Have you been around Facebook lately?
There's a lot of red and pink on there today.
The Human Rights Campaign asked anyone who supports marriage equality to post this picture to show their support of marriage equality:
I am a Mormon.
I am also a supporter of marriage equality.
I am also taking a risk at outing myself like this, which, quite frankly, is a crying shame. I feel like I'm coming out of the closet (so to speak) outing myself as a bleeding heart liberal and someone who really, truly believes that everyone who wants the opportunity to be married can be married.
Or in the words of Dolly Parton, "I believe EVERYONE should have the opportunity to be unhappily married."
I may lose readers, I may even lose friends, but before you go, I'd like to tell you why I support marriage equality--and it has nothing to do with the Family Proclamation, the history of marriage, the Bible, the Constitution or even California's Prop 8.
Instead, I want to tell you about an afternoon I had four years ago that shifted my perspective on everything, and it has to do with people.
At the time, I was serving in my congregation as the leader of a youth mentoring program called the Young Women's Program. Ironically, I was in the church building preparing for an evening to celebrate the accomplishments of the young women in our congregation. There's always a lot of decorating for these things, and it was just me in the church plugging away.
Suddenly, there was a voice at the door.
I turned around and saw a woman standing there. She asked me if there was a bishop around that she, "Needed some help."
There was no one there except me--and I told her so.
"Is there something I can do to help you?" I asked.
She told me that her name was Dawne and that she and her friend had been asked to leave the motel where they were staying and they needed some financial assistance as they were driving across the country for Dawne to speak at a Human Rights function. They had been driving for two weeks and had run out of money.
Dawne was transgendered. Meaning: Dawne had been born a man but had always felt that she was born into the wrong body. Dawne had several surgeries to change her physical body to match the spirit she felt that had always been there. Dawne's friend--and I'm so sorry, I can't remember her name-- had been born with both male and female genitalia. At birth, her father chose to surgically remove her penis and thus condemned her to live life as a female. Unfortunately, she didn't identify herself as a female.
There was so much sadness.
As we shared lunch together, my heart hurt.
My heart hurt for Dawne's journey, the pain of not knowing where she fit in--of always feeling like she never belonged. She was raised in the same church I was. In her hour of need she turned to the church of her childhood seeking help.
My heart hurt for her friend, of the obvious sadness of just being that she carried with her every waking moment. You could see it in her eyes and in every single line on her face, the exhaustion of just existing.
My heart hurt that they had been asked to leave a motel where they had paid for their room and were being discriminated just because they didn't (in the words of the manager) "fit in". My heart hurt because of the blatant and blind hatred they had endured in the town that I called home.
I walked away from lunch with Dawne a different person. I walked away better.
Was Dawne gay?
I don't know...
....and I don't really care.
I don't care if people are gay or straight or married or not. Being gay doesn't tell me if you pay your taxes or are nice to your mother. (Incidentally, being gay also doesn't tell me if you cut people off in traffic or are mean to your grandmother either.)
For me, supporting marriage equality boils down to the fact that I want all of God's children to be able to share the kind of relationship I have with Mountain Man. I love being married to him. I can't wait to get my hands on him. I love talking with him and no one can make me laugh like he can.
I just love being with him. I also like the way he smells (just in case you were wondering) and I've lately thought: It wouldn't matter if Mountain Man was a Mountain Woman because I. Just. Love. Shiloh. (Which is Mountain Man's name, in case you didn't know.)
My attraction to Shiloh isn't because he's male--it's because I am in love with Shiloh the being-- Shiloh the person--he just happens to be male, and I female.
But what if we weren't us? What if we couldn't enjoy the marriage that we now have?
This is what I came away with that afternoon with Dawne.
Dawne and her friend were people. Beings with feeling hearts and marvelous minds. Divine spirits with Heavenly Parents who loved them. I could feel these loving Parents shining through me to Dawne and then right back onto me. We weren't three ladies at lunch. We were three people, three spirits, sharing a brief moment of great beauty because all there was was love.
How can I not support that?