Something big happened yesterday and I will take a few moments from my busy schedule to recognize it. On the surface, it was a small thing. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear cases in which several lower Federal courts had found that States' laws banning same sex marriage (SSM) were unconstitutional. Ok, so they declined to hear these cases, so what? That means that the Supreme Court looked at those cases and determined that there were no issues there that were unresolved. In short, SSM is now legal in all of those states that were trying to get their laws banning it upheld AND in other states that are covered by the Appellate courts that had made these rulings.
Another way of saying this is that the Supreme Court essentially said that the issue is not worth their time. BOOM! It might have been more satisfying, had the Court decided to hear the cases and officially rule on the issue, but In one decision, they determined that there is no merit upon which to challenge SSM. Suddenly the number of states where SSM is legal changed from 11 to 30. I am sure that some of these states will attempt new banning legislation and, essentially fight a stop gap war. There are also states that still have banning laws that have not been challenged, but the war of attrition has begun.
Not only are more states now in the legal marriage category, but, since the states included are many of the more populace states, we can say that a majority of the same sex couples in the country can now legally marry.
So, why, aside from just being a general live and let live as long as it doesn't hurt anybody liberal, is this cause for celebration enough for me to set my lunch chilli aside to write? I will admit to a personal journey. Like many, my view of gltb was that it was, at least, aberant, if not quite abhorent. From there, my kids and their friends showed me the path to tolerance and the joys of being the gltb "friendly" house for a bunch of high schoolers. From there, it was still a journey accompanied by some kicking and screaming to get to the full embracement that is now our lives. Somehow, the tolerant attitude was not quite as easy when the gay person in your midst is your son (sorry for that Todd).
The difficulty of this journey was, in part, a sadness that a parent feels for their child when they see a future that is not what we had hoped. As a white, male, intelligent (somewhat), affluent, middle of the road adult, I have limited experience (ok I'm short) with being reviled or legally limited for what I am. But to look down the road for my son and think that he would always be unjustly hated or dismissed by a segment of the population and would be denied certain basic rights, like choosing and forming a life long recognized commitment with someone that you love, was a sadness that was difficult to bear. I came to realize, though, that of the many ways that our children may face challenges, being gay was certainly not even close to being the worst.
In part, that is because the world is changing. I believe that, in the past, gltb people had limited choices. They could deny their sexuality and live a life devoid of sexuality or that special love that has a sexual basis. Despite the views of the catholic church, I am not convinced that this is a great option, or one that actually and truthfully works. They could deny their true sexuality and try to live a straight life. After nearly 30 years I am haunted by a memory of witnessing a man in a volvo with a child seat in the back engaging in a surreptitious hook up in a city park. How sad. They could admit their sexuality and live a life of closeted relationships, one nighters, and living on the wild side. OK, so maybe that doesn't sound that different from other youthful lifestyles, but we are programmed to pair to be happy. We also know that the wild side is not a healthy place to live for long.
So, now our sons and daughters and friends and neighbors are a bit less reviled for who they are. Gradually, they are gaining the right to openly seek and find someone to fall in love with, marry, and share a long and healthy life together (or not). When I look at all three of my kids, that is one of my greatest hopes.
And, do you know what? The world has not ended. The streets are still safe from gltb people chasing down and having their way with unwitting heterosexuals. The walls of our churches and governmental buildings are still in tact. In fact, I would say that the moral fiber of our country has been improved. The path to love has been made a bit less bumpy and a bit more feasible. Love, isn't that always a good thing? And, I am exuberant.