Today’s Supreme Court ruling in California doesn’t surprise me, but it certainly doesn’t make me happy. It’s not a measurement tool for how liberal or how conservative that state is. And it’s not the final say on gay marriage. It’s one step, of many many steps, along the path for equality for gays and lesbians.
I’m glad the 18,000 couples who were married in California during this window of opportunity will not receive a refund check for their marriage license, the way AdRi and I did several years back. Those 18,000 couples will be able to live married, protected lives in their state, while others will not. How is that fair and equal? And how is it, anyway, that civil rights have ever been an issue for voters to vote on?
Underneath it all? I choose to see beauty. This is one step. One setback. But there is beauty in the lives and love of 18,000 couples who now get to experience this on the west coast. For several months, once, AdRi and I experienced it. And while you may find it hard to believe, it was exhilarating.
The founding documents of our country made sure that all people were to be created equal, and that no rights were to be given to one part of the population and not to the other. At the core of our nation are truth, justice and equality. But somewhere along the way prejudice, religious banter and condemnation got in the way and covered it all up.
I was sitting in the train station in Seattle yesterday and I looked up.
The dropped ceiling tiles were removed along the edge of the ceiling, but beyond, the ceiling went much higher. Light shone in from windows in this secret space, and illuminated the breathtaking beautiful ceiling. The original ceiling. Somewhere along the way, someone had decided to cover up this beautiful art and make it ugly. I'm sure the voters of the time would have voted to cover it up too. But underneath it all, was beauty.
The train station is undergoing a renovation that will restore the ceiling to its original grandeur and that ugly dropped ceiling will be a thing of the past. It will be the same with Proposition 8 in California, and Proposition 36 in Oregon, and the many other hateful propositions that have filled our ballots with discrimination under the guise of “protecting marriage.”
The original premises our country were founded upon—including the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion—will ensure we gays and lesbians will be treated equally. Just not today. But don’t lose sight of what’s really there, beneath that ugly ceiling tile. It’s there.