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Robyn Harper

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A Thought on Marriage Equality: Please Stand for Our National Anthem

Posted: 04/19/2012 12:41 pm

The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I looked around. I think it was the same for everyone. It got me thinking. A massive cheer erupted as it was drawing to a close. It broke my chain of thought. It was important, though. I knew I'd return to it. But at that moment, I was a patriot, and my country needed my support. I held my hand on my heart as I wished our sporting heroes well. They were in a foreign land, but they knew we were with them.

I wasn't at the game. I watched in a bar. It felt as though the whole country was watching it with me. When we compete internationally, we all compete together, the entire country. Everybody in that bar, everywhere I looked, we were brothers and sisters. We stood together, behind our team. Our common cause united us.

It's always the case when our country's finest talent takes the world stage. We're one big family. When they wear our colours, when they fly our flag, we the people are one. When our heroes bring home our Olympic medals or keep alive our hopes of one day bringing home that oh-so-coveted World Cup, they do it for us, as a nation. They compete on behalf of their country. We are the country. When our nation's leader stands before us to mark our triumphs and celebrate our victory, we bask in our glory as one. It's our victory. It belongs to us all. Can you feel it? Can you hear the crowd?

Half-time came. We were winning. I looked around the bar again, at my brothers and sisters, at my family. That's the way we were acting. You could feel the love.

Where then does the line blur, I ask? I learned long ago that our life pursuit is happiness. Is that not a common cause, too? Happiness for everyone. Doesn't everyone want that? The previous day I had attended a wedding. It was still on my mind. I had watched a loving union seal their marital bond with the law. It was beautiful. Love is beautiful. They looked well on their way in achieving their pursuit.

I ask again, where does the line blur? Because of tradition? It's unnecessary for me to remind you of traditions that no longer appeal to us. Quite frankly, it would be too embarrassing. In school our children will learn of one more.

The time has come. The time has come to stop believing in the status quo. The time has come to start believing in each other. We're all in this life together. We all walk the same soil. We all have the same heroes of history. We all rejoice at the sound of our newborn's cry. We all mourn for the death of our loved ones passed. We all want to share these times with the one we love. We must remember that only some of us have the right to declare that love with a protective salute from the law.

We unite as a people through patriotism. We divide our people through rights. We unite through our love of our country. We divide through our love of each other. Yet we all hold our hearts to the same anthem. We all march to the beat of the same drum. One flag, one people, one love, one marriage.

No favour is being asked of anyone, no special treatment. Equal treatment is what we ask. "We?" you ask. Yes we, we the people.

A change of marriage is not required. So precious, so celebrated, so sacred is the institution of marriage that we have long since chosen to guard it with our laws. We guard it because it matters. It always will. But the time has come to stop guarding the gates.

People are people. Love is love. Marriage is marriage. Is happiness the same for everyone? Perhaps not. But come the day when we all have the same starting point. An equal footing. No disadvantage in the form of the law.

We won that day. Victory was ours. We were proud of our heroes. We were proud of our country.

Please stand for our national anthem, you ask. We do. We stand united but then fall divided. When the law reflects equality, we can stand united once again. "We?" you ask. Yes we, we the people.

 

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