The world is not nearly as cold or lonely as it often seems.
There is love, joy, and happiness everywhere you look. Even in a courtroom in Springfield, Missouri.
That’s where Spc. Shane Adriano and Pfc. Tristian Resz committed to each other forever, exchanging vows in a small ceremony.
While the nuptials were an intimate affair, a photo of the couple’s first kiss was shared by the American Military Partner Association, an organization for partners, spouses, families, and allies of LGBT military personnel and veterans.
Since then, the post has gone viral and the couple has been inundated with well-wishes.
People of all stripes congratulated the happy couple, sharing the photo more than 1,400 times and sending kind words to the happy couple. Some even shared their own stories and remarked at the progress required for a significant moment like this.
Legislation, repeals, and landmark opinions have made this day possible for Adriano, Resz, and many other same-sex couples in the military.
The past five years have been a perfect storm of legislation for military couples ready to wed. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the discriminatory law that kept gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from openly serving in the military, was repealed in 2011. And in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples can marry nationwide, ending the piecemeal legislation and rulings that previously plagued marriage equality advocates.
But while love most certainly won this battle, the fight for equality continues.
And 28 states still lack any kind of employment protection laws for LGBT people. So while gay and lesbian couples are free to wed, their employer can fire them for taking the time off to do so, or for keeping a wedding photo on their desk, or even just learning through the grapevine that they’re transgender. There’s no recourse. No appeals process. It’s done. Just like that.
That’s why we celebrate this kiss, and all the kisses, hugs, and special moments to come.
Each one is love and commitment in action, a celebration of how far we’ve come, and a reminder to keep working toward a future where discrimination won’t be tolerated.
When special moments like these are shared, celebrated, and championed, minds change. Public opinion shifts. Votes occur. People in power use it for good. And we, as a country, move forward together.
And just think — it can start with a kiss.