Friday, June 26, 2015

When The World Changes

Friday, June 26, 2015

"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."

- Justice Anthony Kennedy's writing in support of the Supreme Court's decision that ultimately legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States of America

Some days are more memorable than others. Today was one of those days. I knew something significant had changed when the first bit of news posted by a friend on Facebook gave me the hint that the Supreme Court ruling regarding the issue of state same-sex marriage bans had been decided and formally announced. Yes, same-sex marriage is now legal throughout the United States. I am excited by this historical moment in the life of the United States.

Despite the legalization of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court it's quite obvious that many people throughout the United States still have no intention of seeing gay people as being "worthy" of an institution such as marriage (that for so long has been inaccessible to us) let alone supporting us in our choice to formalize and strengthen our relationships through the bond of marriage. One need only look at the trending stories currently on display on Facebook to appreciate this reality. Consider, for example, the full statement of Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas in response to the Supreme Court ruling regarding same-sex marriage. Paxton equates same-sex marriage to "yet another assault on the actual text of the United States Constitution and the rule of law itself." In reading the text of his statement it is obvious that he sees same-sex marriage as somehow diluting the existing dignity of the institution. He also sees it as somehow an affront to the significant value that having both a mother and a father has to a child and that child's healthy development. And still further reading of his statement leads me to believe the mere reality of gay people marrying one another is something he might easily construe as a 'display of hate and intolerance against people of faith' (his own words). Ken, if you don't want to be invited to a same-sex marriage ceremony I have no doubt the LGBT community will be happy to never send you an invite!

It seems the political Right in this country will only identify hatred and abuse as these very things when it is unfolding before their eyes and is directed at them. But when these same people treat the LGBT community in horrible ways (that would make their beloved Jesus blanch at the sight) it is somehow perfectly acceptable. In other words restricting some citizens' enjoyment of the rights others enjoy is perfectly acceptable and even laudable when the people on the receiving end of such restriction are those people.

The plank in Paxton's own eye is quite visible in the last bit of his statement. He concludes by stating that "We must be vigilant about our freedom and must use the democratic process to make sure America lives up to its promise as a land of freedom, religious tolerance and hope." Mr. Paxton if you really want to support this nation being a land of freedom for the American people (as you yourself note) then you must be inclusive. You didn't state you would support some Americans in their enjoyment of freedom, religious tolerance and hope. If you believe in the value of a democratic system undergirded by the rule of law and respect for the Constitution then fulfill the duties of your position and respect the rule of law! In other words, stop being a bigot!

It is the very democratic process Paxton both praises and advocates American citizens use that led us to the historic ruling that was issued today. I learned more of the back story of this seminal court case today. The relationship between two men from Ohio was pivotal to what ultimately happened today. When Jim Obergefell lost his partner John Arthur (they were married in Maryland in 2013) to A.L.S. in October, 2013 the state of Ohio refused to list Obergefell as Arthur's spouse on Arthur's death certificate. In essence the state was denying Obergefell the right to honestly identify his true relationship to the deceased.

So I would ask Ken Paxton and all other Americans who want to contest the validity of same-sex marriage the following question: How does forcing an American citizen to deny the true nature of his relationship to another human being prove compatible with the principle of freedom that our country is supposedly dedicated to as articulated in the United States Constitution? If a person cannot openly and honestly declare the nature of his relationship to another on legal documents such as a death certificate where is the freedom in that life? There is no freedom in such oppression and restriction.

Today I feel proud to be an American. And I am also reminded of why I left the state of Texas. There is still much hatred and hypocrisy in that state. But truth be told there is still too much of it everywhere.

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!