It has been a year since the white smoke poured forth from the chimney erected atop the Sistine Chapel signaling the election of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis. Pope Francis, with his "Who am I to judge?" has opened the door.
The love between partners who love like this is not to be hidden or denied, as some who pray would claim. Rather, such love is the fulfillment of divine promise and thus is to be celebrated as a love through which all on Earth may bless themselves.
I must admit that when Paul and I returned to North Carolina for a high school reunion, I was worried about what I would call him. "Spouse" seemed too clinical. "Hubby" was too cutesy. And while he is my "life partner," why should I change what I call him for others?
To be sure, Popes do not change doctrine in off-the-cuff airplane interviews. The Catechism remains today as it was yesterday -- equal parts condemnation and conciliation. But something has changed, decisively so. And that is tone.
"Few of us marry as our hearts guide," spoke Queen Anne Boleyn in the 1969 film Anne of the Thousand Days. I don't know if the real 16th-century queen said those words, but the notion of marrying for love is fairly recent in historical terms, and even the notion of love itself has changed.
Other than that gay and lesbian partners are of the same sex -- and that among male couples in particular there are a few variations in monogamy -- same-sex relationships looked pretty much like the opposite-sex version.
The Vatican has been happy to let us know how serious they are about security, anxious to tell the world they can indeed keep a secret. But no cardinal is fooled by the slamming door; they all know they cannot keep the world out.
What started out as one short film about a 54-year love story between two men became a series of 10-minute documentary portraits telling six diverse stories of LGBTQ love -- love that's missing from the landscape of stereotypes, comic relief and victims.
It was 1979, and I'm not even sure I knew that a "straight" woman could fall in love with another woman. I thought I was the only married woman facing this kind of awakening. I was falling in love with a woman, but I didn't feel like a lesbian.
I realized that if I wanted more playfulness in my relationship, then I was going to have to do something about it. But how do you initiate fun without coming across as desperate? And what if my lame attempt at playfulness yielded rejection from my husband?
Some folks understand marriage as the ultimate goal in relationships. However, that view obscures the possibility of other forms of relationships, like multiple-partner commitments, long-term unmarried relationships, sexual relationships, etc.
Some same-sex couples get married in states where it's legal and then move to states where it's not. What happens if they decide to divorce? What are the legal requirements, and how do they affect gay couples who find themselves in this situation? The legalities are complex.
New lovers spend hours planning minute details of the next rendezvous -- what to wear, where to go, what kind of ambience to create. So all that burst of sexual feeling that feels so spontaneous is really the result of intense, extended foreplay.