We find ourselves in North Carolina a week after the U.S. Supreme Court decision to dismantle DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). While some of our friends have migrated to City Hall’s across either coast to either confirm their commitment or celelebrate in colorful parade, we are here enjoying a quiet (well, as quiet as it can be with two pre-teen nephews running amok) time with family in North Carolina. After spending a few days in California with the other side of the family. While we would have loved to drop things and run to the coasts to formalize and legalize a ceremony that was already held years ago, we don’t imagine there’s much reason to rush.
Family isn’t determined by a certificate. Family is created through love and dedication.
Those that we are enjoying this time with already consider us family in a manner that no additional adjudication from a court, church, civil act or even legislation could determine. I guess that is why I have not gotten as riled up as some of my contemporaries around the subject of marriage. I mean ‘gay’ marriage, although I suspect in another decade or so, that may become an unnecessary qualifying term. It’s because I fully expect in this lifetime I will see a simple civil ceremony (we already had the big-to-do-one) with Rob and I, perhaps with just family and close friends to confirm what we’ve already established long ago. That we love one another. That we plan to support one another through good times and bad. And, that we are a family unit.
Denouncing your family does nothing to lift my family up. And, is that really the values i’d like my family to establish?
So looking out on the beach and watching my husband Rob, stand and look out over the Atlantic with his brother Ted, while nephew brothers Ryley and Grady sit off a short distance looking for crabs and at the ocean – I see multi-generations of love. I am confounded why others, who have different political or religious, or inhuman beliefs are incapable of seeing the same thing I do on this lovely sunny sand-filled day. But on a day like today none of that matters I suppose. Life is simply too short for each day to be a battle. Today my e-mails are piling up (I see them out of the corner of my eye). My text messages are mostly going unanswered, there’s no TV on – only the distant sound of Aretha Franklin singing in the background next to my cold lemonade, sunblock, sun glasses and favorite magazine. My legs are drying because Ryley just splashed me in a tempt to rile me. I feigned being shocked by the welcome cold water.
These moments cannot be recaptured. There’s flight. There’s fight. There’s .. enjoy
So today, while groups argue about the state or non-state of matrimony – the nation mourns the tragic passing of 19 firefighters in Arizona, and friends ponder why I’m not marching somewhere this fourth of July weekend. I’m here, where I want to be, where it’s most important to be. Talking about family, and the hierarchy of life that I often espouse, isn’t just believing in a concept about the value of family. Like the oft cited phrase, “faith without works is dead” – having a value is meaningless without action. Which is to say, if we say family is important, it’s necessary to follow that up with demonstration. So – with that – I am at my own demonstration of sorts. Not a political one. Not one in the streets with rainbow flags and flashy revelers – but a practical one. Spending time with family is a demonstration of life, love, and commitment to family – in it’s most basic form.