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As Sacred As Ever

Introduction

Are some of you a little sick of all of the marriage stuff? Of all of the rainbow pictures? I can understand that. However, I also can understand what it might have felt like if I had been told for most of my life that the sex of the people I fall in love with was not worthy of protection under the law. It would have made me different, I believe – less sure of myself, I think. I would have had a hard time planning my life if I had met the person I wanted to marry but could not legally marry in the state in which I lived. It would have bothered me and made me wonder if, who I was, inherently, was wrong.

Since I am a woman who loves my man, I never had to feel all of those things. Now, all I get to think about is how my marriage feels after the right to marry has been extended to all people who love.

I hesitate to post because of the overkill of articles on this right now, and because it really offends some people that I don’t find everyone’s right to marry offensive. I appreciate that not everyone agrees; I truly appreciated Chief Justice Robert’s thoughtful dissent, even if I agreed with the Majority’s finding. But, the religious viewpoint that disagrees with the right to marry fails logically for me in our land. And I’d like to discuss that and look at what my marriage feels like now.

So here we go….

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This just in: It appears that absolutely, positively nothing has changed in my marriage with my husband since the Supreme Court announced its ruling. Our marriage is still sacred to us, it is still intact for us, and it is still bound by love and respect for one another in our faith and in our country’s laws.

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I still cannot sleep if he is breathing too close to my face and I still like to warm my cold feet on his shins, so EVERYTHING IS THE SAME over here. Except one thing: Our friends can get married if they so choose. And I’m really praying for some of them who now have the right to marry: I hope you don’t rush out and get married now, like I have seen so many hetero couples do, without foresight; that doesn’t usually end well. But, you know, now you get to be stupid just like all of the hetero people who have stupidly entered into marriages for so very long. Stupid can no longer discriminate.

I see a lot of religious people bothered by the Supreme Court’s decision. I have seen their disagreement come from their interpretation of the Bible and of their belief of their God’s desire for what a marriage should look like. Rather than argue religious beliefs, I’ve chosen to focus on the fact that THERE IS A SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE on which this country was founded. So, it’s simple to me because even if my religion were to tell me that marriage between two loving humans were wrong, it wouldn’t make me argue that my religion should trump your religion, whatever that may be. Because no one’s (and no one) religious faith should write our country’s laws.

We started as a country of outlaws, rebels, and shitstarters. You know that, right? They wanted freedom from the crown, which included freedom in faith, which is good because my faith isn’t what everyone was doing when the Pilgrims got off the boat. I’m Catholic and no one was making their First Holy Communion on Plymouth Rock, so I am lucky that everyone was allowed to practice whatever they believed (well, kind of… because if someone decided you were a witch, that was the end of you. History is crazy.)

Anyways, we are also lucky in how our founders wrote, and how our courts have interpreted, our laws throughout the years, so that no one faith alone has determined anyone’s rights. This is a good thing for some of you because my faith thinks that your God would want you to talk less – and, what if I wrote that into law? Also, there are countries where faith and religion alone are used to make laws and I would not want to live there (and most of us would not want to live there) for even a tiny second (Hello Iran and sharia law! I’m just pointing out that you exist and that I wouldn’t do very well with you… Please don’t get mad at me and stone me to death).

Faith is, by definition, the opposite of certainty; it is a belief, not a surety. No matter how “right” you believe yours is, someone else will believe that theirs is more right, or “righter,” as my kids like to say when they are arguing who is least at fault when fighting with one another, and which sounds just as dumb as some of the people who are using their religious views to condemn this Court’s decision. If you can logically and legally discuss why you find this case to be wrongly decided, as Chief Justice Roberts did in his dissent, I can appreciate your viewpoint regardless of whether I agree or disagree because it is thoughtful and not determined on whether your religion is righter. Your religion, my religion, NO RELIGION makes the laws of our land, and, phewf, because I’ve heard some idiotic religious leaders in my time, from those in my own faith and from those in ALL of the other faiths. It seems that no faith is immune to idiots; of that, I am certain.

