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Chester County Press

Editorial: Love is love is love is love

12/20/2022 03:09PM ● By Richard Gaw

Together, with the supporting votes of 12 Republican Senators, Senate Democrats took the “Respect for Marriage Act” to President Biden’s desk last Tuesday that saw him affix his signature to a law that now acknowledges same-sex and interracial marriages as federal law for the first time. 

Codifying the legalization of same-sex marriage that occurred in the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, the law requires that states recognize any marriage made in another state and repeal the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” in 1996 which previously defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Further, it grants federal protection to same-sex and interracial couples, requiring that people be considered married in any state as long as the marriage is valid in the state where it was performed.

Were we to list all of the reasons why this landmark legislation is important to the citizens of our country, we would go on longer than a Best Man speech gone off the rails, but the short list in monumental enough. It sets precedent on the rights of our LGBTQ citizens, and emboldens the institution and definition of marriage with a broader sense of inclusion.

Perhaps the largest rainbow swath it cut, however, was against those in our houses of worship, in our halls of government and in our highest judicial court – some of whom hold steadfast on their warpath to repeal our most precious freedoms. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ bullhorn recorded one of the most frightening displays, when in the immediate aftermath of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, he mused that other rights – namely, same-sex marriage – may also be overturned.

Thomas is not alone. While nationwide polls taken over the last few years suggest clear and growing support for same-sex and interracial marriage – including Conservatives – others remain at the bully pulpit of opposition, claiming that the law is a dire threat to their religious liberty.

“Marriage is the exclusive, lifelong, conjugal union between one man and one woman, and any departure from that design hurts the indispensable goal of having every child raised in a stable home by the mom and dad who conceived them,” said the Heritage Foundation’s Roger Severino. Last week, House member Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri) cried as she urged her colleagues to vote against the bill.

In the end, however, love won. Love took down the peddlers of discriminatory doctrine and shut down the architects of moldy, religious doggerel. With one triumphant display of bipartisanship, the “Respect for Marriage Act” celebrated the common core of our nation’s highest sense of ideals, and recognizes that the sanctity of marriage is made more powerful not by exclusivity but by limitless invitation. 

In his acceptance speech after receiving his umpteenth Tony Award for his musical Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda cemented his place in the pantheon of quotations with three sentences that should be carved into the bedrock of our nation’s consciousness.

“We live in times when hate and fear seem stronger,” he said. “We rise and fall and light from dying embers–remembrances that hope and love last longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.” 

Last week, the best of our American leadership recognized that the power of human love, manifested by marriage, should never be swept aside.