Marriage Has Evolved and That's Okay

This morning, I woke up on my one-year anniversary and my husband was still asleep. I turned on my phone, opened Facebook, and was greeted by a riot of rainbow colors, celebration, and despair--all in one timeline. In fact, I would guess my timeline looks something like this:

Immediately, I felt a mixture of happiness and sorrow. Happiness for all of my friends in the LGBT community who have fought so hard for such a basic constitutional right. Sorrow that so many of my conservative friends still insist on being hateful themselves, or at the very least, hiding behind "liking" and "sharing" the hateful speech of others.

This case all came about because an Ohio man wanted to put his name on the death certificate of his legal spouse (they were married in Maryland) following the battle he lost to ALS in 2013. James Obergefell became a voice for same-sex couples who are married legally in one state and then discriminated against in another that bans gay marriage.

The main crux of the argument against gay marriage, aside from "The Bible says nuh-uh", seems to be that it goes against the 'traditional' definition of marriage. The funny thing about that is, marriage as an institution has inarguably evolved over the centuries. There is no solid 'traditional' definition that I think people would actually be happy with. You can say that the definition is 'between one man and one woman', but that's not all that the definition entails.

In biblical times, women were treated as property and were usually one of many if their husband was rich. Historically, women have been traded and married off to stop wars, to gain riches, to ease the burden of their father's households. In the 18th century, women weren't allowed to even own property if they were married, as demonstrated by this charming quote:

"By marriage, the very being or legal existence of a woman is suspended, or at least incorporated or consolidated into that of the husband, under whose wing, protection, or cover she performs everything." - William Blackstone

And let's not forget that until fifty years ago, it was illegal in many states in the USA for interracial marriages to exist (although casual interracial sex was legal...sound familiar?)

These, my dear friends, are just a few quotes defending the anti-miscegenation laws that were summarily repealed by the case of Loving v. Virginia in 1967:

"[These marriages] are forbidden as criminal. Why forbidden? Simply because natural instinct revolts at it as wrong."

"[This type of marriage] was scientifically unsound and would 'pollute' America."

"They cannot possibly have any progeny, and such a fact sufficiently justifies those laws which forbid the intermarriage."

I've taken the word "interracial" out because, wow, literally, you could insert "gay" instead of "interracial" into any of these and it would be today's arguments.

In 1967, those opposed to interracial marriages thought the world would come to an end after descending into Sodom and Gomorrah-type evil. Instead, wonder of wonders, life has gone on. Mixed-race couples have gotten married, stayed married, had beautiful children, been wonderful parents, and left healthy legacies for their families.

Racism is still alive and well, and there are still those who think that interracial marriage is morally wrong. Bob Jones University is quoted as saying "the whole plan of God as He has dealt with the races down through the ages indicates that interracial marriage is not best for man."

Tragic and disgusting as that is, it's not surprising either. There's a well-known inflammatory Christian blogger who wrote this morning that gay marriage still doesn't exist, no matter what the Supreme Court says (only read if you want to be angry).

I find that interesting. Christians are constantly arguing for the existence of someone that cannot be seen or scientifically proven. Isn't it a little unwise, then, to deny the existence of something that is taking place right in front of you just because you disagree with it morally?

It's stuff like this that makes Christians look like blind, backward fools, and that's what makes me sad. I know there are good people out there. I have plenty of them as friends on Facebook. People who believe that you can love God and also celebrate something like equal rights for all people under the Constitution.

Whoever you are, no matter what you believe, remember that #lovewins. Even if you disagree with the SCOTUS decision, be loving. You will never win people to your side by being hateful. Something may go against your beliefs, but that doesn't mean it has to be against the law. And that's the key point here. The definition of marriage has evolved and that's okay. Your religion may define marriage as between a man and a woman. But that doesn't mean the US Government has to follow suit.

When I rolled over this morning and put my hand on my husband's shoulder, I was glad that one year ago, I didn't have anyone telling me it was against the law to marry him. I probably would have done it anyway.

And for all of my homosexual friends out there, be prepared for some pressure to get married and settle down now. Let the meddling begin.