I certainly wasn't surprised at the SCOTUS ruling last week, and I also don't believe that every governmental act needs to align with my own personal values. That's one of the things that makes this free country so beautiful, that we are free to think differently.
But that's also what concerns me most about the Supreme Court decision. I'm not worried about same-sex marriage, but I am worried about how I will be able to express my own personal dissent in future. I'm worried about how schools will teach my children about this moment in history. On Friday my social media feeds were flooded with celebration--which I do not object at all--but it also contained noticeable doses of snark, gloating, and derision toward those who disagree with the principles at hand.
I've written before about my feelings regarding sexuality and marriage (see here and here). While I cringe over the tactless and unkind expression of my stance from my adolescence, I have spent the entirety of my adulthood seeking to find a balance between defending values and doctrines that are important to me and still treating everyone with kindness and compassion.
My opposition to same-sex marriage does not stem from hate or bigotry; rather I understand gender, sexuality, and marriage differently. I don't expect others to share that view, and that's why I'm not sulking about or bemoaning last week's historic court ruling. I understand that we all come from different places and that I can't expect people to see things the same way I see them.
So when I see posts and links that ridicule my sacred books, marginalize the opposing side, and throw around accusations of bigotry, I hurt. I hurt because I know how hard I've worked to find balance and kindness and understanding. I know how much I've thought about why I see matters differently and how much I've strived to cultivate empathy in my heart for those with whom I disagree. And I also know that not once has anyone come to me to ask how I see things, how I understand these essential tenets of personhood and love.
Because I do have a differing approach, one rooted in doctrines of my faith that, if discussed, could at least give explanation to an opinion that's too often labeled hateful. If I ever express my views to someone on the "other side" it's because I volunteer them in a medium like this one, not because any individual actually sought out a discussion of understanding. Perhaps liberal tolerance isn't always as far reaching as the media would have us think.
I don't want to argue or debate--I want only mutual understanding and respect. For those of you celebrating this ruling, I encourage you to celebrate because that's your right. We all should feel comfortable to rejoice when values close to our heart are validated, especially when it happens in such an official and public way. But please don't be a sore winner. I have to believe that mutual kindness and respect really are possible in an environment wherein disagreement is inherent. I have to believe that this country can continue to afford me the freedom and safety to think differently. I have to believe that even with all that makes us different from one another, that there's a world in which we could all shout from the rooftops that love wins.