It’s a rare and glorious moment to witness a Supreme Court ruling that makes rights for some, the law of the land for everyone.
I wasn’t around when slavery and segregation ended or when women were given the vote. My rights as a citizen were fought for me and have been readily available, although gender equality still isn’t done.
I can hear my future grandchildren say as I once did about women and the vote, “You mean gay people couldn’t get married at one time? That’s just stupid.”
Today’s Supreme Court ruling was fast-tracked social justice (in contrast to other social change) and a sign I think, of our evolving consciousness as humans.
Believe it or not we’re getting closer to getting ourselves right, faster. This, despite the daily dousing of negative media images that distort our self-perception to one where humans are an innately decent well-intentioned species rather than merely a survival-based selfish creature DNA-designed to repeat the horrors of our past.
On the whole (not to dismiss the ugly realities of racism or extremists) I think we’re less threatened by the “other” seated next to us in schools, churches, government and business. We spend time with “other” in our day-to-day and it turns out, they’re not so unlike us.
They bleed. They breathe. They want safety, food, love, validation, prosperity and to smile.
As well, we’re increasingly becoming an ambiguous blend of “contradictions” which in turn breaks stereotypes and opens dialogue. The gay conservative Republican. The self-proclaimed feminist male from the South. The conservative in favor of immigration reform. The Democrat not convinced by man-made climate change. The pro Obamacare Republican in favor of upping the minimum wage and gun control. The Democrat against all three.
Brown skin, black or Asian. Atheists chatting with Hindus at my UU church. Muslims and Christians sharing coffee with surprising opinions that wander from expectation. Modern Family is our family or at the very least, our neighborhood or our town. We remain distinct individuals, one of a splendid kind, and we still align with our culture or gender or religion or race or sexual orientation because humans are tribal creatures who crave connection inside our homogeneous circles.
While extremists grow more paranoid with the “other,” and so more emboldened, the majority seems to accept we’re a mixed bag with increasingly a la carte views.
The rational among us know factionism keeps humans from our original design, to cooperate through kinship, rather than conquer through tribal warfare.
But for people afraid of losing their distinctive identity, not to worry.
Whites won’t disappear. Christians won’t fade. Families won’t disintegrate. Marriage won’t wither in favor of singledom. God won’t ever go out of fashion. Conservatives will remain. Liberals will stay.
I wasn’t old enough to consider the impact of birth control and reproductive rights that changed the lives of women whose trajectory was decided by one unplanned pregnancy after another. Even so, I never had to consider what it would mean not to control my own baby-making because my biology made the choice for me.
At 19 I learned I had a benign pituitary disorder that meant if I ever wanted to get pregnant I’d need fertility intervention. I’ve only had to consider reproductive rights for the future of my daughter and other women.
I’ve never had to fight for the vote, child labor laws, worker’s rights or marriage equality because my birthright and the work of others before me, did all the work.
And yet, the rights of “others” have always felt for me, like human rights. Without defending theirs how could I deserve mine?
Op-Ed: Our Weddings, Our Worth