Dear Evan and Lulu,
“I have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I feel committed to Idaho. I’m tied to it. And I would love to see it become, and help it to become, a much better place for my daughter to grow up.”
That was a quote from me In 2007 when I was interviewed about my involvement with a campaign that worked to defeat Idaho’s Marriage Amendment which sought to constitutionally ban same sex marriage in Idaho.
I found myself working on this campaign partially out of interest (I was the Statewide Organizer for the Progressive Student Alliance) but primarily out of convenience ( I lived with two of the campaign organizers). It was an eye-opening, crash course in politics, campaigns, and Idaho.
I knew just how ugly Idaho could be because of where I grew up but I had never experienced the heated disdain that can come from being vocal about human rights in Idaho. If I wasn’t familiar enough with its cruelty I didn’t need to travel any further than the Western Idaho Fair where we set up a table so we could be cussed out, yelled at, and spit toward.
But what I didn’t know was just how beautiful Idaho could be. Through the course of one year I met some of the most dedicated, fearless, and inspirational activists throughout this state. I fell in love with Idaho through hearing story after story of everyday heroes. Parents who weren’t even recognized in this state because of their sexual orientation. Students who had been kicked out of their homes for being gay. Hundreds of people who saw the potential, the possibility, and the future that Idaho held and who worked tirelessly to get us to the place where we are today.
In the end our campaign lost. The marriage amendment passed and the dedication of so many people seemed to be for nothing. But it didn’t feel entirely like a loss. It felt like something was moving. It felt like momentum was building. It felt like people were connecting.
Today, when a federal judge struck down Idaho’s ban on same sex marriage, allowing our friends to marry in the state we love, it felt like all those things collided.
Today their work was worth it. Today all our work was worth it. Today, I believe that Idaho really is “a much better place for my daughter(s) to grow up.”
Thank you Idaho.