I couldn’t let this moment pass. This one joyous moment after all the turmoil we’ve recently had. I just wanted to acknowledge it, tip my hat to it so that it solidifies as real in my mind.
Today, The United States Supreme Court struck down bans on marriage equality in all 50 states. And it makes me happy.
While I have already heard from folks who do not agree, my happiness is not dulled. I think back to people in my life and how this decision would’ve affected them. To people in my life now and how it will shape their future.
The ruling was 5 to 4 and you can find the full decision and all the dissensions here.
But I loved Justice Kennedy’s defense and words that spoke specifically to how this decision affects families and children.
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 be- come 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.
Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.
I’m happy for the families positively affected by this ruling today. And I am thankful to those that persisted down this path and didn’t give up hope that they would one day see this.
Even as I write this, I reflect on the massacre in Charleston and think of Ellis’s quote as it relates to love. I am praying that our persistence in love will pay off for all of us as we lay to rest the 9 that left us too soon.