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…It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it…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.
~~ Justice Anthony Kennedy
I’ve titled this one a dozen different ways—because I am just so overwhelmed with gratitude at the Supreme Court’s landmark decision. One title was going to be “Grateful to be Legally Married in All 50 States.” This title won.
I am so joyous I can barely contain myself.
Articles are stating that the Supreme Court’s decision to be the most important and consequential civil rights ruling since 1967’s Loving vs. Virginia. And perhaps even more important, according to a poll taken by ABC News/Washington Post, 61% percent of the respondents thought gays and lesbian couple should be allowed to legally marry. The world is changing.
Now I could think about the many negative things that had to happen first. Deaths, both by disease and violence. Teen suicide. Adult suicides. That the United States was the twenty-first country to extend marriage to same-sex couples. Twenty-first? My country, the Land of the Free, created by the people and for the people, was twenty-first? I could be upset that there is outrage at this decision. That there will almost certainly be a backlash from the religious “right.” To worry about the fact that two Republican presidential candidates, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, have signed a pledge to defy the ruling.
I could sit and dwell on all these things.
But I refuse.
I know of, and have friends, with HIV who donated their bodies to medical science in the hopes that it might help bring a cure for AIDS. That perhaps their deaths might help others. I can’t believe that same-sex marriage is any different. I choose to believe my lost gay brothers are smiling and celebrating along with me.
I choose to think of the positive. To think of the youth growing up who will never know of a time when they couldn’t get married, whatever the reason. I celebrate knowing that in less time than any of can think, this court ruling will be ten years past, twenty, fifty. That people will say, “There was a time when my gay brother couldn’t get married to his partner? Really? Oh, come on—you’re pulling my leg!”
I watch the world and I see horrors. I also see miraculous steps forward as I watch mankind growing up.
I dearly love what Attorney General Loretta Lynch said this past week. “After decades of struggle, unyielding advocacy and unfathomable bravery, it is clear that we are in the midst of a national awaking.”
I extend that to humankind.
Today I am legally married to my husband in all fifty states. Today it has been declared by the highest court in the United States that I have the constitutional right to marry, that no state can take that right away, and that I have the same rights as any other citizen in the country.
I will not be sad. I rejoice! I dance in the streets! I cry happy tears. I will raise a glass. I will raise it to my friends Gary and David and Stephen and Mark Deedee (and countless more) who died of complications due to HIV/AIDS. I celebrate the awakening of humankind. I anticipate that soon I will have full equal rights under the law and that I won’t be able to be fired from a job because I am gay.
I will focus on the fact that Justice Anthony Kennedy said that he understood that centuries of the understanding of marriage was that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, “the history of marriage is one of both continuity and change.”
The Supreme Court said, “That institution – even as confined by opposite-sex relations – has evolved over time.
At one time, same-sex marriage was the stuff of science fiction stories, set hundreds of years in the future. And once again, science fiction has predicted something that has come to be—and once again far earlier than the stories predicted.
OH! And did I mention that this historic event happened four days before my one year anniversary of getting legally married?
Today is a day of unbridled joy and love and wonder. And I celebrate!
The full closing paragraph of the Supreme Courts Decision:
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.
. .The judgement of the of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.
. .It is so ordered.
~~ Justice Anthony Kennedy
photograph by Michael Murphy