After years of piled up lawsuits and protests on both sides, the Supreme Court finally heard oral arguments involving California’s Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) over the course of two days.
These historic cases would not have been heard without people like Harvey Milk and countless others who devoted–and sacrificed–their lives advocating for LGBT rights over the years.
“You know, a lot of people ask me if I’m saddened that my uncle didn’t get to see a day like today, a day when so many people would be authentic and be asking for the celebration of their marriages and celebration of who they are and their authenticity,” said Stuart Milk, the nephew of the slain gay rights leader. “And I always answer that my uncle did see that, which is why he was able to give his life, why he knew that those bullets were coming but he was willing to take them.”
In 1977, Milk won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay person elected to public office in the state of California; he helped pass a landmark gay rights ordinance. But less than a year after taking office, he was assassinated at City Hall.
Milk said his uncle’s legacy continues to serve as a “beacon of light and a beacon of hope” today across cultural and ethnic divides.
Stuart Milk argued in favor of marriage equality as not just a form of tolerance, but rather celebration. “It’s saying, we’re your neighbors, we’re your friends, we’re your family, celebrate us. And this setting the new bar at marriage has really leapfrogged the LBGT rights movement, like we have never seen.”
Justices are expected to give their rulings in June.