Tears of Joy

I can’t stop crying at Facebook today.

There are lots of days that I cry at Facebook, but most of them are out of frustration that people can be so hateful and narrow-minded. A guy’s hatred of an entire race caused him to shoot up a church. Let’s blame his hate on a flag and make that the bigger issue. Let’s ban one of the greatest movies in history because it’s set in the Civil War era.

But this isn’t a post about racial hatred and its symbols. This is a post about one of the most beautifully written paragraphs in legal history.

“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. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.”

With those words, marriage equality was made a reality in all fifty states.

I have a lot of friends that have been waiting for this day, either because it means that they themselves can get married anywhere they like, or because they support the rights of all people to get married to the person they love.

I am profoundly happy with my marriage. I have had others tell me that my wife and I have the kind of marriage they aspire to have, one that’s full of cheer and happiness despite the struggles of life.

And now, in all fifty United States, my gay and lesbian friends can aspire to have that in their marriage too.

I know a lesbian couple that went out of state to marry in Maine. They are an example of the fidelity and commitment that a marriage takes to be a lifelong relationship. I know one man in a marriage in New York and he and his husband, who I’ve not met, appear to be blissfully happy together. As my friend stated about his relationship, “We’re not gay married, we’re just married.”

It’s not a question of gay marriage. It’s never been a question of gay marriage. That’s a misleading statement. What gays and lesbians have been fighting for decades to have is the simple right and dignity that is assumed to be extended to heterosexual couples. For so very many years, we have had the right to marry. But it’s not a right if it’s not extended to every single person in the country, and that’s what the fight has been about. Marriage equality, not gay marriage.

I’ve lived through some amazing times in history. I was alive when man first walked on the moon, though I was nine weeks old and slept through the whole thing. I’ve seen the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. I’ve seen (and been part of) the earliest beginnings of the public Internet. And now I’ve seen marriage equality become the law of the land.

While I am always proud to be an American, there are times that we as Americans do things that I’m not so proud of. We’re hateful toward one another and that hate bleeds over into our political process. I can’t recall a time in my life when the two parties have been so divisive. Marriage equality is one of those issues that will continue to be fought over for years, because the issue is politically polarizing. Today is not the last we’ve heard of the fight against “gay marriage.”

But today, for one day, my Facebook wall is FULL of love and acceptance and happiness that every American has access to the same basic human right to be happy in their relationship and to commit to one person for as long as they both shall live.

And I’ve never been happier to cry at Facebook as I am today.

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