Let’s talk about something a bit more upbeat than special needs parenting for a change!
About two years ago, my younger sister decided to get married. She and her partner had been together for over a decade and with same-sex marriage becoming legal in more states, they decided it was about time. My uncle and his longtime partner decided to join in the fun and tie the knot too. In one of the more surreal moments of my life, my sister called to ask if I would become ordained and perform their wedding ceremony. Naturally, I said yes and, despite being an atheist and secular Buddhist, I am now also an ordained minister. I have since met several others of my “order”. Apparently, having a friend or family member officiate your wedding ceremony is a growing trend.
As happens, the busyness of life delayed the original wedding plans until late June of this year. Little did we know then what an important weekend it would turn out to be. On Friday, June 26th, just 24 hours before the vows were to be said, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. SCOTUS gave my family their blessing. In the now famous closing paragraph of the majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote,
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.
I had already decided on my opening words for the wedding ceremony prior to the SCOTUS decision. In hindsight, the thoughts I chose to express gained greater meaning as people across the country filled the streets carrying banners proclaiming “Love Wins!”
We’re here together as family and friends for only one reason – to celebrate love. Daily, the media is filled with examples of humanity at its worst; religious war, greed, discrimination, and hate crimes. What we are doing here today – this coming together to support two couples who love each other and choose to be together – this is the highest expression of human evolution. The capacity to love each other and to rejoice in that love without qualification, without placing limits – this is the best our species can be.
My sincerest wish is that love will continue to win. I hope that we will continue to break down the barriers to love imposed by greed, hatred, and delusion. Greed, that hoards the right to love and be loved and denies that right to others. Hatred, that proclaims that all who choose an alternative path are to be despised. Delusion, that can not see that we are all one, all the same, all dependent upon each other for life and happiness.
Embrace your capacity to love. Revel in your humanity. Rejoice for those around you who are now able to declare their love and commitment to each other and have that commitment recognized with “equal dignity in the eyes of the law”.
O love, O pure deep love, be here, be now — be all;
Worlds dissolve into your stainless endless radiance,
Frail living leaves burn with you brighter than cold stars.
Make me your servant, your breath, your core.~Rumi