Gay marriage ruling: An invitation to compassion

The winds of change are blowing. The ruling from the (supremely divided) Supreme Court frees the rest of the population who happen to be gay and happen to be in love to go ahead and get married if they’d like.

It’s a bad time for doom-sayers who predict the ruin of the country – collapsing morals, etc. – that this ruling will bring. It is not doom that this ruling has ushered in so far, but a fresh breeze of freedom that we can all take a whiff of.

It has also unmasked those who want their own particular views to handcuff the rest of us. Don’t approve of homosexuality and therefore want to require that everyone else comply? Sorry, this is not that country. This is the one that allows all of us to hold our views dear without trampling on others’. Even when it is uncomfortable. Even when we have to stretch for the compassion that allows us to be okay with it.

I’ve attended two gay pride parades – one in San Francisco and one in Chicago – and both times there was a moment that trumped all the others, and it wasn’t the naked bicyclist weaving his way through the crowd, flying his freak flag. It was the large group of relatives and friends walking under the PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) banner. It wasn’t the smiles on their faces, it was the reaction of the crowd as they passed by – cheers, whoops, glistening eyes.

It was easy to imagine that some of them had traveled a very short distance to that banner – this is my child and of course I love and support him. And that for others, it was a long and arduous road through old views and prohibitions they were raised on to reach the parade that day. It’s a journey that this ruling invites others to take.

The sky hasn’t fallen, not yet. In fact the opposite happened – the ruling brought out celebration and compassion from many corners. I’ve never seen so many rainbows. Never was a tipping point so vividly revealed.

It seems a good time to haul out a guiding principle of my life, something they taught us in Sunday School:

He drew a circle that shut me out-

Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.

But love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle and took him In !


From the poem ” Outwitted” by Edwin Markham


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