Resident rejoices over Supreme Court ruling
The ink was not dry on the pages of the Supreme Court opinion before I dashed downstairs and shouted to my partner, “Will you marry me?” Actually, we ask each other that question with regularity – in moments of joy or fear or serenity or forgiveness.
“Will you marry me and share this moment, this experience, this feeling forever?” The answer is always, “yes!” It has been our touchstone of commitment to each other during the past 17 years.
Having moved to Grass Valley from the Bay Area three years ago, I worried what the community response might be to the court’s decision on same-sex marriage. Though there is plenty of expected opposition, I take comfort that with a couple of obvious exceptions, the letters to the editor have been temperate, and the cartoon of the two Statues of Liberty linking Massachusetts and California was positively exhilarating.
Some, I know, have been too polite or simply reluctant to express their anger or fear that the decision undermines “traditional” marriage. Yet consider the long list of things that could threaten a marriage. Gay marriage doesn’t even make the top 100.
Let’s start with divorce. Big problem. Then there’s serial marriage, infidelity, and a long list of Hollywood stars who marry for a day, a month, a year.
There are health issues that sap resolve and economic downturns that rock foundations. Drug addiction, alcoholism and abuse impair the individual and all those around. Immaturity is the quicksand of relationships. Blaming others, rather than introspection of self, obscures our vision. The list of human frailties that undermine marriage is endless. How depressing is that?
I do not join those who say that heterosexuals have made a hash of marriage. There is no doubt in my mind that my gay brothers and sisters will be equally adept at making a hash of it. But, that misses the point, doesn’t it? If that were the point who, straight or gay, would even bother to try to make a go of it? It is, as we are told, hard work.
Marriage is about hope that our dreams will come true when someone we love shares those dreams and wants to join us in reaching them. Marriage is about having someone there who will support us in the face of all the obstacles that fall across our path. Marriage is about the calm ally who can provide respite when our children push us to our limits.
Marriage is the hand reaching out when we are lost, the voice of encouragement when we stumble, the heart beating closer when we are afraid. Marriage is the gift of faith that we, individually and together, can grow in spirit and in love. What a wonderful, joyful notion that while we are far from perfect, we can improve, and someone loves us enough to believe it can happen, to help make it happen. Marriage is about gratitude for that gift.
The point of marriage is the journey, the daily effort to provide hope and support and encouragement and faith and to receive the same in return. As individuals, as couples, as families and as communities we all fare so much better and become so much more complete when we link hands and say, “yes!”
Beverly Lyon was a family law attorney before specializing in estate planning. Now retired, she writes and lives with her partner, Lynn, in Grass Valley.
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