A Step Forward

I do not intend for this website to be a political blog. While I’m sure that I have already betrayed some of my leanings, I do not intend to make a habit of beating my readers over the head with my ideology. Still, today I cannot resist celebrating a piece of news which made me very happy- the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling on gay marriage. I do not mind talking about it here because I regard this remarkable step forward not as a political thing, but as a victory for kindness and tolerance and dignity and indeed civilization.

Four years ago, when it became legal in Illinois, I had the honor of participating in the ceremony of civil union between my great friend and his long-time partner. My wife, our kids, and a small group of their friends and family assembled at the courthouse on a nice day in July. It was a lovely day, and it was a lovely and dignified event. As they offered their vows, their little boy stood with them. They exchanged rings and said the words that we all know by heart and we signed papers signifying our witness to the event.

And then we went home and they went home and began the commonplace work and extraordinary joy of married life together. They have built a wonderful life in the intervening years, making a home, raising two bright and outgoing boys, advancing their careers, struggling through some serious medical issues, and doing all of those things which my wife and I have done and which all married couples who stay together must do.

And I remember thinking as we drove home from the courthouse that day that I could not understand how anyone could object to the thing we had all just been a part of. I, who want to think the best of people and their motivations, decided that anyone who objected to this ceremony simply did not understand it. Any kind and thoughtful and, yes, Christian person could not oppose this wonderful thing except through ignorance of it.

We all fear the unknown. We all are apprehensive about things which seem foreign to us. But I am here to tell you, as someone who has seen and participated in this joyful event, that gay marriage is not scary. It is not weird or foreign or disrespectful. It is the most normal thing in the world to want to build a life with the person you love.

This is a fundamentally good thing. It is good for families and it is good for children and it is good for our society. It is fair and right to afford the same opportunity for joy (or misery, as a divorced friend reminds me) to gay couples that the rest of us take for granted. And it is, I think, another step in the long march of civilization. It demonstrates that we continue to create a kind and humane society in the United States where dignity is respected and diversity is honored.

To all who are afraid of gay marriage I tell you that the earth will not fall out of its orbit because of this. The economy will not crash and our republic will not be brought to its knees. What will happen is that there will be more happiness in the world and more dignity and more understanding. And, wonderfully, there will be one more group of our friends and neighbors who can move from the category “them” into the category “us.” To me, that is what the United States is supposed to be.

Dustin Joy

4 Replies to “A Step Forward”

  1. Amen Dustin I agree with you. And also with what your Dad had to say. I look for new entries from you everyday and enjoy all.

    1. Thanks Judi for your nice comment and for continuing to read my blog. I hope you are getting ready for our Canada trip. I know I am!

  2. Dustin, you really captured the spirit of this issue; well done. In 1964, Bob Dylan wrote and recorded a particularly prophetic song which in part says:

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside
    And it is ragin’
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    1. Thank you, Bill. I love that old Dylan stuff. He knew how to express the experience of his times in just a few perfectly chosen lines. This is serious stuff, of course, but I like to think there is a need for humor everywhere. My first thought when I read your comment was “boy, that’s a great old Dylan tune I hadn’t thought about in awhile.” Then I thought, “you know, I wonder who first heard Dylan at a coffeehouse or something and thought, yeah, that guy has a really great voice he should be a singer.” I always thought that about Neil Young, too (who I also like).
      On the lighter side, again, check out a video made by a couple of animators on a website called Jib-Jab.com. It is a video about the 2008 presidential campaign called “Time for some campaignin'” and uses Dylan’s tune as a foundation for a great parody. Thanks again for reading my blog and for your nice comments.

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