KarMel Scholarship 2008
Honorable Mention: Best Gay Marriage
“The Wedding Picture”
By Yamuna Menon - CT
Desciption of Submission: “Personal story of my family’s struggle with marriage equality as well as my own struggles as a motivating factor in my decision to attend law school.” - Yamuna
Why Karen and Melody Liked It: We loved how she reminded us that our struggle is not unique. There are many who came before us who can still remember how it felt to be treated differently for something they could not control. Maybe we can help keep history from repeating itself!
Wedding pictures are some of the most important keepsakes in a family’s album. In my parents’ wedding reception photos they are surrounded by their brothers, sisters, and childhood friends. But when my mother and father look through those pictures, the absence of certain guests is much more poignant and noticeable than the presence of those who were there to celebrate their happiness; neither set of my grandparents attended.
My grandparents disapproved of the marriage because
my parents were not doing what was considered socially appropriate – both my
mother and father were subject to
Those wedding photos flashed through my mind this
past spring as I anxiously sat in on the Connecticut State Legislature
Judiciary Committee hearing on H.B. 7395, “An Act Concerning Marriage
Equality.” As the Community Organizer
for Love Makes a Family [a nonprofit
organization devoted to promoting marriage equality and legal benefits for
the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (“GLBT”) community], all of the
grassroots organizing I had done in the state legislature and constituency had
come to this one moment. As the Judiciary
Committee was voting on the bill to allow same-sex couples to marry, I
remembered my parents’ wedding photograph and how difficult it had been for them
to marry. Everything in me wanted to
do all that I could to work against the social inequities within the
institution of marriage regardless of who was being harmed. For me, it was clear that the present campaign
for marriage equality was no different from my parents’ own fight against the
caste system in
All of my work leading up to that vote proved
fruitful. I had spent the entire
winter and spring organizing over twenty legislative house meetings between
constituents, state representatives and state senators where constituents explained
the importance of marriage equality in their own lives. The meetings greatly
impacted the legislators’ votes in Judiciary Committee. Further, the entire
marriage equality movement in the
As the roll call came in, I frantically wrote down the results. With tremendous pride, I could not believe my eyes as I reviewed the tally: “yea” 27, “nay” 15. The Connecticut State Legislature Judiciary Committee passed H.B. 7395 by a solid margin.
Around that same time I had another moment to
reflect on this fight – the same fight fought by my parents and the couple in
Loving. The Connecticut Supreme
Court heard oral arguments in the marriage equality case of Kerrigan
& Mock v. CT Department of Public Health. I was there for the argument and watched
the plaintiffs’ attorney Ben Klein argue that the denial of marriage equality fails to
As for the current state of my parents’
plight, today in
A legal education will
allow me to be a more effective component of this campaign in the state. The movement is very active in
I cannot change all of society’s views or the law overnight, but I can be a part of the steps towards such change, just as my parents and the Lovings have been.
One wedding picture at a time.
 Although history was made that day, the bill did not progress further.