“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women* to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
(*though Team East Fork would love to replace “men and women” with “people”)
Those are the closing remarks from Justice Kennedy on June, 26th 2015— the day of the landmark civil rights case of Obergefell v. Hodges. It was a monumental day for the LGBTQ community, with the United States granting the fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry. We cried the kind of tears that flow slowly, from a joy who’s depth is seen for the first time. A new, and fresh, and bright possibility. A joy that can weigh the oppressive past against a more hopeful future. At that moment, everything felt like it was going to be ok, because love won and we had a law to prove it.
Obergefell v. Hodges reminds us that social justice is possible. That it takes a lot of hard work, speaking up, helping out, and persistence, but eventually true change can unfold. It takes all hands on deck, support, hugs, listening, loving, and funding to arrive at equality. It’s a marathon, and we are trying to run it. And while it is important to pause and applaud how far we, as a country, have come on the metaphorical road to equality, we still have further to travel. In fact, equality is a destination, but it is also a daily practice— a way being, and a place to arrive at. That’s why we began making the equality mugs in the first place— as a way to celebrate this victory, and to continue supporting the systems that work hard at making these wins happen.
The beautiful thing about Obergefell v. Hodges was that it wasn’t one case, it was many. It took hard-fighting couples, their children, their support systems and swells of courage to legalize same-sex marriage. Couples like April Deboer and Jayne Rowse, David Michener and William Herbert, who fought, spoke out, and stood up for their rights. But progress is not linear. In the years since that one step forward, there have been many steps back. It’s especially important to support the Campaign for Southern Equality in the face of growing violence against Black trans-women and plans to roll back the nondiscrimination regulation of the Affordable Care Act, which protects transgender people from discrimination in healthcare.
100% of the profits from the Equality Mugs go towards The Campaign For Southern Equality, an incredible non-profit working, in every arena, to bring equal rights to the LGBTQ+ community. CSE does crucial work for Souther LGBTQ+ folks including leading campaigns, organizing lawsuits against discriminatory legislation, and running free clinics. From their website:
“Legal and lived equality means being able to come out in your hometown. It means being able to be who you are and love who you love. It means finding a local doctor or service provider who will treat you with dignity and respect. It means going to a school where you can use the restroom that corresponds with your gender. A South where all of us can thrive – that’s our dream. It’s what we work for each day.”
We want to fund causes that we believe will bring justice into the world. It’s important for us to make efforts to use our visibility and privilege in a way that serves our larger community. The Equality Mugs are something that allows us to do that, and we care deeply about making them. It’s so live-giving to know that this annual ritual has been woven into our fabric as a company because of the firm support of our customers and community. We couldn’t so anything without you, so thank you.
Team East Fork