As I write this, a tear is running down my cheek.
I’ve gotten choked up several times since I first logged into Facebook yesterday afternoon.
The vibrant colors in my news feed were literally jumping out at me. Many of my friends were changing their profile pictures to a photo of a red square with a pink equal sign or to a red heart with a white equal sign. Others were posting memes about their support for marriage equality. Even more friends were hitting the “like” button on those posts.
As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the ban on same-sex marriage yesterday and hears more about the federal Defense of Marriage Act today, I am feeling a sense of hope.
My sense of hope has little to do with my expectations regarding what the Justices will eventually decide and everything to do with the hearts of Americans.
For the past few years, I’ve been worried that too many of us have become focused on our own needs rather than on meeting the needs of others. I’ve been worried that we are becoming more judgmental and less caring. And I’ve been worried we’ve become a nation of haters.
Yesterday, that changed. I saw friend after friend showing support for the right of same-sex couples to marry. Most of these friends are straight, and all of them were fighting for a cause greater than themselves.
To quote one of them, “the amount of red equal signs all over my wall is BREATHTAKING!!! WOW everyone!!!”
Sure there were dissenters who were arguing that homosexuality is a sin or that children of same-sex couples are at a disadvantage, but their claims were dwarfed by the number of people who declared that love is always better than hate. That’s the message I’ve always tried to teach my children.
A few years ago, while on vacation in Cape Cod, my family went whale watching. After our boat docked, we spent time walking around Provincetown, Massachusetts.
I’ve been told that Provincetown has the highest concentration of same-sex couple households of any zip code in the United States, and I believe it. Men held hands with men as they walked down the street. A lesbian couple snuggled as they stood behind us in line for ice cream. And my children never asked a question or stared.
At that moment, I felt that, despite all my parenting blunders, I’d done something right. My hopes were once again confirmed yesterday evening when my 11 year-old daughter told me that she’d seen a report about the Supreme Court hearings on Channel One News at school. She said some of her fellow classmates expressed their dislike of gay marriage, but my daughter’s reaction to their comments was, ”Who cares? It’s their lives. They have a right to be happy too.”
I’m not sure that any decision by the Supreme Court can influence attitudes about same-sex relationships and ensure acceptance. I am positive that caring and supportive Americans, especially those of my children’s generation, will.
If that’s not reason to indulge myself in a few tears of joy, I don’t know what is.