests and a longtime gay political activist. “I’m blown away,” he said. “I’ve been with my partner for 20 years. I never thought I’d see the day in my lifetime. I’ve had tears in my eyes half the day. This morning I asked my partner to marry me, and he said yes!”