Love Wins

cfff02dcd7c7d707553c6c0841e28ba0In case you spent the day under a big rock in a cave somewhere north of Nunavet, you know about the Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality in all 50 states. Everyone knows and everyone has their own opinion.

Before I get started, let me say this: CONGRATULATIONS!! I am so happy for all the LGBT people out there who now no longer have to fight to make their marriage equal to mine. Who can have all the benefits, rights, recognition, and, yes, headache, that heterosexual couples have had forever. It’s right. It should be this way. Love IS love and I do not think my heterosexual marriage is in any way “better” or “righter” than anybody else’s. I do hope this, though. I hope all the marriages that now can happen are treated with more respect and seriousness than many of the heterosexual marriages out there. Because, let’s be honest, for a group of people who have claimed some sort of moral superiority in the “one man/one woman” definition of marriage, we’ve done a pretty crappy job of treating it with the respect we insist it deserves.

Here is the ONLY problem I have with this. I have not read the whole opinion – majority or dissenting – but I did read this portion:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

This is BEAUTIFUL. I agree with it wholeheartedly. Please do not misunderstand that. This is a stunning, well-articulated, beautiful, heartfelt statement supporting marriage equality and I think it’s right on. However…

I do not think these sentiments are the job of the Supreme Court. These are feelings. These are not legal facts. As I understand it, the job of the Supreme Court is to determine constitutionality of a lower court’s decision. And this final paragraph does not seem to be that. It seems to be Justice Kennedy simply stating his feelings on marriage and how it also applies to marriage equality. This bothers me a little – not because I disagree with him, but because when the SCOTUS starts making decisions based on social justice rather than the law, that’s dangerous.

As much as I want to utterly and without reservation support this decision, I’m concerned. I’m concerned about what it means when the SCOTUS tells states what they must do in a case like this. I believe it would be better, more effective, and far more meaningful to allow the states to vote on it and legalize it “per state”. Doing it that way allows the people to speak their minds and in case after case, the states are voting to legalize.

I don’t know. It feels to me kind of like how people felt and were so angry when the SCOTUS stepped in to decide the 2000 election. So many people thought that was not within the scope of the Court’s duties and I’m worried that’s the case now.

You see, I want marriage equality to be legal with no caveats. I don’t want anyone coming back later and crying, “No fair!! You MADE us!! This wasn’t done right!!” Kind of like when Bush was elected. I want this battle to be won & won properly without anyone coming back later saying that it’s not valid.

Additionally, I’m seeing a lot of people wailing & gnashing their teeth over this decision – prophesying the collapse of our nation, decrying that it’s not “their” America anymore, and crap like that. Some of these same people are weeping over the removal of the Confederate flag and the flying of the rainbow flag, which….seriously??? One stands for hate, racism, oppression, and makes a segment of our population actually fear for their lives. The other supports two grown-ass adults choosing to commit to each other out of love and the desire to be a family. I do not believe that this is how God feels – not one bit. Oh, also? Marriage equality doesn’t have ANY effect on anybody else. Racism? Does. And I’m sick to death of being told that one is okay because, y’know, “heritage”, but the other isn’t because “the Bible says”. Guys? The Bible says A LOT OF THINGS. And anyone can make a case that anything in there means what they want it to mean, because of context (or lack thereof). I really like what Fr. James Martin, SJ has to say:

No issue brings out so much hatred from so many Catholics as homosexuality. Even after over 25 years as a Jesuit, the level of hatred around homosexuality is nearly unbelievable to me, especially when I think of all of the wonderful LGBT friends I have.

The Catholic church must do a much better job of teaching what the Catechism says: that we should treat our LGBT brothers and sisters with “respect, sensitivity and compassion.”

But God wants more. God wants us to love. And not a twisted, crabbed, narrow tolerance, which often comes in the guise of condemnations, instructions and admonitions that try to masquerade as love, but actual love.

Love means: getting to know LGBT men and women, spending time with them, listening to them, being challenged by them, hoping the best for them, and wanting them to be a part of your lives, every bit as much as straight friends are part of your lives.

Love first. Everything else later. In fact, everything else is meaningless without love.

I will keep saying it. Over and over and over and over again. Stop focusing so much on what other people are doing that you don’t agree with. Stop pointing fingers. Stop telling them they’re “wrong” (because, honestly, if your reasoning is Biblical, that means 100% of NOTHING to someone who’s not a Christian. They don’t care what the Bible says. You might as well be saying that you’re against it because of James Patterson’s books. They’ll be glad you found a book you like, but that’s about it.) Instead, love them. Maybe get to know someone who’s LGBT and hear their stories. Not to worm your way in so you can “save” them or “witness” to them. To genuinely get to know them as a fellow human being. To learn something from them. To maybe stop talking and LISTEN to them. With no ulterior motive. Just to know them.

I don’t know. I wonder sometimes if so many people decry LGBT and marriage equality simply because they don’t know anyone who falls in that category. They make assumptions. They don’t know the stories, the struggles, the heartbreak, the depression, the suicidal thoughts & deeds, or just don’t know that they’re actually PEOPLE like everyone else. It’s like what I’ve always said about Henry & people with Down Syndrome. Many people have false perceptions about people with special needs simply because they’ve never met one. They don’t know what they can do, because they’ve never seen it. They don’t believe they could parent a child with special needs, because they’ve never encountered one. Perhaps that’s the answer. We fear what we don’t know. We are against what is “different” to us. We’re just fine with the status quo because that’s the way it’s always been and we’re comfortable with that. It doesn’t matter to us that others are suffering within that status quo, because to change it would mean we have to step out of our comfort zone.

And, strangely enough, it seems that all of these recent issues (Confederate flag, marriage equality, racism) all have this in common. Those of us for whom everything is going just fine thankyouverymuch do not understand what the ruckus is all about, why we might need to rethink what we’ve always known/done, and why everybody can’t just shut up about all this.

And this is why: we are on the cusp. Change can happen NOW. Love can win. Fear & hatred can lose. Like I said previously (previously..on Motherhood..Unscripted…), we can change things if we listen, if we make an effort, and if we choose love. This is my choice. Across the board. I’m not saying it’s easy – change never is, but it’s ESSENTIAL. And it can happen if we choose. So……what are you going to choose?