Love Wins, As It Always Should

Faith leaders reflect on the historic SCOTUS decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

“God works for justice night and day. And when religious people refuse to be a part of that effort, God will find people elsewhere to help achieve that justice.  Now the church, synagogue and mosque get to decide whether or not to join God in that work. Love is love, and those who love, know God.”

Bishop Gene Robinson, first openly gay man elected bishop in the high church, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire; currently a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress


 

“As a Christian thinker, writer, speaker, former pastor and activist, and as a parent, colleague and friend of an amazing array of LGBT people, I am grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court on marriage equality. I am equally grateful for all the courageous people who have risked and sacrificed so much for so long to turn the tide against discrimination against our LGBT friends, neighbors and family members.

“The Supreme Court’s historic decision leaves an unfair and harmful era of discrimination behind, making it clear that ‘traditional marriage’ is a living tradition. Extending marriage equally to LGBT people is another step toward greater justice, generosity and human dignity in our world.”

— Brian McLaren, author, speaker, activist (brianmclaren.net)


 

“I was deeply touched by the Supreme Court’s decision supporting same-sex marriage, which will help ensure equality and that more children have the family security they need. As an attorney, I saw firsthand the meaning of family heartache when marriage inequality was the law. I won’t forget a lesbian couple who were splitting up. One of the women, the biological mother of their five-year-old daughter, took their child with her. My client, who had actually stayed home to care for the little girl since infancy, had no legal standing to maintain contact. This shattering separation of mother and child was traumatic.

“This Supreme Court ruling allowing civil marriage was profoundly pro-family, and we should all be grateful.”

— Sr. Simone Campbell, NETWORK and “Nuns on the Bus”, Washington, D.C.


 

“In the years ahead, when we find hopelessness and despair creeping once again into our consciousness, let us remember the day when dignity prevailed over degradation and love over fear.

“A half century ago, sodomy was a felony in every state in this country, punished by lengthy prison terms — in some cases LIFE in prison. Now, same sex marriage is a constitutionally protected right. What seemed definitionally impossible is now, plain and simple, the law of the land.

“This day of celebration, a victory for freedom and equality, is a testament to the moral progress of history. And it is a tikkun – a day of healing – for all of the children who grew up thinking something was wrong with them, that they were anything other than exactly what God intended them to be, that their yearning was unnatural, immoral, their love unworthy. May this legal ruling serve as a sacred apology. An act of atonement. A commitment to build a culture of love and holy acceptance.

“Even as we recognize how much unfinished work remains on the path toward justice for all, let this ruling serve also as a spiritual awakening – a reminder of what is possible when we stand together to affirm the dignity, worth and equality of all of God’s children.”

— Rabbi Sharon Brous, founding rabbi of IKAR in Los Angeles


 

“This moment was for me a celebration and a prophecy.

“Our nation celebrates the incredible decades-long collaboration between queer communities and straight allies toward marriage equality. We have fought this fight together. Marched down 5th Avenue every Pride Sunday singing gospel music until hoarse. Performed weddings in our sanctuaries. I am the queerest straight Black woman I know, and to stand before a sea of New Yorkers yesterday, with a nation watching, was one of the defining moments of my ministry. Love is love, we know, and the right to join hearts in marriage is a civil right that we believe God blesses. My feet ache from marching yesterday on Pride Sunday. Oh, happy day!

“But we are not finished with the work of justice. We all know that racism is an evil specter haunting our nation and the shooting deaths of nine souls praying reveals the urgent nature of #prophetic grief: it is time to turn our love-power toward dismantling systemic and personal racism.

“And so it was that when we started our celebration outside the historic Stonewall Inn we named the nine slain by racism. Declaring intersectionality and solidarity. We are in these fights together. Because we know, we believe, that in the end love will win.”

— Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Lewis, senior minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York


 

“To borrow Charles Dickens’ famous line, ‘the best of times and the worst of times.’

“LGBTQ people have won a precious victory. I am healthy, loved, and fully seen today because activists, people of faith, artists, and those convicted in their conscience to change, brought our country to a point where our relationships can finally be fully recognized. My heart overflows with gratitude for the decades of organizing — often in church basements, and educating — often in Bible studies classes, that brought us to this moment.

“Yet, at the same time, I am painfully aware that as we celebrate #lovewins we are also putting to rest nine precious lives that died at the hands of white supremacy in a racialized act of domestic terrorism. As people of faith committed to justice we are being called to hold the complexity of the deepest joy and the deepest sorrow.

“My prayer for my fellow LGBTQ community is that we will take this victory as our clarion call to work to eradicate injustice wherever we see it. As long as only some lives matter, none of us are truly free.”

Dr. Sharon Groves works at the intersection of faith, LGBTQ, and racial justice. She is the former director for the Religion and Faith program at the Human Rights Campaign.


