Kinsey Morrison ’18 was the youngest speaker at a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court on April 28, preceding a hearing of oral arguments over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.
The Family Equality Council (FEC)—which links and provides support for LGBTQ parents and their children around the country—asked Morrison to deliver a speech after approaching her to sign their amicus brief. As an amicus signer, Morrison was able to include her full name on the document that told the stories of the FEC’s Outspoken Generation program members, many of whom are children of LGBTQ parents under the age of 18 and therefore could only use their initials. The brief was sent to the Supreme Court in March in order to garner support for same-sex marriage from the justices.
“Just knowing that was a moment I would remember forever was just incredible,” Morrison said about delivering her speech, “but it was definitely shocking to see the amount of hatred.”
She describes being heckled by the opposition, which placed its podium a mere 10 feet away from her, chanting lyrics to popular songs and bible verses that had been twisted into anti-gay slurs.
The FEC initially approached Morrison, the daughter of a lesbian couple who is active in the fight for marriage equality, after finding her video “Sanctity” online. The film, made by Morrison and her two sisters this past winter, tells her family’s story and shows viewers how her mothers—a devoted couple of 24 years—only strengthen the sanctity of marriage, not threaten it. In her speech in front of the Supreme Court, she credits her mothers with “[teaching] me the power of my voice, and also the price of my silence. Today I refuse to be silent.”
Morrison is optimistic about how both the FEC’s work and the potential ruling in favor of gay marriage by the Supreme Court will impact the six million children of LGBTQ parents living in the United States, such as herself.
“I think that it’s a really hopeful and incredible thing that the next generation of kids with LGBTQ parents really might never live in a world where they feel like they might have to come out about their family, and they feel like they have to hide it, whereas my generation definitely did,” Morrison said.
Religion plays a significant role in both Morrison’s identity and her fight for marriage equality. A self-described “conservative Christian,” she has found herself identifying as more progressive since coming to Stanford.
“I’ve spent my entire life judging my life by how well I can sell it to straight, white conservative Christians in Kentucky,” said Morrison. Now, she is concentrating on her “evolution from trying to prove ‘I’m just like you’ to ‘I should be treated with love and respect even if I’m not just like you.’”
Thirteen states currently have same sex-marriage bans. The Supreme Court met in order to review cases that concern bans in just four of those states: Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. However, the 14th Amendment of the Constitution says that no state can “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” If the decision finds that the amendment has been violated by forbidding LGBTQ citizens from marrying, the ban may be lifted in all states.
Morrison now awaits the announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision in June, in which Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy are expected to be the swing votes. She believes the decision will be remembered as one of the largest decisions in her lifetime and in American history.
“[Marriage is] one of the last…fundamental rights that is still barred from huge group of people,” Morrison said. “To move into the next century where we’re working more on lived equality and less on legal equality…this is the last domino to fall.”
Contact Rebecca Aydin at raydin ‘at’ stanford.edu.