I am not exactly sure that I can explain how it felt to be at the capitol in St. Paul, MN on the day Minnesota legislators cleared the final hurdle and the senators voted to legalize same-sex marriage. What many pictures will show is the jubilation, the profound joy, the overwhelming happiness of a dream come true. How that manifested itself on people's faces is something that I will tuck away inside my heart and carry around forever.
In front of me and next to me were two male same-sex couples. Each was holding hands. Each was focused on the tally board and as the final vote flashed in front of us, they took the time to hug and kiss before the whooping set in. I then meandered out, drawn by a joyous chorus of those planted in the rotunda and on my way toward them, tucked into the nooks and crannies of a building designed for this sort of democracy, I saw many couples stealing private moments. Most were simply looking at each other with tears streaming down their faces and many were whispering. What I heard most often was, "We count. We matter. Our love is real."
Oh yes it is.
Because I am who I am, I can't ever quite shake those who disagree. The opposition had free reign of the capitol as well, though they were clearly in the minority. But I was drawn to these people, dour and resolute in their definition of what love should look like, carrying pink and blue signs proclaiming the need for one man and one woman to make a whole family. I wanted to crawl inside their heads and whisper, "Do you see this? Do you see how one small thing just changed many lives? Do you know that your life is not going to change? Do you understand that you get to continue to pray the same way you always have? Do you understand the God you love and worship will remain the same to you? Do you know your temporary sadness is a small price to pay for a whole new way of living for the multitudes who have lived their lives as less than? Your life could change, too, if you let it. You could let this joy penetrate the walls of your heart and cast off the fears you cling to. I'd say it's at least worth a shot."
But I don't because that day for so many was not about those who were clinging to what was or what should be according to firmly held religious doctrine. That day and the rest to come are about what is.
And let me tell you, it is simply wonderful here in Minnesota.