As someone that was raised on Disney and happily ever afters, it should be no surprise that I’m a big fat sucker for love, and I’m pretty old fashioned when it comes to love. If you want some kind of “no label” relationship, more power to you, but I have always believed that marriage was the ultimate declaration of commitment. I could probably watch 27 Dresses at least once a month for the rest of my life. If I didn’t have such little patience for highly irrational sociopaths, I’d probably become a wedding planner. I’m that girl.
I’m not sure how much I, as a 21 year old, really know about love. But one of the most inspiring relationships I’ve known of was between two men. And whether or not everyone can understand the bond shared between two consenting adults, it’s not a stranger’s (or the government’s place) to tell two people how they can or can’t express their love.
It’s no one else’s place to say that you can’t share this day that we’ve been taught to anticipate since childhood, this significant milestone, this new beginning, because they don’t like the gender dynamics of your relationship. Do I agree with a handful of unelected officials with lifelong terms dictating these laws to the entire country? No, but I believe that there are certain rights that shouldn’t be subjected to which state you happen to find yourself in.
I’m also a Christian and a conservative. Despite the teachings of your favorite liberal celebrities, being Christian, conservative and reasonable do not have to be mutually exclusive traits. Many American Christians don’t have as much of a problem with gay marriage as they do with their religious liberties being put at risk by certain legislation, and you’d be incredibly naive not to see what the two have to do with one another.
Initially, I was excited about the Supreme Court’s decision. While I was aware of some of the threats facing religious communities, I gullibly hoped for people to exhibit a common decency, and respect the boundaries of churches and ministers. And I was relieved at this issue (seemingly) being resolved so early in terms of the 2016 election, taking one more asinine talking point away from the left. But I soon realized that this was more of a bittersweet victory than I had initially thought, and that I had to immediately lower my expectations.
Acceptance isn’t a one way street. Just as Christians should be able to accept people from all walks of life, gays should be able to accept that not everyone will approve of their lifestyle. A reciprocal tolerance is essential as we improve what it means to be an American for all parties involved. A triumph for one group doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, mean a loss for another. You don’t have to take away from Christians, or any group you perceive as privileged, to give to gays, or any group you perceive as marginalized. Saying that a same sex couple can get married shouldn’t mean saying that religious institutions and figures should be penalized for adhering to their faith.
When bakeries and florists declined to participate in weddings that conflicted with their faiths, I noticed that many people with very limited understandings of Christianity claim that there was nothing in the Bible against catering a gay wedding, and that if Jesus could associate with prostitutes and thieves, those bakers and florists could have helped with those weddings. The flaw in this logic is conflating accepting a person with condoning sin. Jesus wasn’t buying new lingerie for the prostitutes or helping the thieves plan heists. There’s a fundamental difference between loving a person despite their flaws and mistakes, and enabling the sinful habits. If we stand idly by and allow our government to strip people of their livelihood and destroy institutions for standing by their beliefs, how are we any better than the governments we’ve fought to destroy?
If we abandon the principles that this great nation was founded on, the justice we claim to fight for is both hollow and hypocritical.