While there have long been LGBTQIA residents of Bainbridge Island, the formal Bainbridge Pride organization was started recently in 2015. The story of the formation of Bainbridge Pride is the story of a small group of passionate and driven residents who transformed home-based social gatherings into a growing Pride organization on our Island.
The Supreme Court of the United States was considering a case in 2015 (Obergefell v. Hodges) that could have dramatic ramifications on equal rights for same-sex partners through access to legal marriage, and the myriad rights and responsibilities that go along with marriage. The case was about James Obergefell’s suit to be recognized as a spouse on the death certificate of his husband of 21 years.
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States. This 5-4 ruling effectively required states to license and recognize same sex marriage.
This monumental decision was celebrated by the LGBTQIA community as a huge step forward in treating members of our community with respect and providing the same access to a large number of rights reserved for marriage. On Sunday, June 28th, around two dozen jubilant Islanders - members of the community and allies - gathered at Bainbridge Island’s Waterfront Park, with rainbow flags and picnic baskets in hand to celebrate.
New friendships were formed that day as residents shared their own personal stories with each other. Some even admitted that before this day, they had gone years and even a decade (for some) without meeting other LGBTQIA islanders like them. And these candid admissions inspired us to become an organization dedicated in not only bringing people together but making sure the island continues being a safe, accepting and loving place for LGBTQIA individuals, families and allies.
That same day a Facebook Group page was created to keep all members informed and connected on our progress and continued fight for LGBTQIA equality!
If you have a story you’d like share with us (maybe you were at this original Waterfront gathering) please send it our way, as we’d love to learn more about your experience being LGBTQIA on this island!