When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
– Psalm 126:1-3
Insta-Lent Word: Dream
Growing up, I’ve always felt the pressure to find a partner and “settle down.” I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve heard my grandparents ask me if I’ve “found the right girl yet,” (spoiler alert: nope, never) or my friends ask me about “who I’m seeing,” or even my own father (bless him) ask me about my love life. Even well-intentioned people make remarks like “you’re going to make a great husband some day” when I perform certain domestic tasks. And while I know that everyone’s comments are well-intentioned, I still feel the sense of expectation that follows behind their words.
The truth is that we as humans are made for relationship, and finding a partner is a part of that along with the our relationships with God, others, and self. As people we’ve been taught to seek out “the one” for us, dream about what our future partner will be like, plan our dream weddings, etc. While finding that partner is not the be-all, end-all, it has certainly become an important part of our human experience.
As I began to dream my dreams of what my partner would be like, I grew to realize that my dream didn’t exactly look like everyone else’s dream–after all, the cake topper would have to feature two men instead of an opposite-sex couple. Sadly, I was not anywhere near a place in my life where I could fully process, or be supported in my processing, of what that meant and what it would be like. There was also no vocabulary for what gay relationship progression looked like. Today we understand the concepts of domestic partners, civil unions, and marriage, but in the not-too-distant past these things didn’t exist or weren’t commonly discussed.
Next week, the Supreme Court will begin to hear oral arguments regarding two monumental cases for Marriage Equality. One case involves California’s Proposition 8, which took away the marriage rights of LGBT Californians through a popular vote. The other case involves a lesbian couple who were married but discriminated against when one of the partners died–the surviving spouse was taxed on whatever she had inherited from her wife (which would not have been the case had they been an opposite-sex couple)–and unfortunately this is allowable under a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Edie Windsor (the plaintiff in the DOMA case) and Thea Spyer had dreams, too. They met in New York City in 1965 and spent over 40 years together as friends, lovers, and were married in Canada. Their wedding cake topper had two ladies on it. They found their dream. But because of DOMA, their union wasn’t recognized in the state of New York and Edie was taxed a hefty amount for what she inherited from her wife. This would never have been the case if they were an opposite-sex couple. Edie and Thea’s dream has now become a legal nightmare.
This unjust situation isn’t unique to this couple, but for the first time in our history we are seeing a case that is being presented before our highest court of law. The gravity of this situation is unparalleled. So what can we as a community of faith do? We can dream. We can pray. And we can gather. This coming Tuesday we have an opportunity for an open-air, interfaith worship gathering to pray over the cases being brought to the Supreme Court. Together we can stand with our sisters and brothers of other faiths and proclaim all of the great things that the Lord has done (and will do) for us.