Kinsey Morrison is an 18-year-old freshman at Stanford University. MTV News is sharing her story now, and will be following her family's response to SCOTUS' decision on nationwide marriage equality when it is announced later this month.
By: Kinsey Morrison
I am only 18 years old, but next week, I hope to start shopping for a wedding dress.
My moms, Karen and Audrey, have been engaged for twenty years, but still cannot get married in Kentucky, where we live. Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court could change that by legalizing marriage equality across the country and protecting millions of American families like mine. My parents never thought they would live to see this day, and for a long time, neither did I.
In 2004, when I was 8-years-old, I went to the election poll with my mom, Audrey, hoping I could steal her “I Voted” sticker, and that maybe this would be the year our state’s laws would change.
“Mama, if the marriage ban doesn’t pass, can I be your flower girl?” I'd asked.
She laughed, and then sighed sadly. “I’m sorry, honey, but it definitely will. There’s no way Kentucky’s ready yet.”
For more than a decade after that, my family waited, always encountering a new reason why it wasn’t our turn: “Not this fast,” “Not with this Congress,” “Not with this Court,” “Not with these voters,” even “Not until 'Glee' finishes a few more seasons.” And yet, there were so many reasons why we needed this recognition sooner rather than later.
When I was two days old, I was rushed back to the hospital after a bad allergic reaction — the doctors refused to treat me for more than an hour because the mom who brought me to them was not listed on my birth certificate. If my parents could get married, we would never have to worry about that happening again. My moms could share the same insurance, file the same taxes, and make medical decisions for the other if one got seriously injured or sick. With the right to marry, my moms would receive more than 1,000 other legal rights that are guaranteed with that one.
Even more important, though, marriage equality would mean the dignity that comes with knowing your family counts. It would mean hope for my gay friend who was brutally beaten last month by four fellow college students, and then abandoned in a parking lot. It would mean saying the "Pledge of Allegiance" and knowing we don’t just mean liberty and justice for some. It would mean not having to watch my moms struggle to explain their relationship to other people — often people who do not understand and do not want to understand. “My wife” would need no explanation.
Living in Kentucky, we often felt both hated and invisible. In middle school, I heard “That’s so gay” in the hallway between every class; in high school, I met a girl who said she “wouldn’t judge gay people on Earth, because God will punish them in Hell.”
I grew up with the promise of “it gets better.” And little by little, it did. But “better” still means a country where more than a thousand gay children commit suicide every year. “Better” accepts that there are still many places in our state where my moms would never feel safe to walk down the street holding hands. “Better” forgets kids like my sisters and me, who can only ever say “my parents are as married as they can be.”
I’m glad it gets better, but better isn’t good enough.
Of course, my parents getting legally married wouldn’t mean full, lived equality for my family, either. But it would mean more than a piece of paper, more than checking a box, and far more than just the chance to have a wedding — though my impassioned efforts to teach my moms how to make Pinterest Bridal Boards might suggest otherwise. It’s true, I couldn’t be more excited for the day they have waited more than two decades for. But what I’m looking forward to the most is how our lives will change afterward.
I want to be able to say, “My parents are as married as anyone can be.” It is too late for me to be my moms’ flower girl, but I hope some day soon, I can be their maid of honor.