When Happiness Knows Your Name

The pursuit of happiness includes freedom to love for same-sex people.

Look up from this page and around the room you’re in.

No, seriously. Do it. Pwease.

If you’re at a salon waiting your turn, look at the stylist laughing with his client. If you’re in a coffee shop, look at the charmingly awkward not-a-first-date-’cause-it’s-just-coffee-date happening in front of you. If you’re by the lake, look at those dangerously ambitious power-walkers exchanging gossip and gardening tips.

If you’re at home, look at your significant other. Or, if you’re single, join me in looking at the beautiful furniture we worked so hard to buy, and erase the previous sentence from memory.

Take this scene in for a moment. Study everything surrounding you: the magazines on the table; the sound of blow dryers and chatter; the smell of coffee and tea. Feel the lakeside breeze on your cheeks and the grass beneath your palms.

Pay attention, even, to that speck of dust that appeared out of nowhere, delightfully coming to a rest on your clean coffee table.

Close your eyes, and lock this in. Relive the scene behind your eyelids. Tell yourself you’ll remember it forever.


Now, tell yourself that everyone around you is happy. Tell yourself that no matter what, whomever, or whatever you see when you reopen your eyes is totally, 100 percent-certified, breathlessly, impossibly, happy.

Open your eyes, and take a deep breath.

The stylist is doing what he loves. The awkward coffee shop duo is sitting with butterfly storms in their bellies. The power-walkers are gliding with a little more pop in their step.

Your whimsical speck of coffee-table dust, is now sleeping at your side, dreaming of the moment you’ll stand to stir it again.

Erase all cynicism for just this moment. Don’t worry about whether this column is a sappy, trite, mess of a thing. You can do that later. Instead, cue the Little Miss Sunshine-esque can’t-be-sappy-’cause-it’s-independent music.

For just this fleeting moment, pretend that absolutely nothing is wrong in the world. Just…pretend.

Feels a little different, huh? If only it were so easy to feel this way all the time.

Well, it could be—kind of. If we all just went on pretending nothing was wrong, things would be fine—until our delusions slapped the shit out of us.

Still, the feeling isn’t unattainable. We live in the land where we can do anything in order to pursue our happiness, so long as it doesn’t hurt, attempt to hurt, or plausibly could hurt anyone or anything else.

We live in the land of pursuit! We are free to pursue our dreams without pause. We live freely, with restrictions only to protect the interests that are essential to make things civil and conducive to ingenuity.


Imagine now your happy hair stylist, doing what he loves, and telling his client that story about his boyfriend forgetting their anniversary. Think about the awkward coffee shop couple, John and David, wondering if they’d be so lucky. Envision your power-walkers, and their joyful conversation around the baby she adopted…with her.

Think about your speck of dust, which doesn’t give a damn about who you’re kissing on your sofa, lying blissfully in anticipation of another game of “tag, you’re it!”

The pursuit they were promised, one that is unquestionably discerned from love—the pursuit of happiness—is under fire.

We live in an era where freedom is substantial enough a proposition that we overthrow world governments to give it to other people. Yet, here at home, we deny the Freedom to Love to millions of men and women who want happiness—for their families, for themselves, for their spouses.

Happiness knows your name. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor. It’s by your side, though sometimes just out of reach, waiting for you to find it—to play wonderfully; to hope endlessly; to love breathlessly.

Stand tall. Be heard. And love.


To learn how you can contribute to keeping the pursuit alive for you, and your brothers and sisters, contact Project 515 at www.Project515.org, or OutFront Minnesota at www.OutFront.org. Straight? We love you, too. Join us as an ally.

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