You see, my marriage is many things at once. It is a covenant, a symbol, and an earthly legal contract all at the same time.
My marriage has many names.
My marriage is covenant–based around the Biblical concept of what a covenant is–between my spouse, myself, and my God. It’s an oath. It’s unbreakable. It’s holy. It’s smiled upon by Jesus. It’s a bond that cannot be broken. My spouse and I are one. As long as we breathe this air, we cannot be separated in the eyes of our God.
My marriage is a symbol. The day I walked down the aisle to meet my groom will forever be a picture of the pure, spotless bride that will be presented to Jesus when His time has finally come–when those that loved Him until the end and never lost sight of Him as the prize of life see Him face to face. It is also a daily symbol of how Jesus loves me–devotedly, passionately, and intimately–with no shadow of turning.
My marriage is also an earthly legal contract–at least that’s what the government thinks. The government LITERALLY gives me monetary benefits for being in love. I’ve always thought that was a pretty sweet deal, for lack of more eloquent words. I’m in love with my husband. Five years ago, after a covenant ceremony in sight of God and all these witnesses, I decided to sign a piece of paper. And now they give us a break every year on our taxes because I didn’t decide to divorce him. I get paid to be in love. What a blessing that is. What a benefit.
But you see, this marriage of mine is
not just something that can be signed into existence on a piece of paper. It’s not something that is ONLY this or ONLY that–it is more than ONLY anything.
You see, the government thinks that it’s in the business of marriage. And I find it heartbreaking to think that so many God-fearing people believe that it actually is.
My marriage is more than only anything.
You see, a covenant is truly only defined by the parties involved in the oath being made.
And a symbol is only appreciated by the ones that recognize the depth of truth in its existence.
But, a legal contract is defined by pen and ink. It’s set in stone, and the same for everyone who signs.
The government gave me a piece of paper to sign to legally “marry” my husband. But, if for whatever reason, we went to the courthouse tomorrow and were informed that our legal “marriage” license had been filed incorrectly and that we weren’t actually “married,” I would probably just smile–maybe even chuckle under my breath–at the fact that this little person behind this little desk actually thought that some little paperwork created by men affected a covenant that little-old me and my little spouse had made with the Creator of the universe.
You see, because out of all the names my marriage carries, the legal one means the least.
Take away the covenant, and my marriage is empty words.
Take away the symbolism and my marriage loses its everyday beauty and purpose.
Take away the legal contract and my marriage loses nothing but some little, green pieces of paper that have been given value by men.
And just as my marriage has many names, our country also has many names.
Land of the free.
Home of the brave.
But of all its names, this one might be the most important: the nation where all those who breathe its air are created equal.
Yes, of all of its names, this should be the one that truly defines us and sets us apart. A dedication to living up to the honor of this name–that all people should have access to all the same benefits our country has to offer–especially the benefits of being in love and fully committed to another person.
And as long as the contract that provides me benefits for being in love with my spouse is called a “marriage,” and as long as this contract is still available to me, it must also be available to everyone else. It’s kind of in our rulebook–there from the very beginning. It’s just taken a lot of work and hundreds of years to recognize what the depths of it actually implies.
We are all entitled to love whomever we want. We are all entitled to commit ourselves to whomever we wish.
And we are also entitled to fully define our “marriage” in our hearts in whatever way that we wish. This is one of the many benefits of living in this country.
Because committed love is for everyone, and as long as our country provides a benefit for it, we can’t define “everyone” as anything other than everyone.
As long as the government is in the business of “marriage” and as long as this definition of “marriage” comes with rights, constitutional justice can only side with equality for all people.
And constitutional justice has many names, too.
And one of them was spoken loudly on June 26th, 2015.