This is not a picture of me. And while the hair color looks somewhat like my mother’s, it is not a picture of her either. The young boys are not related to me. The woman of color in the background is not kin to me. The lady to the left in the ill-fitting suit does not share my blood. We did not bake a wedding cake. My family is not celebrating today. For most of the day, I have gone about my “business” enjoying the freedom of a calm day. I taught an exercise class this morning at 6 am. I packed lunches, made beds (not really but I should have) walked the dog, ate breakfast, and showered. I dropped my kids off in their classrooms and sat chatting with friends in the gymnasium. I videoed my kindergartener singing about her first year in school and welcoming the soon to be new students. My oldest daughter sat on my lap as we spotted friends across the room and on the stage. I stopped at a friend’s house to admire her poison ivy and empathize with her pain. I met a friend to watch professional tennis and eat lunch. All in all in the 9 hours I have been awake and interacting in the world have been enjoyable and fluffy. And I feel a bit guilty about it, particularly today. Yesterday, the state where I live, North Carolina got 15% of the registered population to vote. Of that minority, 60% voted to doubly re-define that marriage is between one man and one woman.Not sure what that does to divorcees or widows but I am sure that will be revealed somewhere down the road. I think if we look to Leviticus (which is frequently sited as the source of this type of “law”) I think the widows are banished and the divorcees stoned…to death I mean.
According to my math, the people who chose Amendment One are less than 1% of the people living in North Carolina. People simply did not show up. That is depressing. Isn’t 99% of life showing up? Alas, we are left with a disgraceful mess that -when grouped with the Wake County Public School board fiasco- has me embarrassed to live in this state. To be honest, it is what I thought about North Carolina before I moved here. It is what I thought before I made many, many friends here whom I love. Before I saw the beautiful beaches, cool mountains, or Redneck hockey (The Hurricanes). My experience has taught me even though there are low talkers here, what they have to say is often worth slowing down and listening intently enough to hear the stories. I have come to love hearing “ink pin” instead of “pen” because natives do not say Es and Is differently. I love the state I live in -but I am free to do that. People have welcomed me despite my northern pace and outspoken style. But I wonder if all that would go away if I were gay. I know many will defend their stance with biblical scripture or phrases like “I love the sinner, hate the sin” or “everyone is entitled to their opinion”. But I just don’t buy it. The only way I can explain how I feel is to use this analogy: “There is a new amendment on the books -all people 5’3″ and under are not allowed to marry.” That leaves me out of luck because I am the way God made me…short. But it doesn’t make me anything else. It does not make me love my children less or my partner more. It does not make me further from God or less necessary of Salvation. It does not make me a sinner. What does is not treating people -all people- as my equal. Like Amendment One does.
I wonder how many people who voted for Amendment One think they know a gay person. I believe it is a very dangerous practice to judge others based on one “fact” or characteristic about them. Many of my non-believing friends think religion is a crutch…and a corrupt one at that. But I don’t think they have spent a lot of time with church goers proving their hypothesis. I am fighting my own instinct to judge the people in this picture as naive bigots. If we have to be judged at all it should be by our actions. The ones that are mentioned in the Bible over and over and over again. Loving our neighbor as ourselves. Loving our God with all our heart. Won’t they know we are Christians by our love …like the song says?
I disagree with Amendment One for many reasons. The most important being the need for separation of church and state. But I am also tired of having my God put in a small box and having people hide their prejudices behind it.
I believe the only things which will matter in the end are how much we loved one another. And that is harder to do today because of Amendment One.