Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Loving Day - 45th Anniversary of Interracial Marriage Law

Cheryl and Wesley

Loving Day is so aptly named. The bravery of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving to stand for their interracial marriage, in this case as a black woman loving with a white man, is heroic and natural at once. The power of their lasting love through nine years of court cases overturned marriage discrimination laws in sixteen states on June 12, 1967, including in their home state of Virginia. Today, love is calling us again as a nation. In just these last weeks in Spring 2012, same-sex marriage court cases on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act have turned towards the U.S. Supreme Court, and President Obama championed LGBT marriage. Lesbian couple Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier are standing in love against Prop 8, which repealed their same-sex marriage rights in their home state of California, where they are raising their children. These revolutionary public journeys of private love, decades apart, are miraculous, and also come as no surprise.  

Jazelle and Deb

People don't fall in love to change the world at large. Love is personal. Yet, love lives in community and thrives with the support of community. When saying yes to loving someone means saying no to parts of society, friends and co-workers, and sometimes members of your own family, couples grow a certain strength. You don't choose who you love. You choose what to do with the love you feel. When couples claim the right of their hearts to love truthfully and publicly, come what may, what can come is social change. This is how a sweet kiss evolves into a political action.  

Ethan and Herbert

As a wedding officiant celebrating very personalized weddings, I get to know my brides and my grooms. I am honored to share the love stories of many interracial, intercultural, and interfaith couples. I have married lesbian, gay, and straight couples who are Chinese and French, American and Dutch, South American Latino and Southern American White, White and African American, Christian and Atheist, Jewish and New Age, Korean and Latina, and more and more. I have married people who are in love

The definition of love I see up close between my marrying couples is equality, and a commitment to living together to preserve that equality and balance as they grow and change as partners and as individuals day by day over the years. It is a gift to me and to all their friends and families present to witness them undefended before each other, loving from the inside out, gifts and quirks and all. Their love brings them comfort, joy and fun, and also great strength to meet life's surprises.

I often hear that couples feel an unprecedented love with each other, "I never knew it could be like this." Ideas only become cliche through repetition because they're true. Unprecedented love... in which you can be yourself now and become more yourself in the future is worth fighting for. The energy to fight is also unprecedented. Today, on Loving Day, we celebrate all couples who say yes to love, whether in court or in the neighborhood. Hold hands today. Kiss your lover in public. Make today your Loving Day and help set other lovers free.