I believe that… Love is for everyone- no exceptions.
My home state, North Carolina, just voted yesterday to add an amendment to our state constitution that says “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.” The last constitutional amendment here was in 1875 and it prohibited marriages like mine, between people of different races. I'm grateful that it has since been repealed, but it makes me think of how I would feel if it hadn't. How I'd feel if my state told me I couldn't marry the person I love. Love has been on my mind all week and now that it has passed, it is even more on my mind. I believe, deep in my heart, that ALL people deserve to be loved. Not just by their families and significant others, but by their community. I believe that we should all be showing love to others by respecting their rights and love to ourselves by not choosing hate. And I believe that if you fall in love with someone and choose to share your life with them, our state should not tell you that you cannot.
Many in this state would say that this amendment doesn’t limit love, just the ability to marry, but they are wrong. Many rights that you might assume are automatic in a relationship are not if you’re not married. If your partner is in the hospital in Intensive Care, only family members are allowed to visit. If you are not married and their family doesn’t agree with your relationship, they can order the hospital not to allow you in and you have no way to change it. Your life-long partner might be on their deathbed and you would not be able to hold their hand and say goodbye. If your home is in your partner’s name and they have not yet made a will, you could lose it if something happens to them, even if you’ve equally paid the bills. If your partner is not a citizen, you cannot get them immigration rights unless you’re married, so you might have to live on different continents. (I know TOO MUCH about immigration, because my husband is an immigrant and it took us 21 months to get him here.) Many other simple aspects of a life shared are denied to a couple when marriage is denied.
I am sad that there is hatred and bigotry limiting the rights of so many beautiful, committed, loving couples. But I’m also happy to see the love that is swelling up behind this issue as well. In my own family, I’ve gained a new connection with my cousins who are vocally opposed to this amendment. I have a cousin who is a woman, married to another woman, raising a beautiful daughter. She lives in another country where her rights are better protected, but her sisters still live here and they rallied around her with love and support. That’s not the way society was when we were growing up, but love is moving people, changing opinions, and expanding horizons. I’m watching all kinds of people stand up and speak out in ways I never expected. And the power of love is amazing me more and more, day after day. Love overcame Apartheid, it led Martin Luther King, Jr. to march, and it carried Gandhi to start a revolution. One day, it will carry us past this amendment as well.
I do believe in Love.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
The wonderful Amy Palko has started a Beautiful Beliefs series and I'm thrilled to participate! To play along or read the other posts, check out this link. If you're interested in learning more about me and my work, check out this post.