February 17, 2018
Inspire! Celebrating ALL Love
There was this Instagram post by Free-skier Gus Kenworthy and figure skater Adam Rippon, the first two openly gay men to represent the U.S. in the Olympics, posed for a picture at the opening ceremony. These men are breaking barriers and letting their position be known on an international stage while calling out the leader of the US delegation at the ceremony, Vice President Mike Pense: “The #OpeningCeremony is a wrap and the 2018 Winter Olympic Gaymes are officially under way! I feel incredibly honored to be here in Korea competing for the US and I'm so proud to be representing the LGBTQ community alongside this amazing guy! Eat your heart out, Pence. #TeamUSA #TeamUSGay"
On Tuesday Hallmark reminded us to celebrate our love.
And late that day, our hearts were broken when we learned of yet another tragic school shooting. Since then...
And we learned of the kind of courage love inspires in times of terror in order to protect others.
Love in all of its many forms is what gives our life meaning and substance. And so it is that we are here today to Celebrate ALL Love.
Just two years ago in the decision in United States v. Windsor, Supreme Court Justice Kennedy wrote, "For same-sex couples who wished to be married, the State acted to give their lawful conduct a lawful status ... worthy of dignity in the community equal with all other marriages.” He concluded that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which required the federal government to treat married same-sex couples as though they were not legally married, “(imposed) a disadvantage, a separate status, and a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States,” and therefore violated the Constitution.
To say that this was a profound decision is to grossly understate things!
Last month our topic was racism. And those of us who are white had the opportunity to really think about our white privilege. It seems like a good idea to return today to the concept of privilege.
In the United States, privilege is granted to people who have membership in one or more of these social identity groups:
• White people;
• Able-bodied people;
• Middle class people;
• Middle-aged people;
• English-speaking people
I live as a privileged human being in our society. I am privileged because I am straight and I am cis-gendered, meaning that I identify with the gender that my physical body presents. My heterosexual and cis-gender privilege started before I was even born.
As a heterosexual, I had the privilege of never having to justify my love for my partner. That love was never reduced to a sexual act or labeled sinful and unclean. I never had to “come out” to anyone. I never had to fight for my right to have the bakery of my choice create the wedding cake that would celebrate my commitment to the one I love.
In December, the Supreme Court heard almost 90 minutes of oral arguments in the case of the Colorado Gay Wedding Cake. The justices appear to be equally divided along ideological lines about the case. A ruling is expected by June 2018. David Mullins, who has brought this suit says, “This case has never been about cakes. It’s about the rights of gay people to receive equal service in businesses and not be afraid of being turned away because of who they are. It’s about basic access to public life.”
Whatever their final decision, it will have a real and lasting impact on millions of people. And that importance cannot be overstated. This fight has been going on since the 1960s. Despite the extraordinary progress that has been made, this case is a grim reminder that any real progress will continue to be challenged by those who seek to dictate love and to determine which couples are deserving of fair and equal treatment under the law, and which aren’t.
And any time love is stifled, subdued, or silenced-we suffer for it. I just returned from Kenya, where I had the great honor of meeting and visiting with MamaSarah – President Barack Obama’s grandmother. When asked what advice she had for us, her words were simple and straight forward: Love one another. It shouldn’t be that hard to do. To love one another and to celebrate the love we have for each other wherever it’s found.