 

“In six days, we are taught, God created the world. And on the seventh day, God rested. For six metaphorical days of creation, so many courageous souls worked for this moment when marriage equality would become the law of the land. When every human being can love whom they love, marry whom they want to marry, and be afforded the dignities and legal rights that come with joining one’s life to another in this holiest of ways.

“For six days, there was pain, and shame, and a legalized “less than” status that had to be overcome. And then, when the work was completed with the SCOTUS decision on June 26, we, in reflection of God who rested on the seventh day, celebrate Shabbat, a taste of the world to come. Our hearts bursting with joy, we sing, dance, breathe and thank God for reaching this moment, which is a repair of so many fractures.

“And also in the midst of this beautiful celebration, we know that the work is not yet complete. The members of Emanuel AME Church who were murdered because of the color of their skin are still being buried. Transgender people of color and homeless LGBTQ youth are still so vulnerable to discrimination and violence, and Americans can still be fired for being gay. Poverty, inequality and racism persist. In six days, the people worked for justice. On the seventh day, we rest and are so very refreshed. And tomorrow, on the 8th day — I would offer, perhaps the most sacred day — we are called back to the work of repairing our world, standing together with those whose pain has not yet been healed, so that all people can be made whole.”

— Rabbi Stephanie Kolin, associate rabbi of Central Synagogue, New York


 

“The heart of the Sikh faith is love. Love calls us to look upon the faces of others and ‘see no stranger.’ Love calls us to stand for the equality of people of all races, genders, faiths and orientations. As a Sikh American, I have fought for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, because love calls me to see their struggles as my own. Love calls us to fight for the rights of different communities as part of one broader movement for human dignity. This is especially true for many in my generation whose bodies hold multiple identities — Black and lesbian, undocumented and gay, Muslim and queer.

“Gone are the days when we fight only for only ourselves.

“So as a straight person, I wipe away tears and rejoice that marriage equality is now the law of the land. May this victory embolden us to meet even greater injustices including the poverty, chronic disease, profiling and violence disproportionately experienced by transgendered people and people of color who are marginalized within the LGBTQ movement. We have much work ahead. But for now, I hold my son in my arms and whisper in his ear: ‘You will grow up in a world where people can marry who they love. Can you believe we had to fight so hard for this? Remember this: Love Wins.'”

— Valarie Kaur, leading Sikh activist, lawyer, filmmaker and founder of the Groundswell Movement


 

“Love wins, as it always should. Let’s remember that the #SCOTUS decision on same sex marriage — to allow everyone to love freely — was made possible by the historical and on-going civil rights movement. Let’s remember how precedents were set and that Black communities have long been leading the bold fights for ‘equality & freedom.’

“Many groups have benefitted thus far in many ways: women, immigrants/refugees and yes LGBTQ communities. We are not one-issue humans and with this work for equality comes the need to remember that the Black community has not seen much of the fruits of their labors. It is this same Supreme Court that has issued rulings with terrible impact on predominantly communities of color, like gutting the Voting Rights Act.

“Let us use this day as a reminder of the shoulders on which we stand and re-commit to the rights of those who helped pave the way. Let’s ensure that there truly be equality for all. We have a lot of work left to do and we need ALL hands and all love on deck.

“Let’s make sure love wins, as it always should. #BlackLivesMatter”

— Linda Sarsour, Muslim community activist and executive director of the Arab American Association of New York


 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

  • john denis jackson

    I would be interested to hear from any gay Christian/Jewish//Muslim/Sikh etc….person how the act of sodomy which was considered an act of felony half a century ago , is now no longer a felony . Is it now a virtuous act ?
    The heterosexual marital act in the Christian tradition is considered as a virtuous act . Is sodomy, ie Anal sex now a virtuous act ?
    Please help me understand .

    • http://www.clergyforhire.us Jay McNeal

      Sure, I’d be happy to respond. You ask a fine question that most heterosexuals might wrestle with. I cannot speak for everyone but I’ll give it a shot. Morally it does not make sense to make a sexual act against the law if two monogamous adults are participating in a moral, loving action. I think that is why the law is evolving, as it did in the Bible. I’ll include an example from several places in the Bible (see picture).

      People are, again according to the Bible, primarily spirit and any two spirits can fall in love. How they physically make love is between them. Achieving orgasms for oneself or with others certainly does not require penetration of a penis into a vagina. And sexual intercourse by that definition does not automatically mean that the act is mutually consented to or moral. Even within the context of marriage there is a great deal of abuse, including rape of women by men and men by women.

