Let’s consider marriage equality: yours, mine, and “theirs.” Opt out now if you need to.
When I was a young woman in high school, I saw this chilling quote that has never left my head. It’s attributed to German pastor Martin Niemoller. The “they” he refers to are the Nazis.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
So let it be said that I’m here and I’m speaking out and I’ll never quit. When they come for opinionated old women, perhaps someone will speak out for me.
There is a huge controversy in our country and around the world about same sex couples being allowed to marry. I simply don’t get it. If you’re against equality in marriage, then please answer this question: how will it hurt you? If you love your spouse, then how will someone else loving their spouse hurt your marriage?
If you say, “It makes me uncomfortable,” then that is just too bad. Get out of your comfort zone! That’s where all the really good stuff is anyway.
Please, please don’t tell me it’s because you’re a Christian. This is a pat answer that has no real meaning. It means you haven’t thought it through. You’re jumping on a bandwagon because your Aunt Bessie thinks it’s wrong or the confused and opinionated pastor at your church thinks it’s wrong. If your preacher says Christ spoke against homosexuals, then you need a new church.
Personally, I gave up on organized religion some time ago, but I would defend to the death your right to believe whatever you want. Because I was raised by religious parents, I’ve read the Bible more than once. It’s full of don’t do this or that—a person loses track. And the “don’t dos” change to reflect the times. Then we come to the New Testament, where there is a clear and ever-present DO. Do what? LOVE.
What did Christ say about homosexuality? Nothing. Nada. Not one word. Christ said we should love one another as we love ourselves. He didn’t say, “except for gay people or black people or people different from us.” He said love was the answer to everything, the only thing that matters. Why is that so hard to understand? Don’t come at me with hate and say you’re a Christian. I don’t buy it and something smells.
So what if it makes you uncomfortable for a man to be in love with a man or a woman to be in love with a woman? Get over it! Nobody is suggesting that you have to marry someone of the same sex.
In a world so full of hatred I think we should put a much higher value on love—all love. If you think your love is more valid than someone else’s, then you’re missing the point about love.
When I was a kid my mom used to take me to have my hair cut by a handsome man who went to our church. I have no idea how I knew this, but one day I realized that he was in love with a man who came to see him while he was working on my hair. They didn’t touch or say anything of real importance, but I knew it. On the way home I asked my mother about it and she said, “You’re right, Beth. They’re in love.”
“Will they get married?”
“They can’t get married,” my mom said.
“The law prevents them from marrying. Only a man and a woman can get married.”
“That’s not fair!”
I knew it as a little kid. Things are changing slowly—way too slowly to suit me or anyone who’s waiting to be able to marry the person they love. Some people waited all their lives and died without ever having that privilege.
It would make me proud if our country embraced love between adults no matter whether it’s Bob and Sue or Bob and Bill or Sue and Betty. It would be the best thing for our hearts to choose love. Christ said it over two thousand years ago and gurus before and after him have said it. Every one of them advised us to choose love, yet we continue to get it wrong.
If love by itself doesn’t convince you, then think about this Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
What if they were coming for you?