What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Today we have a new Pope. Pope Francis I. It is encouraging and refreshing to see that the pontiff has taken a new name. The name itself is somewhat encouraging. St. Francis of Assisi was known as a humble servant of Christ. The order that now bears his name; the Franciscan Friars; are one of the most compassionate and often progressive that the Catholic Church has to offer. For those of us who were raised Catholic or are still practicing Catholics and who happen to be members of the LGBT community; the choice of a new Pope is awaited with bated breath. It is not that any of us expect a loud and welcoming endorsement of our relationships; but we hope that we will see a more compassion and tolerant pontiff. We seek a person that can begin to usher in new ways of approaching doctrine and dogma and who may, just may, be able to begin to build bridges toward a more inclusive and welcoming Catholic Church.
I am neither over-joyed nor dismayed by the cardinal’s selection of Pope Francis. Time will tell what this new leader has to offer the world. He will be burdened with financial realities, transition, conflicting and shifting ideals, and with the weight of his own conscience. I wish for him peace, strength and insight. The world is shifting and changing on social issues. One of the most prevalent and important issues on our social landscape is the rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people. For many it may not seem that important. For people like me, it is all important. The decisions made by our leaders are nothing short of life altering. In other countries the decisions are literally life and death.
Growing up I never thought about my emotions in terms of sexuality. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in my twenties and already a married mom that it even occurred to me that I could have a relationship with another woman. Strange, since I had many gay friends. For me, it has always been about love. I have never understood what it is about love that anyone can find offensive. To truly love another person and to be loved by others is the greatest gift any God; the cosmos themselves; can bestow upon us. Our physical relationships, the need to feel a deeper connection or closeness, is simply a way in which we can express and convey the depths of what we feel. It is a component of a relationship – not its definition.
Last January I married my wife in our Lutheran church. It was a profound experience. Not only because we were able to be legally married and married by our pastor in our church; but also because we were embraced by a love that enveloped us. Other than the birth of my son I can think of no other time when I felt so completely surrounded in love. The love of our families, our friends – the love of God. All were present. The sense of hopefulness and possibility, of connection and embrace was palpable – for everyone. It was not a lesbian wedding – it was not a same-gender marriage – it was just a wedding – a coming together of two people, two lives committed to be forever intertwined.
Some may ask why marriage equality is important. If you ask that question it is because you are able to take for granted what marriage constitutes both legally and spiritually. Families are not made by genders…… they are solidified in love. Love has EVERYTHING to do with it. Can we love one another as we are; with all of our diversity, with all of our flaws, with all of our uncertainty; can we just love?
As we install a new Pope and the Supreme Court considers marriage equality – I ask you to pause. Pause and realize that we are standing on a precipice. The path that we collectively take will impact countless lives and countless families. President Obama has made a stand. Queen Elizabeth has signaled a change. There is much to be encouraged by and there is still much work to do.
I believe that love is everything. It is what feeds us. It is was nourishes our souls. The love a parent, a child, a friend… the love of a partner. If we love and we cherish love wherever we find it – I am confident that many of the ills in our world will begin to heal.
You will find some great videos below that I think tell an interesting narrative; an important story. I encourage you to watch and to engage. Love is never wrong. Judgment and ridicule are the servants of ignorance and hatred. Love covers all things…..
A video from our Wedding
A Trailer for Edie and Thea… SEE IT
Do NOT miss this
A Moving Testimony from a former GOP Legislator in Minnesota