Friday, June 26, 2015

Love wins. Thinking of Jim Obergefell, grief and marriage

I try not to bring politics into this blog, believing that storytelling and grief are universal. This morning I need to touch on politics because this morning the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled for love in Obergefell v. Hodges.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

Love wins.

Kevin and I love/d each other very much. And if you've never seen a picture of us, our skins were different colors. Forty years ago our marriage would have been illegal had it not been for the Loving vs. Virginia decision by SCOTUS, which read in part:

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

Love wins.

More than anything I wish I could celebrate today's decision with my beloved, the way people all over this country are going to be celebrating with their beloveds, regardless of sex. And my thoughts keep going to Jim Obergefell who wanted the right to be recognized as husband on his beloved's death certificate. Jim Obergefell and John Arthur loved each other beyond measure, just like me and Kevin. Take a look at that picture; I have pictures that mirror it, of me smiling with desperate hope while Kevin smiles beside me. And like me, Mr. Obergefell is mourning the loss of his love. Forty years ago I might not have been recognized as Kevin's wife. And from today forward, no one can deny that Jim is John's husband.

I hope that offers him some comfort. Even in grief, love endures. For love is stronger than death.

Love wins.

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. I cried when Mr. Obergefell spoke following the ruling -- such a bittersweet moment. I'm glad that good has come out of his pain, but I can't imagine it will diminish his grief.


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