Today, the Supreme court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which means that federal benefits are now available to gay and lesbian couples who have married (in states where such things are allowed). It was a huge victory for civil rights and for the forward progress of the humans in the U.S. of A. It’s a very, very real issue for many of my friends, and I’m thrilled. My facebook feed is an explosion of joy and love; for better or worse, I have sufficiently hidden those who don’t agree with my views.
Yet, I can’t get something smaller out of my head.
Last night, while walking on a popular outdoor trail, two young people stopped about 200 feet from me. One placed a gentle hand on the other’s back and pointed up, possibly drawing attention to the pretty sunset and/or the streaks of airplane trails through the sky. It was lovely, a classic summer moment.
Yet, I found myself staring just a little bit longer than normal, because this couple was made of two young women. As I got closer they broke apart, and in an internal panic that my gaze might have caused it, I gave them as big a smile as I could. I was past them before they could smile back, if they did.
I have a lot of friends in same-sex relationships. I love them and I want them to have everything that they should have as full citizens of my country.
So why was I staring at these two young girls enjoying a warm summer night?
I’d like to say it’s because it’s an anomaly to see such public displays here in buckle-of-the-bible-belt land. But I actually think it’s something else. It’s about me.
Because as much as I want to believe I’m blind to prejudice, I’m not. I notice when people are different than “the norm”, whatever the hell that means. And then, I dislike myself for noticing.
What to do about this?
I don’t know. I guess just keep trying. And remember that thanks to what happened today in a big stone room far from here, those girls have a shot at having their relationship validated, sometime in the future. It might not happen in Arkansas right away, but we’re not going to stop working toward that future.