Today I woke up to the arc of history bending just a little more toward justice. As I left the gym at 7am my Facebook feed started blowing up with hashtags: #SCOTUS #equality #pride2015. I sat in my car for a moment to let the information sink in. I had a feeling it would happen; that this was on the right side of history. But hoping and praying and advocating doesn’t make equality real… this, right now, today. This was real.
I didn’t always believe in marriage equality. When I was a Christian I toted the line on “one man and one woman.” I bought into the “hate the sin but love the sinner” mentality that churches use to describe their gay and lesbian congregants. I thought that because Church teaching rejected homosexuality, I had to reject homosexuality.
Until my friends came out as gay. Until family members came out as gay. Until I started knowing and loving people who were gay. Slowly, what I had been taught in church began to feel wrong. On one hand, I was taught love and tolerance and community and forgiveness. On the other hand I was taught to reject, condemn, and exclude. Spiritually I felt the dissonance of what I knew was right, love, and what I knew was wrong, condemnation. Eventually, I had to make up my mind.
I chose to stand on the side of love. This meant that, for me, church teaching about homosexuality was wrong. I struggled with this for a long time, but it formed a crack in my spiritual life. And like a chip in the windshield, the crack just kept getting bigger. I began to question women’s role in the Church; beliefs about other religions; contraception and life issues… eventually my windshield had to be replaced. Choosing love had a snowball effect that eventually led me to the Unitarian Universalist church; a faith that doesn’t teach that homosexuality is inherently evil; a church that affirms the dignity and worth of EVERY person.
The recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage has huge civil repercussions. However, as many rainbows as I see in my newsfeed, I also see the mostly religious dissent of “NO!” “SINFUL!” “DAMNNATION!” Which frustrates me. The ruling doesn’t force churches to marry gay couples. It doesn’t change church doctrine. It doesn’t rewrite the Ten Commandments. It doesn’t force people to become homosexual or even like homosexuality. All it does is guarantee rights to a group of people who deserves them; not because they are special but because they are human.
We live in a country of diversity. Almost every ethnic and religious tradition on earth today resides in the United States. This means that we are bound to find people who are unlike us in tradition, faith, physical appearance and language. We will most definitely disagree on a whole bunch of issues. But one thing we should all want is the acknowledgement of our own humanity; which comes with certain rights that go beyond pen and paper legalities. One of the most important being the right to life and dignity.
To live freely, openly, with kindness and compassion and community and without fear. Today the Supreme Court helped remove just a little bit of fear and replaced it with love. And for that, I am thankful. Because today is a day about which I can tell my son, “I remember when I came home, looked you in the eye, and said, ‘Toby, today your world just got a lot bigger. Today, love won.’”