LoveWinsWhat a week it has been. Marriage Equality is now the law of the land! Trust me, this is a BIG deal when you have experienced the desire to take that oath of commitment with someone you love and have been denied. To see other family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers.., hell, even strangers celebrate the magic of their relationship; yet be denied that same joy. This is a BIG deal for a lot of us!

And yet, there is another side to this story. There are also many people, some who are reading this, that aren’t celebrating this decision. Some who know and even love me or other gay people, who are trying to reconcile this against religious or cultural teachings and beliefs that they have held for a long time. For others, they are so opposed to it, they feel as if they have been hit in the gut.

Life will never be the same for any of us again. And the impact and adjustments will play out over time. Much as they have for other significant human rights and social changes. This is the beginning of a new chapter.

For me, I typed the hashtag #LoveWins so many times the last couple of days, that it became a mantra. I was celebrating. Feeling recognized. Feeling equal in the eyes of the law. Probably even gloating over those who worked so tirelessly against this new law. Maybe even a little superior for being on the side that won. Yet the entire time, I also realized this came down to a difference of one person’s position. I also felt the relief of not being legally cast as a second class citizen in the eyes of the law, and the awareness of how close this was.

And what if I had been on the losing side? What if my religious or cultural beliefs were challenged and invalidated? How would that affect me? What if Marriage Equality had failed? I would be crushed!

#LoveWins. I will always feel this way about this movement and this ruling. And yet I don’t want to carry this mantra around as tool or weapon of separation. I am not even sure if I realized it, until I had typed it for the umpteenth time; this is meant to bring us together, not create deeper differences or concrete barriers.

In the long run, I believe it will bring more LOVE, HOPE and JOY to the planet, because we are one step closer to equality for all. At the same time, I want to honor that these kinds of shifts in social and societal norms take time. I want to dance and celebrate with abandon with any and all who are aligned with me. AND, I want to acknowledge that there are others who feel different than I do.

I went to a community meeting last night where the focus was establishing a Small Business Coalition. There are many changes happening in this area of Phoenix and the majority of them seem positive for this community. Yet there are those who are concerned and who are raising their voice in opposition.

What I noticed as I sat there was how quickly the “other side” gets vilified. How our words and the tone of our voices take on an adversarial quality so easily. That it is easy to slip into and promote separation. Where “they” become the bad guys! It was also easy to see how comfortable it can be, to be part of the majority. All I could think of was the hashtag I had been typing for the past couple of days. #LoveWins.

Instead of promoting separation; instead of taking sides; instead of all or nothing – is there a way to build bridges instead? We may never end up agreeing, but we could at least adjust to our difference through mutual understanding of our thoughts and feelings. And isn’t it on the side of the majority to extend the olive branch or attempt to create the first version of a bridge?

And by the way… We, the victors of Marriage Equality, are now in the position of the majority, and as such, should probably offer space and compassion for those who were opposed, to find their way to adjusting to this change. Not by taking or accepting insults or inflammatory rhetoric..,  (ignore the Haters.., they’re just gonna hate!) but by meeting those who truly want to understand halfway and being able to hear their issues and concerns.   That is really what we wanted for all those years we were fighting for this beautiful right that is now a reality!

For me, I want to remember and believe #LoveWins

With Light, Love, and Laughter
Charles

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