OUTvoices overlay navmenu

Discover Your City

Mere hours after the Supreme Court issued its long anticipated ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, Joe Woolley, the Executive Vice President of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, organized a impromptu rally to celebrate the announcement of nationwide marriage equality.

When I asked Woolley why he planned the event, he explained, “Jim [Woolley’s husband] and I were sitting at home today, crying, hugging each other. I was seeing the Facebook posts roll through, the text messages come in, and all of a sudden we realized that we hadn’t organized anything here to show our happiness in front of our state capital. I posted on Facebook, ‘Let’s celebrate officially,’ and picked Legislative Plaza, and here we are. To me, it’s just incredible.”

Camera crews and reporters from local news stations were there, filming the group which stood on the steps of the plaza directly in front of the state capital, as Joseph Woodson, a past president of Nashville Pride, led them in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Many drivers passing by honked their horns when they saw the U.S. flag, the state flag, the gay pride flag, and an HRC flag all flying.

Not long before this, Woodson had told me, “I can’t believe this has happened. Growing up, I always felt like my pursuit of happiness was limited,” and that it’s an odd but welcome feeling finally seeing this come to fruition.

Soon after, Representative Mike Stewart (D - District 52) arrived to show his support.

“Well, look, the Supreme Court has spoken,” Rep. Stewart replied when I asked for his thoughts. “I think what they have said reflects the views of the people. It was a very big, momentous decision, and I think they just decided it’s clearly the right decision. It’s time to make that declaration and give people marriage equality. And I just think it’s a great day.”

To my follow-up question—“Do you foresee any difficulties with the implementation of this ruling in Tennessee?”—Rep. Stewart answered: “Well, we’re going to hear about that today. I’d like to think, even though I’m sure there will be people who disagree with the decision, you know, we’re a nation of laws, and historically people abide by the law. And I think, no, generally speaking, this will become the law. It will be enforced, and in Tennessee and elsewhere, it will go forward without any difficulty. I’m very optimistic.”

To support Rep. Stewart’s optimism, news arrived near the end of the rally that the Davidson County Clerk’s office had begun issuing same sex marriage licenses at noon, and that the Shelby County Clerk’s office issued its first such license around 11 a.m.

As I walked back to my car, I listened to the recording I had made of Quincy Acklin’s comments about the impact this ruling will have on LGBT people: “It means equality. That I have the same rights that everyone else has. That I can have what my parents had.”

Just as important as that, Acklin’s other comments hinted at how this sea-change will reshape the coast of social expectations.

“Growing up gay is not an easy thing,” he said, “and I always felt like I was out of place. And even when you come out and meet other gays, society still tells you you’re not equal, [not] the same, as everyone else. I wanted to be able to do everything everybody else could, and now I can. And I feel awesome about that.”

For once—as I think about the much brighter, more inclusive future that children who are LGBT will have now that none of us is a second class citizen—I don’t mind The LEGO Movie’s theme song being stuck in my head.



Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?

For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:

Keep reading Show less
Photo by Nimi Diffa on Unsplash

Without any surprise, one of the most commonly determined goals for this year is to be happier. It doesn’t matter what you secretly want, such as to lose a couple of pounds, build up your muscles or find the love of your life – the ultimate goal of every single one of us is the same – to be happy.

After all, anything that we want from life, we want so that it could bring us happiness. But happiness will not come to whomever, as every person needs to work hard and think long about all the things that make them happy and actually earn that happiness. The end of every year is the perfect time to start thinking about that, to reflect on the previous year, see the negative points that you never want to repeat again and then see what the aspects you need to focus on more are. Take a look at some of the ideas that will help you become a happier gay man in the next year.

Keep reading Show less

You might think that the moment you tie the knot with the same-sex partner, your concerns end (since we did have to go too far and endure too much for this to be legal), but this is only just the beginning.

First of all, congratulations on getting married, we do all wish you a lifetime of happiness. But, you might not have really thought about all the things that you are supposed to think about before tying the knot. Apart from the place where you will be living and the number of kids you want to have, you will have to think about finances and budgeting in general. Being married is not an easy, nor a cheap exercise, and living with someone has plenty of other expenses that you might not have taken into account. But, in order for this to go as painlessly as possible, take a look at some of the best budgeting tips for the two of you:

Keep reading Show less