DeLandite’s life changed thanks to Justice Ginsburg

REVERED — The photo above by Ted Eytan is from a Sept. 19 vigil for Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. 

Editor, The Beacon:

I’m writing to mark the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

She was an instrumental part of my life, and to my pursuit of happiness — a right we are all supposed to be granted by the Constitution. 

However, I was not given the same rights as most in our community.

As a young gay man, I will always recall the two rights I have gained in my lifetime.

In 2015, Florida had passed same-sex marriage in January; however, it was applied only to Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, and was being fought in appeals court.

Then, the judgment came down from the Supreme Court in June that ruled all bans on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. It was the happiest day of my life up to that point.

I had only just come out to my family and closest friends a year prior, and suddenly, I was able to think about my future in a permanent way. A way I had never allowed myself to think of because it hurt too much.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg voted to give me the right to have a husband walk with me in life, and I will always be indebted to her for that.

The second right I have gained, in part thanks to her, happened just this year in June as well, when the Supreme Court ruled that sexual orientation and identity are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

I now no longer have to hide who I am at work if I so choose. No longer can I be fired solely because of something I have no control over, something none of us have control over, our hearts.

My life holds considerably more joy and happiness thanks to the strength and compassion that Bader Ginsburg possessed. I will never forget how she fought for me along with every member of minorities, as without her my right to the pursuit of happiness would be withheld from me.

Rest well, Ruth, and thank you.

James Anderson

DeLand