I couldn’t let today pass without sharing a few words about SCOTUS’ ruling on same-sex marriages yesterday. I started this blog years ago mostly so I could share my life with my family while I was living abroad. It has since evolved, but I also hope in part that it will serve as a lifelong journal of my adventures, experiences, and life happenings for my future children. I hope that one day they’ll be able to read through these posts and understand how their parents grew, the exciting experiences that shaped our perspectives, and how the world has changed in our lifetime.
This is one of those monumental times. I grew up in a family where I didn’t really understand the idea of discrimination. My parents always instilled in us the common bond of humanity and that no one should be judged by the color of their skin, their religion, their socioeconomic background, their gender, etc. In hindsight, I am lucky to be part of a family that was so open, caring and accepting. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized that there were people who didn’t share the same open outlook and I always found myself perplexed. Why, exactly, is this bad, and perhaps more importantly, why is this any of my business if it’s not hurting me? This is a stance I take on a lot of things and it’s probably in large part due to my upbringing. Sure, I have my own religious beliefs, but I don’t need to impose them on others or judge anyone for theirs. Yes, I am straight, but that doesn’t mean I harbor any ill will for someone who has a different preference. We’re all different, and fundamentally if we can be good people, living happy and fulfilling lives, what more is there?
Please, no hate here, but I found it difficult to fathom that many from the religious community who touted the values of love, care, inclusion, bettering the world, etc., etc. were sometimes doling out the most oppressive rhetoric. How could groups seemingly founded on espousing love (1 Corinthians 13, anyone?) dole out so much negativity?
Now, in 2015, we’re seeing a world that I didn’t know I would see at such a young age. To think of the progress that we’ve made in the last thirty years is remarkable. As someone jokingly – though accurately – noted on Twitter, in 2000, I never would have thought that I would live in a country where a black man could be elected to the highest office in the country, and in a time where same-sex marriages would be allowed. That was only 15 years ago. It’s amazing to think how far we’ve come as a country in that short span of time.
More remarkably, I think about our future children and the world they’ll live in. The news we see on a daily basis makes me think twice about bringing kids into the world: so much hate, so much violence, seemingly so much evil. Then things like this happen that restore your faith in the future. My children will have to contend with the world’s evils, of this I am sure of. Yet they will also live in a world where the idea of not allowing same-sex marriages is antiquated and where discrimination isn’t generally something that or legal system supports. It’ll seem like a thing of the past, so far gone that they won’t be able to ever truly understand what it meant for our friends and family who have long fought that battle.
Growing up, stories about race relations during my grandparents generation always seemed so foreign. Segregation laws seemed so ancient yet somehow my grandparents – my living, breathing grandparents – could remember those days and how it made them feel as onlookers. Just decades later, I grew up in a world where I didn’t see color; where my best friends were black, white, Asian… I didn’t care and I didn’t see their skin color as any indication of who they were. It may have felt like an eternity when those changes were taking place in society, but historically it was an instant. The same will happen here for us, with our children and grandchildren. Our kids will only ever hear stories about people who weren’t allowed to get married once upon a time; and I honestly can’t imagine how much the world will change by the time our grandchildren arrive.
To my future kids: no matter where you are and no matter what society or laws dictate, remember that we are truly all bound by the simple bond of humanity and there is no second-class citizen. Someone’s religion, skin color, gender, sexual preferences, or socio-economic status shouldn’t be an indicator of their being. Fundamentally, we all essentially want the same thing: to be happy.