Almost four years ago these six words made up my Facebook post:
“I’m glad this day finally came”
The day in reference was the day that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed, officially removing the ban against open Gays and Lesbians serving in the military.
Those six words would unleash a fury of fear and anger towards me from people at my church, leading to my firing as the Worship Pastor from a church I had served at for half a decade.
What a difference four years makes.
Today I offer these same six words: I’m glad this day finally came.
The day in reference this time is today, when the Supreme Court affirmed gay couples the right to marry.
The difference this time around? My church is Sojourn Grace Collective, where half of our congregation identifies as LGBTQ. And where all of our congregation affirms the equality of love.
This time around, instead of my Facebook post standing alone amidst a news feed of angst, sadness, fear, and vitriol, my voice is but one being added to the myriad member choir of beautiful, kind, gracious, open-hearted, and loving individuals who celebrate today’s historic decision.
Four years ago it was a fireable offense for me to stand against discrimination based on orientation.
Today it is a shining thread woven in a tapestry of grace to celebrate its end.
I feel like I can understand the anger, fear, and panic in the millions of Americans who stand for some specific version of “traditional” marriage. They are enraged that five unelected people can make such a sweeping decision that impacts our entire country. They are being told how afraid they should be about what a decision like this will do to destroy our nation. They are wondering how they might continue to stand firm in their convictions when it appears that the world around them is changing.
I get it. I do. I really do.
That would be scary as hell.
And incredibly infuriating.
And unbelievably devastating.
Yet (at the risk of a using a false equivalence… okay, no, at the promise of this being a false equivalence, but I’m okay with that) their fear, anger, and sadness must be seen for what it is in comparison to the fear, anger, and sadness of the millions of people who identify as LGBTQ and have been told for centuries that they are not worthy of the right to marry and that their love is less-than: it’s a shrub to a redwood, a hill to Everest, a golf ball to the moon.
And the moment that our fellow citizens who oppose this recent ruling can catch a glimpse of that, or can even begin to consider how it must have felt to be on the other side of this for far too long, will be the moment perhaps that they can begin their journey towards towards compassion.
Meanwhile, I celebrate my news feed.
I grin from ear to ear at the community I am now surrounded with. My heart beams with Pride at the life my family has both created and fallen in to. Where we can live free of the fear that clouded our every move four years ago, when our community was not a safe place to speak openly of our beliefs and our doubts.
It’s been said that you eventually become more and more like the people you hang out with. Me? I consider it an honor and a blessing to be in community with the people in my life. And if I look more and more like them over the coming years, then what a gift.
Congratulations, all of you who identify as LGBTQ.
Congratulations, all you friends and family members.
May you slowly begin to show the country (and the world) what us allies have known all along: your love, which is no different than ours, makes our world a more beautiful place.
I’ll say it one more time: