A Change Is Gonna Come

One of my favorite songs of all time is Sam Cooke's original version of "A Change is Gonna Come." It gives me chills every time I listen to it. It makes me both sad and hopeful, because it is at once a tragic account of a life that seemingly was never given a chance, yet the refrain is filled with so much optimism.

On days like today, in light of California's recent decision to uphold a discriminatory piece of legislation everyone knows as Proposition 8, I like to listen to this song and imagine a future where this kind of discrimination isn't the standard of our government. In a year where "hope" has been our nation's refrain, and is being reflected in not only our current sitting president, but also the passing of legislation in Iowa (Go Hawks!), Maine, Vermont, and Washington that allow gay couples to marry, I feel like our nation is a lot like that dejected, yet promising narrator in Cook's song. We are surrounded by discrimination, and the misused voice of God, but our hopeful voices shall not go unheard.

In the end there are two important things to remember: the first is a distinction our forefathers made hundreds of years ago, that is, the separation of church and state. These laws that legalize marriage have nothing to do with religious marriage. It's an important distinction and one I believe Americans have lost sight of. If you believe that being gay is wrong in the eyes of God, that's your right. Others shouldn't be punished on a legal level, however, for religious points of view.

The second thing that is important to remember is a lot like the hopeful refrain in that song. Marriage, ultimately, is about love. 18,000 gay couples who were married before the passing of Prop 8 did so because they were in love so deeply that they were choosing to bind their lives together before the witnessing eyes of their families, their friends, and their Gods. 18,000 people love each other enough to sign their name on a line and commit themselves fully to their partner. I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that's a lot of love! And maybe that's the image we need to keep burned in our brains: this is all about love. Nothing more, nothing less.

Sommer over at Crabs & Coconuts posted a tribute a little while back to Mildred and Richard Loving (if you don't know who they are, click that link!), and the more I think about it, the more I think about how those 18,000 people are the Mildred and Richard Lovings of this battle. They are the ones who are standing up, before the world, asking why it's wrong to love and marry who they love. I wish I had a more hopeful response for them than this: I don't know when, but I do know these laws will change. I only hope that this change comes soon.

photo via here

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post....sad day indeed...thanks for the link :-)


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