It has finally happened. Wedding bells will chime, brides will kiss brides, grooms will kiss grooms, rainbows will light the skies of all fifty states, and all will live happily ever after.
If it could only be so easy.
Beyond the rainbow-filtered Facebook photos, it was nearly impossible for me to find messages from people who were against the Supreme Court's decision. Maybe I don't attract those kinds of Facebook friends, or perhaps they defriended me long ago. That said, I did find one -- a horribly attractive former crush from the college days. He was one of those people who changed his Facebook profile photo to an image of male and female stick figures holding hands back when everyone was posting equality signs. (Or maybe he was posting a transgender couple? I should ask.)
At the time I remember having a mental debate as to whether or not I should defriended him, the supreme act of virtual empowerment. Ultimately I decided against it. Just because we disagreed on a critical issue that affects the very fabric of our society didn't mean we couldn't be Facebook friends. Maybe he had valid points and could coax me to his side of the camp, inspiring me to wave flags about the threat of polygamy and how all children deserve mommies and daddies. Yes, instead of pretending like he didn't exist, I would give him the chance to change me! And if that didn't work out, I could still Facebook stalk his sexy self to my heart's content.
Over time, I started feeling bad for the guy. With the sweeping advances toward equality and justice around the United States and world, the criticisms against his posts mounted and his fan support weaned. His friend count also dwindled, as several of our classmates decided that they no longer wanted to read his messages on their newsfeeds. I almost offered some pity likes to his anti-gay posts just to give him some pep. But again I resisted, as the best Facebook stalkers among us have learned to do.
In his most recent post, he included a link to a blog by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, poetically entitled "A Time for Tears." In addition to Dr. Lutzer's masterful use of alliteration, he provides some insightful comments on friendship and love:
Of course, both individually and as a church, we extend our love to the LGBT community, and offer them the forgiveness and reconciliation that Jesus came to provide. We will be their friends, and we will let them know that we care about them, as we are all equally created in God's image. But we refuse to accept the dictum, "If you love me, you must accept my lifestyle."
While I appreciate Dr. Lutzer's sincerity, I have a basic idea about love that doesn't include rejecting fundamental aspects of other people's lifestyles. I'm sure we can all think back to a time when we weren't accepting of someone or something we supposedly loved. When I was little, I was furious that my dog preferred sleeping at night with my mother instead of me, and try as I did to change its mind by luring it with treats or lathering my skin with canned ham, I couldn't alter its preferences. I had to accept it as it was, until it died and I could try again with another dog.
I hope that most of us have learned that this kind of non-acceptance is the antithesis to love. It is an attempt to assert power by thinking that we can forcibly change someone or make his or her preferences invisible to suit our needs. This ego-centered behavior might even be worse than something as simple and direct as hatred. So, Dr. Lutzer, while I understand your concerns, I don't think that your love for the LGBT community can truly be called love. That is not the kind of love that LGBT people want in their relationships (unless someone from the masses says otherwise), nor is it the kind of love that inspired us to fight against all odds for a right that has been historically allocated to a socially privileged sector of the population. And the friendship you offer, sadly, is likely not needed either, though if I ever marry I will be sure to send you an invitation.
I have been pleasantly shocked by how quickly people have managed to shift their stances on sexual diversity. The fact that the "sexually monotone" are beginning to celebrate sexual diversity in its varying shades is an evolutionary milestone, transcending tolerance, respect, and tacit acceptance. It wasn't that long ago that this issue was made totally invisible in politics, with LGBT people placed in unacknowledged parentheses by Republicans and Democrats alike. The tide has turned quickly, thanks to social media, outspoken celebrities, activists, and allies who have come out of their closets in support of their LGBT friends and family members. (A debt of gratitude is owed to these people in the form of wedding invites, and gay people always pay their debts...)
Same-sex marriage is one right among many that LGBT individuals have not been able to enjoy for nearly all of human history. What happened on June 26, 2015 in the United States was a very long time coming for a nation that prides itself on liberty and justice for all. But it also comes with the lingering challenges of social stigma, hate, and persecution that are even more difficult to eradicate than discriminatory laws.
To Justices Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas -- I am thankful that your names will be forever etched on the wrong side of history as a thoughtful reminder of what we once were as a nation. To Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I either want to be or marry you. To those who were against the Supreme Court's decision, I admire the sheer scale of the centuries-long generational, religious, and cultural war you opted to join. But rest assured that the sexually diverse among us will no longer need to approach you for your acceptance of our lifestyles. That drab ship has finally sailed and sunk.