      If you would like to raise a health/medical concern for men having intercourse with men I think that would be a healthy (no pun intended), reasonable consideration for those involved. I understand that anal sex can result in torn tissues and related bleeding and therefore additional concern for some consequences. This is also possible for anal sex between a man and woman of course. Women having sexual relations limited only to other women could be considered a safer option to protect them from becoming more vulnerable to things like cervical cancer as a result of sex with a man.

      The point really is that the physical acts of sexuality are only secondary manifestations of loving, monogamous, moral, safe, trusting relationships. How love is manifest is determined by each individual couple, as in heterosexual relationships. It is a Hollywood fiction that every romance between a man and woman is a star-struck fairytale dream behind close doors. People are internally complex and their sexuality is primarily in between their ears, not between their legs.

      • john denis jackson

        Jay , I applaud the cooperative tone of your reply , thank you . I asked a genuine question and you have given a reasoned , non confrontational reply . This is dialogue . Unlike the warlike insinuational response of others !
        I’m not sure about ‘ the two spirits’ bit , but will ponder that .

    • http://www.pro-tools-expert.com/ Russ Hughes

      So your entire definition of two same sex people sharing a life together is defined by a single sexual act? I wonder if you’d be happy to have your relationship defined in the same way?

      • john denis jackson

        Thank you Russ.
        I know gay couples who live together in harmony but who have chosen to be celibate . Now that throws up a whole range of assumptions and interesting questions !
        I was married and everyone assumed my wife and I had a good sex life . We did until she died .
        When people see a gay couple they assume that they are having sex . The elephant in the room is then whispered about …behind closed doors ..is their sex sodomy ? Why is sodomy an embarrassing concept/word, why is it not spoken about as much as heterosexual lovemaking . Why is it hidden ? That’s why I ask the question : is the act of sodomy a virtuous act ? There is a real health risk involved , bleeding , scarring, infection etc …. It doesn’t look like a virtuous act . So is the answer …celibacy ? !
        I think this is why the Roman Catholic Church is so fundamentally against the homosexual act , but certainly not against the state of being homosexual ,

    • gjgibson2506

      Don’t heterosexuals have sex? You bring up sodomy, in an obvious attempt to denigrate homosexuality (as Christians often seem compelled to do) and then compare it to “the heterosexual marital act” in an obvious attempt to elevate heterosexuality (as Christians often seem compelled to do), and then ask if sodomy is virtuous. What does one have to do with the other? Did you know that sodomy is any sex that is not penis-to-vagina sex? That includes oral sex. Don’t straight people engage in oral sex? I cannot speak to what is “virtuous” about sex in general, but I can tell you that it is virtuous to love. Jesus spoke often about loving others. I can also tell you that disparaging others for issues that you do not understand yourself is definitely NOT virtuous. Jesus would NOT do that and neither should you.

      • john denis jackson

        Gigibson, Jesus did speak about love , agreed. It is obvious and laudable that gay people love one another etc
        My aim is not to disparage anyone , but to love and understand .
        I am simply researching the question : “is sodomy a virtuous act ?”
        Have a good day .

        • gjgibson2506

          But you’re reducing love between two people of the same gender to the single act of sodomy. And you’re using THAT word specifically because it is deemed sinful in your bible. How could you possibly expect such pointed tactics to elicit positive responses from the predominately gay people who would likely be on this site? Do you seriously not see how offensive that is? Do you seriously not recognize that this is exactly the contempt with which most gay people are regarded by an unfriendly host of religious zealots on a constant basis? It is precisely the reason for the extremely high suicide rate among gay adolescents. I would be more than happy to engage in civil and respectful dialogue on the subject and only too happy to share relevant personal experiences if it helped your research but not until you bring some of that respect that Christians are always demanding from others. I suppose that whether or not sodomy is a virtuous act depends entirely on who you ask. Do you have sex with a partner? I would assume that if you do, that partner is of the opposite gender–would you characterize the sex that you have with her as “virtuous”? If so, what criteria did you use to arrive at this conclusion? I’m not a Christian and so my ethical decisions are based on my own conscience and not a 2000 year old book written by men whose values differed greatly from my own. I wish you the best of luck with your research. Have a wonderful Holiday weekend.

          • john denis jackson

            It’s not a holiday weekend here !

          • john denis jackson

            Thanks for taking time to unravel a bit gigibson
            It’s really hard to dialogue when we don’t know each other . I do reepect your stance as a gay man and I firmly believe in the deep love relationship between people of the same sex . As a believing Catholic Christian I obviously believe that sex can only happen between a man and a woman in marriage . Any other sexual activity would be disordered and immoral . Now I know you are not a Christian I realise that my kind of talk must seem like total nonsense to you ! So we better agree to differ …
            By the way I don’t base my faith just on Sacred Scripture , but on the constant teaching of the Church founded by Christ and countless thousands of other Christian witnesses .
            The bible , or Sacred Scripture as I prefer to call it, was inspired by the Holy Spirit and put down in writing by hundreds of men and women . As a modern Catholic I am familiar with the bible , but I don’t go round quoting it like the evangelical Christians do ! Much to my annoyance ! I prefer to try and be a ‘living bible ‘ by the way I act and interact with people . I am not religious , but follow the Spirit .
            Believe it or not , you have helped me in my understanding of what it means to be gay . And as for any homophobia which may cause young gays to take their own lives I distance myself from absolutely . I try to show love and respect to any homosexual person I meet etc….

