Breaking News: Obama to Speak Momentarily on Same-Sex Marriage Equality
Of course, this caught my attention. I anxiously awaited President Obama's address and like a child listening to a story, I sat cross-legged, hands under my chin, leaning in with anticipation. I have always enjoyed listening to President Obama speak and today was no different. His words were sincere and compassionate, as well as booming since I had the volume turned up louder than usual. My mother entered the living room and asked what was going on.
I looked up at her, eyes glistening, and said, "Same-sex marriage is legal. In all 50 states!" She exclaimed, "Oh my god! Really???" as she sat next to me and held my hand. She asked if I would mind rewinding the address so she could see it from the beginning. Of course I didn't mind. We sat next to each other, tears streaming down my face, as my mother hugged me and said, "Congratulations! And it's about fucking time!"
I sniffled as President Obama declared, "love is love" and crowds cheered. My world was changed. I never thought, in my lifetime, I would see this day. I honestly thought the state-by-state "patchwork", as President Obama called it, would continue indefinitely, fearing more Proposition 8's or DOMAs. To know that I, as a bisexual woman, could potentially marry a woman and live ANYWHERE in the country without fear of my marriage not being recognized, is beyond validating. It's EMPOWERING. It's LIBERATING. It's FAIR.
In my reverie, I was aware that many people were feeling as defeated as I did elated. And I respect that. I understand that many people view marriage as a religious sacrament and do not agree with not only gays and lesbians partaking in the institution, but anyone not respecting the religious and spiritual aspects of the ritual. I have held many intelligent conversations with such people and understand that train of thought. The idea that any union joined together, outside a religious ceremony, should not be called a marriage. Therefore, involving the government in such decisions invalidates the spiritual union.
That being said, ALL opposite-sex marriages WERE recognized in every state, despite where the couple was joined in matrimony. It could have been a church or synagogue or court house or Graceland Wedding Chapel in Vegas. The couple could have known each other for 50 years or 50 minutes and it made no difference in the eyes of the law. The fact of the matter is, you need more than a church and a religion to marry legally in this country. You need a state-appointed marriage license. And that is not spiritual or religious. So, while I understand and empathize with those who oppose same-sex marriage, based on their spiritual definition of the institution, I respectfully disagree, with every fiber of my being, that the LGBTQIA+ community should continue to suffer inequality.
For those who disagree with marriage equality based solely on bigotry, hate, fear, intolerance, misogyny, and homophobia:
That's really what this fight has been about all along. Love. Not right or wrong. In fact, the Bible speaks boldly that love "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:7. I, along with my LGBTQIA+ community, have done all four: protected ourselves and our families through and during this fight, trusted and hoped that this day would come, and persevered each time we took one step forward and two steps back. That is love. Our community makes me proud, as divided as we might be at times, and this is a time of joy and celebration, of what's to come in the future. A time of reflection and remembrance, for what we've accomplished and how far we've come.
Do we have more to do? Absolutely. (Find out how here) Fighting for equality is never-ending and always changing. We are always striving to be more educated, more inclusive, less divisive, and less judgmental. This is a marker in the LGBTQIA+ history books. A day where hope outweighed grief, and love outweighed hate. I imagine in ten years, I will look back on this blog post and think, Wow, I cannot believe this was even an issue. And then I'll blink myself from my living room to my bedroom, I Dream of Jeannie-style. (We're THIS close, I can feel it!)
*Title credit: Song: "She Keeps Me Warm" released by Mary Lambert in 2013