Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The Battle Is Over

Me at Penn Manor Apartments Pennsauken, NJ - 1964 - Bill's apartment


With the historic Supreme Court decision yesterday to not hear the appeals of five states that wanted to continue to legalize discrimination against LGBT couples, legalized discrimination against the gays is over.  Of course there will always be holdouts like the Justices Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Alioto.  That fact will never change until they are gone.  But they have lost and they know it.  Even Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin said "The Battle is Over."

Back in the bad old days when it was against the law just to be a homosexual (the word used to describe "the gays" pre-Stonewall), never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that I would be legally married to Bill.  

The photo at the beginning of this post is of me in 1964, the summer that I met Bill and would spend weekends at his apartment in Pennsauken, New Jersey.  We led a clandestine life in those days.  Very secretive.  

Bill could not even hint that a man was living with him because if he did he would risk losing his job at RCA.  Only straight men worked at RCA, later GE.  If it was known that Bill was a HOMOSEXUAL, how long do you think his employment would last?  Nada. Gone.  


Bill Kelly, RCA employee and closeted gay - 1964
I don't know where I'm going with this post.  Just expressing my feelings of relief that finally, in my lifetime, that not only me but thousands of other gay men and women will now be able to enjoy life as equal citizens of this great country, even though and despite the many flaws this country still has.  And oh yes, there will still be discrimination and attacks on gays like there was a few weeks ago in Philadelphia.

That attack particularly caught my interest because several times while I lived in Philadelphia I was attacked (not injured, got away) while just walking the street to or from a gay bar. I and many other gay men were often physically attacked by back in the Sixties and Seventies those assaults didn't make the news because we were gay and thus disposable.




I was even threatened in those two bastions of Gaydom, Provincetown and Rehoboth Beach. Folks, homophobia exists everywhere, even today and be forewarned my fellow gays, always try to be with someone if you're walking after dark in a known gay area.  My problem was I was always by myself (Bill didn't like to go out to gay bars).  Being by myself I was an easy target.  


Me at our center city Philadelphia home 1969

Looking at this picture of me from those days I have to admit I probably "looked gay" because I was slim and neat. I remember when this picture was taken, New Year's Day 1969 - I was cooking eggs to balance my hangover from celebrating New Year's Eve the previous evening.  Oh those were the days.

You know what folks?  I'm just glad I lived long enough to see the day when so many of my gay brothers and sisters can now get married and enjoy a life without the yoke of legalized discrimination and second class citizenship. 

10 comments:

  1. It's pretty cool, I'll tell you that! The haters are out in force here in VA, griping about activist judges and screaming about turning the US into a theocracy. HAHAHAHAHAHA It's funny to listen to them blather.

    Momentous days, for sure! Great post! Love that picture of Bill from 1969. I'll bet he worked on stuff I worked on 10 years later.

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,
      I hear Arizona (along with several other states) is next in line to have their same sex marriage bans overturned. Could be wedding bells for a favorite couple we know.
      Bill still works electronics, even today he tinkers around. We have so many monitoring systems in this house, I can't keep track of them all. I blog and garden, Bill works on his circuit boards.
      Ron

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    2. I would love to meet him sometime, if he's amenable to the idea. I know how your relationship works, and some of how he is, so if not, that's cool. But I bet we have a lot in common!
      Jay

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    3. Jay,
      I am amendable for you meeting Bill. I too think you have a lot in common. And thank you for understanding how our relationship works. Some don't and frankly I'm tired of explaining it to them. What two individuals work out between themselves is nobody's business but their own. I don't nor will I ever subscribe to someone else's rules.
      Ron

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  2. I have followed your activism and writing for some time, Ron, and must thank you for helping communities, states, and a nation make adjustments that families everywhere have made to remain whole and useful to all their members.

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    1. Geo.,
      I think the scariest time for me was the time I was physically attacked at a town hall meeting for my local Congressman just because I said "I am gay." Fortunately others were there to intervene who protected me from being psychically assaulted. One wonders what would have happened if I was alone with the attacker. A lot of process has been made for equality but there is still a long way to go and that violent hatred is just below the surface. Once always has to be cognizant of that fact.
      Ron

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  3. From another retired geezer in Montana, good on them for finally moving into the real world. Looks like we're near the same age, while I haven't experienced the discrimination you have, always tried to support everyone who was.
    Now that I have a teenage granddaughter is LGBT I'm understanding the extent of what is gone through, just living your life.
    Best to you, and hope the change accelerates.
    Mike

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    1. Should Fish More,
      "Just living your life" says it all. That's all I've been doing for the past 72 years, sometimes to the chagrin of some who think I should live my life they way they want me to. I've been lucky, I've had a good life. Some challenges, sure, but overall a good life. Partly due to circumstance and mostly due to my instinct for survival and hard work and patience. My patience appears to be paying off. Thank you for your comment.
      Ron

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  4. Being late again, I just learned about the 'stay' on Idaho. I suspect gay marriage will become the new Roe vs. Wade: the right will find enough new laws to get around things to make the gay rights improvements nearly impotent.

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    1. Dr. Spo,
      I have a hard time believing that those still fighting this losing battle really think they can stop marriage equality. I think they're going for the "yahoo" vote. You know, "See, we tried to stop THE GAYS", now vote for us. So cynical.
      Ron

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