Rhode Island’s celebration of the Supreme Court‘s historic decision allowing same-sex couples to marry across the United States was also a history lesson about the long battle for full LGBTQ acceptance in our state. Organizer Kate Monteiro spoke eloquently and introduced a steady stream of speakers, but more importantly she paused to remember those who didn’t live long enough to see this day, those who are only spoken of “in the echoes of the wind.”
We live in a better world because of their work and sacrifice.
The celebration was held at the Roger Williams National Memorial, because, explained Monteiro, this is where “religious freedom in the United States was born” and where Belle Pelegrino and the ’76ers first met to demand the right to march in Providence with a sign saying ‘I am gay.'”
“We stand at the top of a very, very high hill,” said Monteiro, “we have carried that pack and we have wanted for water and struggled and slipped and we stand at the top of a hill. And the view is beautiful. It is absolutely splendid. And just a little bit further is the next big hill. Because we are not at the top of the mountain, never mind the other side of the mountain.”
“Tomorrow, in 29 states, someone can be fired for being gay or lesbian, let alone transgender. (That, thank you, is 32 states)… That’s wrong, we need to change it, that is the mountain.”
“Can you imagine if we could go in time and bring Roger Williams here today?” asked Rodney Davis to laughs, “but when you boil it down and get to its purest sense, Freedom, Liberty and Justice was the reason why he came here…”