October 18, 2019 at 4:45 pm EST | by Kris Perry
LGBTQ community needs more advocates like Kamala Harris
Sandy Stier, Kris Perry, David Boies, Chad Griffin, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Prop 8, California, Supreme Court, gay news, Washington Blade
Prop 8 plaintiffs Sandy Stier and Kris Perry addressed onlookers after a historic ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

I met Sandy Stier while attending a computer class in 2000. She was the instructor and I, a very attentive student. We became good friends, then fell in love and pledged to spend the rest of our lives together. 

Our dream was realized when we were able to legally marry in San Francisco in 2004. Later that year, we again exchanged wedding vows in front of family and friends, our four sons at our side, and looked forward to a blended family and a happy marriage. 

In just a few short weeks, the California Supreme Court voided 3,955 same-sex marriages, including ours. Months later, Proposition 8 passed and constitutionally banned same-sex marriage in the state. 

With the support of our sons, we made a difficult decision: to embark on a lengthy legal battle for marriage equality, suing the state we loved so much for the right to be married. We testified as witnesses at the Ninth District Court and wound our way through multiple appeals until we finally sat before the Supreme Court of the United States. It was clear that the homophobic ban on same-sex marriage was in violation of millions of Americans’ right to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. 

We sued for our right to marry, and on June 26, 2013, we won. 

Two days later, the courts officially lifted the ban and we became the first same-sex couple in California to legally wed since the enactment of Proposition 8. Our wedding was officiated by then-Attorney General Kamala Harris, who blessed our marriage with joy and celebrated our newly-won justice. 

As we continue to celebrate the progress the LGBTQ+ community has made in this country, Sandy and I celebrate the allies who made our journey possible. Kamala Harris has always been a fierce advocate of the LGBTQ+ community. She was there every step of the way as we fought for our constitutional right to marry. 

As attorney general, she refused to defend the ban on gay marriage and worked tirelessly to support marriage equality. She led the way to fight the status quo, long before it was politically convenient or popular, and officiated many of the first same-sex marriages in the country. She advocated for inclusion and justice for the transgender community and led the way in ensuring safety for our LGBTQ+ neighbors. 

While we have had victories, there is still so much to do. LGBTQ+ youth are ​five times as likely to have attempted suicide and black trans women are ​particularly at risk​. A ​significant majority have experienced harassment and discrimination because of who they love. 

The Trump Administration has relentlessly rolled back protections for the LGBTQ+ community, gutting protections for trans people in homeless shelters and preventing them from serving their country in our Armed Forces. His brutal attacks on the LGBTQ+ community are not only unjust, they’re un-American. 

Kamala Harris understands the work that lies ahead. As president, she will pass the Equality Act to protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination in all aspects of life. She will undo the regressive changes made by the Trump Administration, protect LGBTQ+ rights to participate in federal programs, and appoint an Attorney General who will prioritize the prosecution of hate crimes. 

Sandy and I are happily married today because of the collective actions of countless Americans who believed in fighting for what was right rather than what was politically convenient. It is this sort of principled activism that always has and always will move America forward. 

We deserve a president who remains clear-eyed in the face of political adversity and never backs down in the fight for justice. We deserve a president who personifies the principles of honesty, equality, and persistence. Kamala Harris is that president. 

Kris Perry was a plaintiff in efforts to win marriage equality; she and Sandy Stier became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in California since Prop 8.

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2019. All rights reserved.