WASHINGTON -- LGBT equality is something every person should have access to, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, the first openly gay AG in history, said during an event sponsored by pro-choice PAC EMILY's List here Tuesday.
For the past two weeks, Healey has asked residents of her state to submit personal stories of what gay marriage means to them, some of which may be included on a brief being sent to the Supreme Court March 6 in support of marriage equality in the U.S.
"It's a chance to talk about how marriage equality made a difference in people's lives," Healey said at the event. "To tell our story." The brief is strategically timed ahead of a high-stakes Supreme Court ruling this April to determine whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right across the country.
Both men and women, some in relationships for more than 30 years, have taken the opportunity to share details of their struggles, happiness, and persistent optimism, on social media using the hashtag #MA4Equality. On the designated Facebook page, a bright banner of a rainbow flag calls for people to share their marriage equality stories for the U.S. Supreme Court by March 4.
"Marriage equality is not about marriage. It’s about being seen as fully human," one commenter wrote.
Another said, "The love I share with my wife is no different than the love of any heterosexual couple and we should be treated equally in all states across this country. Our future should not have limitations placed on it because we cannot be legally married and protected in certain states."
Healey also asked on Facebook if living in a state where gay marriage is not legal affects the types of schools people enroll in or the jobs they apply to, to which one resident replied, "Heterosexual couples do not need to consider this issue when making decisions about where they will live, what jobs they can consider, etc. When we travel, there is an added burden on us to bring our marriage certificate with us in case we experience any issues."
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When the brief is submitted this Friday, it will be the first that Healey's name will be on since becoming attorney general in January, she said Tuesday. Healey first made her mark on gay rights when she led the fight to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act in Massachusetts in 2009; Massachusetts became the first state to challenge DOMA.
Raised by a single mother, Healey on Tuesday also spoke on economic security and equal pay for women. "It's against the law to not pay women the same as men for the same job " she said to applause. On immigration, Healey said she supports President Obama's actions.
"These are not just women, immigration and LGBT issues," she said. "These are issues for everybody who cares about the health and well-being of our country, and I'm going to be there in Massachusetts taking them on."
It's a tall order, but the 5'4", former starting point-guard for a professional basketball team is confident. "I know about driving the lane and taking on the big guy," she said.