Today was a day of landmark decisions by the Supreme Court related to marriage equality. Many people will focus on what this means for civil rights, legal arguments in states that do not yet allow same sex marriage, and the change of definition for “traditional marriage.” All of these aspects are great for debate and intellectual discourse, but they don’t tell us much about the impact on actual humans. As I have said in previous posts, many of my clients are GLBTQ. In sessions, we often talk about the impact of laws that do not allow them to marry the people they love. They rejoice in the triumphs and sorrow in the losses. It is a real life lesson on how our legal system impacts real people with real lives and real families.
Laws are not just about acts that our society finds unacceptable. They often imply or flat out state that the person doing the action is also bad or unacceptable in some way. Can you imagine going through life believing that loving someone is bad? Now, most of my clients know logically that this is not true. They recognize that society’s laws simply have not caught up with our recognition of changing morals and science. But what they feel and believe is a different matter. My gay clients come in feeling broken and beaten down by a world that finds them strange at best and abhorrent at worst. They hear pundits and “scientists” comparing their committed relationships to pedophilia and bestiality. They are told by lawmakers that their relationships are such a danger to society that they have to be outlawed by constitutional amendments and marriage bans. I can see the weight of these things on my clients, even when their rational lives show no signs of damage.
And what about the children who are raised in these loving and supportive relationships? They have been told that their parents are not valuable enough for society to recognize their relationship. And if their parents aren’t valuable, then the children must be the same. When we devalue our children’s parents we devalue our children!
I rejoice today. Not because a huge legal shift has occurred in our country. No, I rejoice because for my clients, who I have come to know, respect, and love as the amazing humans they are, our world is one small step closer to seeing their value. Our world is one step closer to recognizing their relationships as a valid way to love, one step closer to recognizing their children as offspring from a valid relationship. For me, “politics” are personal. Laws are personal. We are talking about the lives of real people changing, hopefully for the better and hopefully at a faster pace. I rejoice with my clients and for my clients. Because they have value and worth. Because they love.