And thank God.
Thank you U.S. Supreme Court justices for your ruling today affirming the right of same-sex couples to marry no matter where they live in this country.
And thank you for your decision yesterday protecting Obamacare, a ruling defending the interests of all Americans and the right of everyone to have affordable health care.
The verdict is in: People matter.
Your suffering matters. Mine, too. This is true regardless of your ability to pay for the medical care you need, or how I may choose to live my life with the person I love as we honor one another by respecting the rights of others to shape their own lifestyles and values.
So many have fought and struggled against insult and injury, against the denial of that sacred ideal of creating a life built on love and commitment to your true heart partner, the person you find and choose for yourself, whoever he or she may be and wherever you desire to reside.
Remember the sacrifices of those previously denied the ability to turn same-sex relationships into unions sanctified by marriage vows. People have been shamed. Pilloried. Cast out of families, turned away from jobs. Consider how long our society’s backward thinking led to gay people being tortured psychologically, emotionally, physically. Even murdered.
This is a day to cherish the progress we are making as a society. It doesn’t always come as quickly as it should, but let’s keep moving toward the light. That’s what we’re doing now, in the wake of these two momentous court decisions.
If someone tells you the Bible preaches against same-sex unions, let’s contemplate that assertion. Then with rationality and deep thought, move on. With a nod to my Christian heritage and out of respect for the many non-Christians I have come to know as kindred spirits, let us consider the guidance offered in Matthew 7:1-3: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
You live your life, I’ll live mine. Respect the rights of others and expect others to respect your rights. Do not impose your values. Do not undermine the aspirations of others. Treat people justly and fairly, without judgment or rancor.
Yes, President Obama, this is about that hallowed quality we in America want to hold forever in our hearts: Freedom. Throw in liberty. And acceptance.
Cue President Obama for his reaction to the High Court’s decision upholding gay rights: “This ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are truly treated as equal, we are more free.”
Now cue my 16-year-old daughter, who bounded downstairs from her room after learning of today’s landmark Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.
“Finally, America!” she said. “It’s about time.”
What a week. Let’s also throw in the Supreme Court’s decision today in favor of a Muslim woman denied a job because she wore a hajib, the black scarf that symbolizes her faith. While we celebrate the monumental step we’re making to defend gay rights, let’s also honor the virtue of religious freedom and the protection of freedom of expression.
Then my 18-year-old son joined the celebration. His response was just as heartfelt, but more succinct: “Wow,” he said, a huge smile on his face. “Wow.”
They get it. They value it and respect it.
We exchanged high-fives. I called my husband. We laughed, especially when my husband, tongue in cheek, offered his perspective: “I think it’s great. Now all of those zealot right-wing radio guys are going to have to work all weekend trying to shoot all of this down!”
My daughter, keeping a watchful eye on her phone, said the common theme among her friends reflecting on the two major court decisions was this: “Go SCOTUS! Go POTUS!”
I’m giddy, maybe trending toward an all-out gloat. Perhaps I should swallow some of that, but no, I’m going with it anyway. I know in many ways this is just a beginning; we can’t wipe out homophobia overnight or instantly convert bigots and haters. But we can dream and hope and relish on this oh so important day.
If I could sing and play the bass, I would raise my voice in a politically inspired version of one of my favorite Elvis Costello tunes: “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?”
I’ve been known to pluck a melody or two on the guitar, but never the stringed bass. So I’ll settle for humming rather than full-throated warbling.
With Elvis Costello’s words highlighting a sense of altruism, faith and mercy cycling through my brain, I propose this toast: “Here’s to peace, love and understanding.”
And a great big Amen.