Today the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments that may lead to a legalizing of same-sex marriage in this country. Tonight I finish a read-through of an article by a professor at Taylor University, published nearly 10 years ago, in which he wrings his hands and predicts the inevitability of same sex marriage in this country.
After pointing to widespread cultural shifts that will bring about this change, he tosses off almost as a given the statement, “Most of us agree that such unions are immoral….”
I wonder if the good professor changed his mind in the intervening years. I wonder if his heart has been touched, if his arms have been opened to embrace a close friend or family member who has come out gay.
Early on, I resisted the notion of marriage to the man I now call husband. Both he and I came out of heterosexual marriages we thought were to be forever. Divorce opened our eyes to the frailty of any human intention. Why should we again buy into a heterosexual institution? I didn’t see same-sex marriage as immoral, but as empty, puffed up on so much hot air and high hopes, devoid of real substance and practical value. Then I had the very personal experience of watching my father lie on his deathbed in a southern Missouri hospital, attended by my mother, his wife of 50-plus years. I listened as my parents sang simple love songs to each other.
I felt a pang that my partner and I will never live long enough to be able to look back on 50 years together. I bade my father goodbye, knowing I would not see him alive, and began the long drive back to Indiana. En route I turned to my husband and asked him to marry me. For better or for worse, marriage gives shape and form to the kind of relationship he and I share. It’s shorthand for “this is how and how much I love you.” It was a personal experience that changed my mind, not an experience I wished for, but one I profited from and was open to learning from.
May we all be open to growth and change.
In the photo: Clair Sharpless from Miami takes cover from the snow with a rainbow umbrella as she waits in line outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, on Monday March, 25, 2013, a day before the case for gay and lesbian couples rights will be argued before the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)