          • gjgibson2506

            hmmmm…well, unravel might be a most appropriate
            description. I suppose it’s difficult to curb my knee-jerk reactions
            concerning this topic and after reading not just your responses to me, but to
            others here, I must step back a bit and acknowledge my own over-reactions and
            apologize for them. I am sorry for any unkindness in my responses.
            I am constantly reminding others that respectful dialogue is the only way
            to reach common ground with people who don’t share your opinions…it seems I
            need to take said advise myself. That said, I suppose that my reaction
            would indeed shed light on what it means to be gay (as you put it) and I’d
            further add that being in my late 40’s further explains the passion with which
            I react to questions like “is sodomy a virtuous act?”. My
            generation didn’t have gay clubs in school or PFLAG organizations and the Civil
            Liberties groups that existed then had zero interest in the liberties of gays
            and lesbians. I am of the generation who kept it a secret for as long as
            we could. We spent foolish amounts of time monitoring how we walked or
            talked, lest someone glean from our demeanor the secret we guarded. We
            worried about stupid stuff like–did I inadvertently cross my legs like a woman
            does? or is my hand resting in a “limp-wristed” position without my
            realizing it? Half my life is already over and I’m still filled with so
            much self-loathing that I have to continually remind myself not to be
            immediately annoyed with young gays who unabashedly flaunt their effeminate
            mannerisms. I have to tell myself that they are just being their
            authentic selves and that I could learn a thing or two from them about loving
            myself the way that I am. This is what it means to be a middle aged gay
            man. We are in constant conflict with the lessons we learned about
            navigating in a world of hateful bigots only now, those bigots are by far
            outnumbered by supportive straight people and the old rules no longer apply.
            Anyway, I still find your original question offensive for all the reasons
            that I already explained, but your desire to understand seems genuine and so I
            will offer this as an answer. I believe that expressions of love between
            two consenting adults is always virtuous. Sex, medically speaking, always
            carries dangers. If you think that the anus takes a beating (so to speak)
            during anal sex, then it is reasonable to conclude that a woman’s vagina does
            as well. They suffer countless consequences of sex ranging from dryness
            to bleeding to infections and more. Not to mention issues of length and
            girth of their partner’s member. I don’t think that these are factors
            which play into the virtuosity of the act because the woman (or the bottom, in
            the case of two gay men) are engaging in this act voluntarily and are most
            likely enjoying the experience. And honestly, I can’t imagine a deity would
            care much about how its followers are satisfying one another and if one did,
            that would not likely be one that I would personally care to worship. I
            hope this helps you with your research. Best
            regards.

          • john denis jackson

            You are truly dialoguing in charity and love now gigibson ! Your tone and attitude have changed ….which warms a similar response in me . I have never been able to get my head round….understand how a same sex attraction person can indulge in sexual/genital activity. But your good, personal reply goes a long way in answering my quest. Also the response from bakabomb is very helpful to us too .
            As a committed Catholic Christian I also have gained great insight from the many posts from celibate SSA people.
            I thank you most sincerely . Go well.

    • bakabomb

      The question you raise can’t really be answered definitively in the form you raise it — “a virtuous act”. Virtue doesn’t necessarily inure in the act itself, but in the motivation and execution. For example, tickling a lover can be virtuous if it pleases the other. Tickling a stranger, or a child if you’re an adult, probably doesn’t qualify. Cooking dinner for a friend is virtuous — unless they’re vegetarian and you make it with chicken stock and don’t tell them. Any variety of sex act can be virtuous if it’s consensual and pleases the other partner. Yes, that can even be the case for acts that can cause a degree of pain, because the boundary between pleasure and pain can blur sometimes (see tickling). Likewise any variety of sexual behavior, no matter how “loving” it may seem, is not virtuous if it’s undesired by the partner.

      Seeking a loving (non-sexual) relationship with another is virtuous, unless the other person doesn’t desire it with you. Then it becomes stalking. The determination, in cases like this, has almost nothing to do with the action itself.

      To sum up, then, sodomy can be either virtuous or not — depending entirely on the circumstances — just like almost every other type of interaction with another party.

      • john denis jackson

        Thank you bakabomb for your response/answer . That is very cogent,pertinent, rational and most helpful .