On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. The decision spread through social media like wild fire. My own FB page burned with congratulatory messages. I responded to as many as I could. A few postings opposed the historical decision. Those I ignored. Except one. It came from a close friend. He objected to same-sex unions being called “matrimonios” (Spanish for marriage). My friend, who is Cuban, suggested using instead the term “femenimonio,” from the Latin ecfemino. I assumed his label applied to unions between males and wondered what he would call a marriage between two women.
When I told him his remarks were hurtful, his response, as expected, was defensive. He had a right to his opinion, he said, and I agreed. After all, isn’t that why we left an oppressive communist regime? Under Castro’s dictatorship anyone who didn’t support the party’s ideology was jailed, tortured, or even killed. In the U.S., we have the freedom to express our opinions, even publicly on mediums such as FB, without fear of reprisal. But having the right to voice one’s point of view is different from offending those who disagree. .
My friend’s wife jumped into the discussion. She shared her husband’s opinion and added that their view was based on the words of “God, the one and only God” who found the Supreme Court’s decision “painful.” “It’s confusing to our children, grandchildren, your own nieces and nephews.” She tried to soften her remarks by saying she had nothing against gays, that in fact she loved and admired me and my professional accomplishments. But that I shouldn’t be allowed to marry. “Marriage, according to the Bible, is between man and woman” Her message did little to soften my hurt. I explained that by saying “the one and only God” disapproved of the Supreme Court’s decision, she was dismissing other faiths that believe in God–and same-sex marriage.
Among the religious groups that support same-sex marriage are the Episcopal Church, which, at their General Convention, only days after the Supreme Court’s decision, voted to allow same-sex marriages; the Presbyterian Church; United Church of Christ; United Church of Canada; Unitarians; Conservative and Reformed Judaism, Liberal Buddhists and Liberal Hindus.
The above list was provided by the Pew Research Center, which named the U.S. among 15 countries that now support same-sex marriage. Those include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, England, and Spain.
Whether you believe in same-sex marriage, I hope you are kinder than my friends to those who are on a different side of the debate. By the way, my own nieces and nephews are not confused by the U.S. Supreme Court’s declaration. “It’s all about love,” they say. I agree!