My husband and I spent a considerable portion of this past weekend celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. Friday night we had tickets to see Aint’ Misbehavin’ at the Mad Cow Theater, in downtown Orlando. At least half of the attendees were African American. Looking around, I could not help thinking of the tragedy in Charleston and even of President Obama’s eulogy and rendition of Amazing Grace. Resistance to removing the confederate flag from state capitol grounds literally crumbled in the aftermath of the Emanuel AME massacre. Ebay, Walmart, Amazon, and various flag manufacturers announced they were ceasing making and selling the confederate flag.
As it turned out, my 25th wedding anniversary coincided with the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage. In the concluding paragraph of the court’s decision, Justice Kennedy wrote:
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
“Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness…they ask for equal dignity under the law.” 25 years ago I took for granted my right to marry the man of my dreams. My celebrations this weekend were three-fold: I celebrated my 25 year partnership with my husband; I celebrated that people heretofore denied the right to marry will celebrate their 25th anniversaries in 2040; and I celebrate the removal of an icon that had come to be a symbol of hate and violence.
Regardless of one’s political leanings (and these two issues elicit intense emotional reactions in our society of lefts and rights) this was a weekend of love and kindness. I’m so happy my milestone anniversary coincided with this celebration of love.