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    Taking Pride in Marriage and Family

    aphilThe United States Supreme Court decision establishing marriage equality across the country made this year’s San Francisco Pride Celebration a powerful affirmation. Finally, the law frees all of us to choose whom we love through marriage from sea to shining sea!

    This much-anticipated result made each step in the Pride parade something to be savored. It got me thinking how we have so much in which to take pride.

    I’m proud of the role that San Francisco played in issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. I’m proud to have had the privilege of signing the first marriage license legally recognized by the State of California in 2008, as the former Assessor-Recorder of San Francisco. I am also proud to claim Justice Anthony Kennedy as one of California’s own.

    The last paragraph of Kennedy’s opinion holding that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry is as simple as it is philosophical. Kennedy wrote: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

    After so many years of fighting for marriage equality, it was surprising to see this historic legal change be justified in such a sweet way. It was equally gratifying to see Kennedy’s argument echo the most basic lessons we teach our kids—everyone deserves respect, the need to love makes us all the same, and our lives are defined by those whom we love.

    The power of Kennedy’s ruling is not just that love wins, as we have all proclaimed with joy. Families win too. Families are sacred, and no law should bar whom you choose to welcome into them. Therefore, Kennedy’s ruling allows families across the nation to finally become whole.

    As a father, this is why Kennedy’s ruling has had such a strong effect on me.

    My two girls are young enough to have never experienced the struggle for marriage equality in their own lives. They will never understand the obstacles our nation has put before committed couples who love each other. Therefore, in so many ways, Kennedy’s ruling makes the country my kids inherit from us enormously better than the one into which we were born.

    I could not stop thinking about that as I marched up Market Street with my family and others in the Pride parade. I was grateful that we were celebrating this historic moment for families together. And, as I watched my girls fearlessly run along the parade route giving high-fives to all, one happy thought kept coming to mind:  this is what progress looks like.

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco as well as the cities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.