When I posted yesterday about the whirlwind of love in my life, I had not imagined it would be the first of many whirlwinds the day would blow upon me. October 10, 2014 became what Equality NC had dubbed Day One–the start of marriage equality in North Carolina. Newspaper headlines this morning read “Same-Sex Marriages OK” and “Day for History, Equality.” The pictures are of colorful, smiling couples. I doubt the Saturday morning paper has ever been this gay before.
But whereas the world celebrates, my sweetness is tempered. Whereas other couples ran off to courthouses to say “I do,” I had no such privilege–my fiance lives two thousand miles away, and before we can marry, we must overcome hurdles no couple should have to endure. History, equality, celebration–but for whom?
I recently read David Berlinski’s A Tour of the Calculus, a wildly imaginative and lyrical look at the intuition and origination of one of math’s most recognizable elements. I was delighted as he described the wondrous experience of seeing mathematical functions in everyday life (an experience I’m prone to myself), and I was lulled into a certain sense of dualistic comfort when he uncovered the natural yet unexpected partnership between differentiation and integration, the two processes wholly defining the calculus.
While I read today’s teaching, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Berlinski’s musical prose, of the unambiguous manner in which he related unassuming but intimately connected ideas–which is, as you’ll soon see, precisely the challenge presented today.
I couldn’t sleep last night. I tossed and turned and rolled about, as wide awake as ever. I considered getting up to get a drink. To watch the news. To play around on a design app my sister recommended, but I vowed to be in bed, and I wanted to keep to that goal. And at long last, sometime in the middle of the night, sleep overtook me.
This morning, around six, I began breaking from these binds in small bursts, wanting to sleep more but unable to coerce my mind into crumbling. Finally at nine I jumped from my bed, opened the SCOTUS blog for livefeed of the day’s events, and began my cardio workout.
It didn’t do much, though; my heart was already racing.
I want to be in love someday. I want to be weak in the knees, come undone at the seams. The world should tremble beneath us, the skies fall as starlight pours around us. I want to be married under the open sky as birds sing and rainbows break amongst the clouds and cling to the last daylight as Anar sails into the west.
Except none of this could ever happen, and for many still it can’t happen, and it won’t happen if not for the forthcoming words of the nine judges deciding now in silence our shared fate.
I am writing to you in concern of the upcoming Special Session on Monday, September 12, 2011, to vote on Senate Bill 106 and House Bill 777, both entitled Defense of Marriage, which seek to amend our state constitution so that marriages between one man and one woman are the only legally recognized domestic relationship in North Carolina.
It is my belief, however, that these bills should not be passed.
This evening I was given some terrible news: The vote on NC SB 106 and NC HB 777 has been moved up from September to tomorrow. These sequences of letters and numbers sound innocent on their own, but they sound ominous when you know what they refer to: A pair of bills introduced to the North Carolina General Assembly trying to write discrimination into our State Constitution. If passed, the public will decide whether or not to amend the Constitution to explicitly prohibit any and all legal recognition of same-sex couples in North Carolina.
Not only is this news disheartening, it also makes me somewhat thankful.
I am not, nor will I ever be, thankful for the hateful hearts that fill our world. Same-sex marriages are currently illegal in North Carolina and writing this into our constitution is merely an act of intolerance. It speaks volumes of the hatred and bias that runs through the veins of every man and woman who has supported these bills. I need not give names; their hate will return to them someday, and I can only pray they may change their ways before it’s too late. No one–not even them–deserves to be treated with such malice. I pray their hearts may open to the harm their hands are causing even as we speak, as I write these words, as you read them.
What, then, do I have to be thankful for at a time like this?
I read today’s teaching last week, to get an idea of what I’d be working with, and I was a little surprised. It seemed to me to be an exact restatement of the principle of karma: What goes around comes around. Reading it again today, I can’t say I feel much differently. And that sort of puts me in a strange place to be.
Growing up I was like most little Jewish boys: I dreamed of having my own family, a good wife, a few children, going to services on all the major holidays, going through the melodies like rote, work in the mornings, love in the mid-morning hours of the night. I had crushes on girls in my class, because they seemed to be images of the perfect future girlfriend and wife my typical Jewish upbringing had instilled in me.
I had a whole post planned out…and then I got caught up in TV and header designs and talking with friends and forgot all about it. But that’s no reason not be thankful–in fact, TVs and headers and friends are all great things to be thankful for (and I’m thankful that I’ve got the opportunity to spend my time in such ways, when I know many in this world sadly do not), but it’s something else I’d like to be thankful for today. Something that seems affects the GLBT community, but also affects all of us.
1.8 Yehuda ben Tabbai and Shimon ben Shetah received the tradition from them.
Yehuda ben Tabbai taught:
When serving as a judge do not play the role of counsel for either litigant; when the litigants appear before you, deem them both guilty. But when they depart, having accepted the verdict, regard them both as innocent.
It’s a common misconception that life is like we see on TV. We believe shows like CSI and Law & Order are like life; we think that the Closer and Raising the Bar are how it really happens. And for as lifelike as they may seem (and as clued into proper practice as they are), in the end, when we sit down to watch the credits roll, they’re only TV shows. It’s easy to forget.