It’s been a good week, y’all. A really, really good week. Love showed up and just kept right on winning.
First there was that whole flag thing. Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina called for the removal of the Confederate flag? What? I gotta tell you, my mother lived in South Carolina, I grew up in North Carolina, in a family that chanted, “The South will rise again!” and there was a time not so long ago, when I’m pretty sure people suspected the capital building might collapse if that flag was removed. And yet, suddenly (and finally) folks realized that what might have started as “Heritage Not Hate” was being used to promote “Hate as Heritage,” and they’re voting that sucker down. When people do something like that – when they choose to put other people’s feelings, other people’s safety, ahead of their own sentimentality – well, that’s when Love wins. We’ve got a long way to go with institutionalized racism – I’m not suggesting that Love do a victory lap on that one, but Love certainly deserves a ribbon.
And then, well, THEN, we know what happened on Friday, right? Actually, maybe we don’t.
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time there was a girl, a good girl, from a good family, who accidentally, quite unintentionally, fell in love with another girl – another good girl from another good family. This girl, let’s call her Sarah, wasn’t setting out to rebel against convention. She wasn’t trying to give the middle finger to her conservative family or community, or, God forbid, Jesus. Sarah was simply taken with this other girl’s kind soul, her vivaciousness, her smile. When Sarah was with her, it felt like she belonged – like somehow, she’d finally come home.
Of course, it was all very confusing. For a long time it was a secret that the two girls worked out together. Their families knew that both girls seemed happier; they seemed more alive, more joyful, more giving, but they didn’t know why. At separate dining room tables, in separate houses, mothers and fathers puzzled, cocked eyebrows and wondered, “Could she be in love? She certainly looks like she’s in love.”
Eventually, their secret got out. That’s how it is with love. Love is big and it just gets bigger. It expands like one of those “watch-it-grow” sponge animals that you drop into a bowl of water, a bowl that seems perfectly adequate for this tiny pellet, and then over time, that animal is bulging out of the top – exploding over the sides.
Of course, everyone was scandalized. This was unacceptable. This was immoral. This was unnatural. But, actually, on 22nd-look it appeared pretty natural for those two girls. And they were still good girls, good girls who now looked lit up from the inside; it was hard to see them as immoral. And so, eventually, their families began to soften. They began to think that maybe, just maybe, they didn’t have ALL the answers to Everything in the History of Ever. They looked around at each other and said, “Well, it is said that we will ‘know them by their fruits.’ Their fruits are good, and so perhaps, they are good after all.”
It had taken a long time to come this far, years in fact. They’d worked hard. They’d struggled with the Big Questions, and in the end they’d come to a place of peace. But still, they grieved. Because it was a tough row their daughters were going to have to hoe. If it had taken them this long to get there, their own parents who already loved them like the ocean loves the shore, what chance did their girls have in the larger world? Their children would be ostracized. There would be no celebrating, only defending and deflecting. There would be no weddings. There would be no grandchildren. There would be no happily-ever-after. It was a lot to let go of.
What happened on Friday, when the Supreme Court of the United States of America declared marriage to be a constitutional right of all citizens, was that parents of gay children all over the country were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Whether they’ve come to place of joy and support, or tolerance and acceptance, or even if they’re still sitting in outright disapproval, they no longer have to worry that there is no happily-ever-after out there waiting for their kids. And happily-ever-after? Well, that’s definitely a victory lap for Love.
I know there are lots of people who disagree. There are people who believe, for whatever reasons, that same-sex marriage is wrong.
That’s fine. Don’t marry someone of the same sex.
Personally, I believe that marrying an asshole is wrong, so I’ve done my best to avoid participating in that. To each, her own. But please, if you’re disappointed in the Court’s ruling, don’t start jumping up and down shouting that marriage, and family as we know it, is over. That’s bupkis. Sarah’s happily-ever-after doesn’t detract from yours in the slightest. Unless, of course, you had your eye on Sarah.
Things change. The world goes on. Just look at South Carolina. Those Stars and Bars are coming down any day now and the capitol building… it’s looking no worse for the wear.