I was born and raised in New Orleans, and I recently married my husband there in a religious ceremony that followed a civil ceremony we held out of state.
The legislation that Gene Mills advocates for is not about the battle over the right of people like me to marry the ones we love. He has lost that battle. I have the wedding photos (and tax bill) to prove it.
The law is about what to do with the losers — those like Mills who lost the power to prevent people like me from getting married and who grasp for another form of power to punish me for it.
In our society, you are allowed to be sexist, racist and homophobic. You can worship a God that you believe hates people who are different from you. You can gather together with others who share your beliefs, and you can even hold public demonstrations where you voice your belief in your superiority to others. These are freedoms our society protects because we believe that we all have an inherent right to decide for ourselves what is in our own hearts and minds.
What we are not free to do, however, is to act on our beliefs in ways that inflict harm on others. The line we cross when we express our beliefs in actions that harm another person is the line where our freedom ends.
Mr. Mills belongs to a sad tradition in our state of being slow to learn that lesson. Our state fought tooth and nail to preserve the power of husbands to treat their wives as legal inferiors. It fought with all its might to allow people who are white to harm people who are black. It did all this, and it failed.
Mills will always be able to pretend to be God and to sit in judgment of me and people like me in his mind and his heart.
He will always be allowed to stand at a podium or a pulpit and denigrate me and people like me.
But the days are numbered on his ability to fire me, to evict me or to refuse to serve me in a place of public accommodation because of who I love. He is free to fight that battle as hard as he wants. But as he did before, he will fail.
And I will be left with the hard work of forgiving him for it.
corporate philanthropy officer
New York, New York
Editor's Note: This letter was revised at 10 a.m. on April 28, 2015, to correct that the legislation is favored by Gene Mills, not state Sen. Fred Mills.