Backlash against gay marriage
My oldest daughter attended Silverthorne Elementary as a first-grade student in 2003 at a time when gay weddings were not mainstream, but they happened. In fact, they happened in our family.
My sister-in-law and her partner were married in a civil ceremony in Oregon. Much to our chagrin, especially Ellie’s, they eloped. Like most little girls, Ellie dreamed of fairytale weddings filled with flowers—and little flower girls. To help ease her anger about being robbed a wedding, I suggested that she make a card for them. She did. Using glitter and glue, sparkles and markers, Ellie made a magnificent card of two women in two princess wedding dresses, holding hands and surrounded by wedding bells. After licking the envelope, she bounced her way to school, excited to tell everyone the news.
She came home in tears.
Her friends told her it wasn’t legal, right or even normal. The teacher and I had a chat. A few moms and I had a chat. Most importantly, Ellie and I had a chat. I tried my best to explain the legalities of gay marriage and politics to my 6-year-old, but it fell flat. She didn’t understand.
“Don’t you get married when you love each other?” She wanted to know. “How can someone tell someone else they’re not allowed to be together? There’s nothing wrong with more love in the world.”
I agreed. I still do. And finally, so does our government.
Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. And, with that decision, the country changed. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “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 they once were.” However, the ruling was close (5-4), reflective of the country at large.
Prejudice surrounding gay marriage remains alive and well. This month, a Denver baker took his case to the Colorado Court of Appeals, arguing that his religious views should be protected and that he should not be forced into making a wedding cake for a gay couple (reminding me of the Seinfeld ‘Soup Nazi’ episode—no gay cake for you!). All jokes aside, cases like these aren’t funny, and discrimination is not a laughing matter. Another anti-gay ballot initiative was filed this July, hoping to redefine all Colorado gay marriages as civil unions. Given the SCOTUS ruling, I don’t believe this will happen, but I’m am concerned about the intolerant and prejudicial thinking from citizens who refuse to accept the law.
In my hometown; Toledo, Ohio, a Municipal Court Judge refused to marry a same-sex couple. When they arrived, they were told that the judge on duty would not perform gay marriages. Toledo is not alone. There are a number of judges and religious clerics refusing to marry same-sex couples. The backlash has begun.
What makes people afraid? What is wrong with more love in the world? If a 6-year-old can see it, why can’t more adults?
For many, the argument against gay marriage is based upon the Bible, but life changes, and events that happened during Biblical times should no longer be used as a measure for today’s trials. We no longer feed people to lions. We no longer support slavery (at least legally). Some of us eat shellfish, and others get divorced. The stories in the Bible are hundreds of years old, and life has changed. I believe that Jesus would have been the first to accept and encourage gay marriage. In his day, he launched a radical practice of love, accepted the voice of women and children, helped lepers and the needy. He welcomed diversity. He welcomed love. It’s time for our society to accept change and forgo fear. WWJD? Support gay marriage, hands down.
Kudos to the many Americans who helped shift consciousness and to SCOTUS for ruling in favor of love and equality. Six-year-olds still might tease, but they can no longer say it’s wrong. Let’s hope the backlash against gay marriage and discriminatory beliefs are finally viewed as unacceptable behavior, and we can all move on.
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