All who are here are welcome here; that, whether we want to believe it or not, is – conceptually, at least – how we started. All who came were welcome to practice whatever religion or spirituality they found fit for them. And their religious beliefs and my religious beliefs should not determine anyone’s human rights.

My marriage is no different, no less (maybe more) because any single person can marry any other single person now. We are still stealing the covers while sleeping, leaving dirty clothes 12 inches from the laundry basket, and putting cold feet on each other. Oh, and now everyone can, if they so choose. And they get all of those little (huge) benefits, too, like insurance benefits, and the right to be with their spouse during their spouse’s final moments and to be considered a surviving spouse when their husband or wife dies. My marriage and commitment affords me that federal right and now it affords everyone that right should they choose to commit in marriage.

If you commit, you’re in. For all of it. My husband is outside cutting the grass while my kids run in the sprinkler with their friends. I’ve just finished baking brownies. It’s a beautiful life, most days.

But, not all days. Some days I like to imagine being a single cat lady (well, except for the cats because I’m not a cat person) reading books all day and watching The Bachelorette without any passer-by making commentary. But that’s only some days. Most days, I like that I have a pal, a friend, a lover, a partner, a teammate, and – when it really matters – a spouse that is recognized by the laws everywhere in this land so that I don’t have to fight with anyone who might think differently because of their religion. I have choices because of that protection; I have always had choices because of that protection. I feel safe in our relationship because of that protection, and I keep going because I believe in the idea of our marriage, in us – the same way any other human who loves any other human now can.

We laugh a lot. We do all of this spouse-y stuff within the sanctity of our marriage, which is no less sacred than it was a few days ago and which all can enjoy if they believe that making this commitment is worth it. If you find the right person – whoever that may be – it SO is. The great majority of the time.

We are on our way to church this morning, a church where some may find my support of everyone’s right to marry blasphemous, even though they have taken part in other actions that our church has decried as bad: IVF, divorce, premarital sex. I hope that in so many churches today people really think about the core of their faith – not of the rules of their faith, but of their faith’s strongest tenet, which, amongst nearly all faiths, is the same: Loving Kindness. I hope people remember that often within their very own religious faith they pick and choose with what to agree. Anyone who is older than two years old with arms that work properly who is still being spoon-fed anything should hold the spoon for themselves now, or put it down if it doesn’t taste good, if it doesn’t feel right, if it doesn’t feel like acceptance and kindness and love.

We progress. We, hopefully, progress towards love and the pursuit of human rights for all under the law of our land in whatever version of church we find ourselves. So help us all.

9 Comments
  • Aly
    Reply

    You articulated perfectly my thoughts about this. Thank you for your words!

    June 28, 2015 at 3:14 pm
  • Diana Schober
    Reply

    So well written ~ Thank you Annie!

    June 28, 2015 at 3:28 pm
  • A wonderful essay on this topic. Thank you for sharing your insights and gently reminding everyone that marriage is, well, marriage. Mine is still the same as it was last week, but my takeaway was how my kid just said “What’s the big deal? If people love each other, shouldn’t they be able to get married?” And that was the kicker for me. Our kids already have so much love and tolerance bubbling up inside of them. It’s refreshing and leaves me hopeful for our future.

    July 1, 2015 at 2:26 pm
  • Heather Henricks
    Reply

    These are the best words I’ve read on the subject. Thankful.

    July 2, 2015 at 6:27 am
  • Emily Painter
    Reply

    Annie,
    I don’t know how I missed this before, but it is so beautiful. You weave such lovely words. I found myself smiling, laughing, and nodding in agreement as I read (as usual when I am reading your pieces). “Loving Kindness,” and the “shitstarters” that founded our country… brilliant. Thank you for this. :)

    July 16, 2015 at 7:53 pm

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