So I haven’t lived in the US for about 16 years now, but today’s majority decision from the US Supreme Court that recognised marriage equality in all 50 states still has great meaning to me. It has meaning to me not only because it means that I don’t have to worry about residency if, as a member of the LGBT community, I were to get married and return to the US (I could live where I please and where the opportunities are best). Rather, it has significance because it affirmed something that I intrinsically knew and which was reinforced by my family: love is love.
I grew up in a diverse household as a child of an inter-racial couple. And to them, love was love. Growing up in that household, I had no reason to believe anything else. One loved whom they loved regardless of whether their skin color was light or dark, whether their hair was straight or curly, whether their noses were slim or broad. Love wasn’t about external outward appearances, but about the inner connection two people felt towards each other. Perhaps in hindsight, I realise now that I had the fortune to have that principle as my guidepost. That in my most formative years, love was blind to such things as race.
As I grew up and I started to hear perspectives of the world around me, I learned that there were points of view held by some people which believed that some kinds of love were inferior, somehow wrong, to be seen as breaking with years of established tradition regarding marriage so as to be somehow invalid. That some of the relationships I had seen over course of my life were viewed so negatively by others was beyond my desire or need to understand. Because at the end of the day, I always carried with me an understanding that love is love.
So to look at my diverse family today – in terms of race, sexuality, and gender identity – I can’t help but wonder why some people just don’t get that love is love? Why is it so hard to think that many in the LGBT community would choose to express their commitment to their love through forming a lifelong bond with each other vis a vis marriage? And as long as they show commitment and dedication to their love, who are any of us individually to deny them that right and that privilege? To deprive LGBT couples their of dignity, humanity, and the benefits that come with pledging themselves to lifelong companionship and commitment? To believe that what is enjoyed by a majority shouldn’t be available equally to all?
When I think back to my parents and what they would have had to endure as an inter-racial couple, I have only admiration that they loved openly and followed their hearts because they must have known what some of us only now understand – love is love. In my lifetime I can envision a future where my nieces and nephews can be their authentic selves, however that manifests itself, and know a fundamental truth should they end up finding that one person whom they want to spend the rest of their lives with in matrimony – love is love.
When I think about love, and what it means, I come back to this quote by Thomas A Kempis:
“Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility; for it thinks all things lawful for itself, and all things possible.”
The majority opinion of the U.S. Supreme courts affirms what we have known throughout our enlightened humanity: love is love. And in affirming this fundamental truth, the US joins a growing chorus of nations, and in doing so goes surging forward towards a more perfect union. Today, it was so ordered.