As I try to understand the broad scope of what occurred within our judicial system Oct. 6, I am reminded of how fragile life is and how eventually it bends toward the arc of justice and freedom. I also realize I live in a divided county, state and nation and pray that one day soon some of the pain and hurt surrounding the journey for LGBT equality will be healed on both sides.
I do not think this is a time to gloat or to point fingers at those who oppose same-sex marriage. Yes, those of us in the LGBT community need to celebrate our vindication in this ongoing journey from second-class citizens to equal partners, but we must not get caught in the all-too-easy trap of being boastful or condescending.
Too many people have been alienated, cast aside, hurt, maligned, discarded, oppressed, mischaracterized, slandered, manipulated and hated from all sides. It is time to take a breath and just be. As I celebrate the monumental judicial accomplishment, part of me will also be somber.
I will reflect on the patriots who have gone before us, gay and straight allies alike who paved the way for equality and continue to do so in hopes of a more perfect union. I will remember those who lost their lives (Matthew Shepard and countless others) because they dared to be who they were born to be. I will also offer up a blessing for those who continue to be bullied or harmed because they identify as LGBT.
I will also remember those who fought and continue to fight so hard against fellow LGBT human beings – those LGBT human beings who wished not to ignite the flames of indignation from their detractors, but rather the spark of acceptance and compassion. I will think of those who called me and others like me a disgrace, sinners, disgusting and perverts, and I will shed a tear and wish them love and understanding.
Yes, this is a time of great joy for those in North Carolina who have wanted nothing more than to take the hand of the partner they love and exchange vows before their maker and the world. But it is also a time of reflection and hopefully the beginning of a time of healing.
We may not all see eye to eye on this issue, and some may never wish to extend a hand of friendship and understanding, but it is my prayer that someway, somehow we can put aside the division of Amendment One and look for ways to come together in our individual communities, counties and states. We are all human beings in this journey we call life. We all hope, love, grieve, live and die. Let us all take a moment to stand back and extend a hand of friendship and acceptance to one another. Let us begin a time to heal.
Robert Kellogg of Gastonia is secretary of LGBT Democrats of North Carolina.