When Rainbows Light the White House

Yesterday morning, when the Supreme Court announced their ruling on same-sex marriage, I was driving to the airport with my wife. Kellie has been my wife for twelve years if you’re going by our personal vows, but only two years if you’re going by the state’s laws. If I had thought to turn on NPR, I probably would have heard the news, but instead I just stared out the window and commented on the lack of traffic.

Perhaps if I had listened closely at the airport I would have caught wind of this big story, but I was just focused on how hot I was and cranky, waiting in the 40-minute TSA line.

And once Kellie and I arrived in California, I didn’t plug in. We sat on the beach and stared at the water, enjoying the quiet. In those moments, I appreciated my distance from the world.

And so I was surprised when, at 9 pm, after settling into a cabin at the end of a winding road, I finally plugged in and discovered that nearly all of the profile pictures in my Facebook feed were covered in rainbows. “Something big happened,” I announced to Kellie who sat in the next room, reading. I had known the Supreme Court decision was imminent, but hadn’t dared hope for the best-case scenario.

“What?” she asked.

I opened a link to a story that explained the significance of the supreme court decision: all fifty states must now recognize same-sex marriages.


“What?” Kellie asked me again, and I opened my mouth to answer her, and tried for a while, but nothing came out. I could not speak because I was sobbing.

Kellie rose from the couch to come find me. I worried it looked like I had just encountered horrible news, that I had just learned of a friend’s sudden death, but still I couldn’t speak. “Oh my god,” I finally whispered. “It’s over.”

I thought that Kellie and I were done getting married, that not much could touch me ever since the repeal of DOMA, but my life and my heart felt bigger knowing that the whole country had turned green.

WireAP_9673b3bba0d9471ab228d8fc95beac7b_16x9_992Kellie stood behind me, reading the news on my screen, and when we finished we clicked through the slide show. Our mirth could not be contained—we cackled and sighed until we came to the last photo: the White House lit in rainbow. “Fucking Obama!” I cried out, and I know it sounds like I was cursing him, but really it was the opposite. What gall, what spunk, to turn a Supreme Court decision into a full-on presidential party. Fucking Obama. Because it is one thing to soberly announce that the country will now acknowledge our right to marry, and it is another thing entirely to thumb your nose at the haters and blast the White House with color.

26 thoughts on “When Rainbows Light the White House

  1. I can’t imagine how deep for you. I can guess, and you can tell me/us, but I know the depth of my own joy, relief, are nothing in comparison. I feel triumphant and utterly amazed, proud to have voted for THIS PRESIDENT who chose two of THESE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES. I’m dazzled by unfamiliar hope for the future. I’m deeply happy that we somehow, somehow accomplished this overdue miracle of national sanity. Dear, dear Jen and wonderful Kellie. I hope you feel loved, loved, loved, valued, understood, and loved.


  2. Blasted with color! Yes! Finally we have arrived. I saw some post about anti gay marriage tweets all of which ended in “I’m moving to Canada. ” did you see that? — the end of the slideshow informed that in Canada gay marriage has been legal for 10 years.

    My heart expands and you are so right on about Obama coloring the White House – that was some move! Well done!

    Love you lady! Hugs to the wife ( now recognized in all 50 states!).


  3. I can’t stop looking at that picture of the White House. Words have never been more eloquent, and history never more loving. ❤️💛💚💙💜


  4. We all dream of things we wish we could change in our lifetimes, things that seem so far away, so backwards, so tangled and stubborn, so cemented into the present that we bend and mold ourselves around them, willing to accept the awkwardness of the compromise. You and Kellie have always taken personal, private and public steps to defy this, and I will always admire your commitment to your truths and your courage to live honestly. Today is a day when a enormous weight has been lifted; the refusal to let the present define who we are and who we can become. The Supreme Court has made a declaration that validates your courageous choices to be held equal and sacred along side my automatic heterosexual privileges (pledges) to my husband 6 years ago. We all shed a few layers of shame over the archaic preferences that we must cling to the fear of differences. We are resuscitated with hope, a hope that has waited such a long time to be honored. You make my life, all of our lives so much richer for your honestly and courage – to live in the present and be exactly who you are. Thank you Jenn, thank you Kellie, thank you Justice Anthony Kennedy for your clear and precise words to live by.


  5. When I found the photo of the Whitehouse, I too was nearly in tears. My friend in Germany applied a rainbow filter, and my friend in Ireland posted a picture of a bus decked out in rainbow.
    How’s this for a catch: if it’s marriage equality for everybody, is my polyfidelitous family included?


  6. I’d seen the rainbow lighting up the White House but you telling me how you saw it- I really felt it in my body. Thank you. I love Kennedy’s opinion so much I’m going to weave it into our wedding somehow.


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