Pundits and politicians of every stripe are still engaged in their post-election post mortem. What is abundantly clear, regardless of whether one awakened on the morning of November 7th elated or deflated, is that our nation faces daunting challenges that will require unprecedented collaborative efforts to solve.
But one message that rose to surface of the election aftermath is one I find especially heartening–the tide is turning with respect to equal marriage. Voters in the states of Maryland, Maine and Washington, voted to recognize same-sex marriage. Voters in Minnesota defeated an attempt to enshrine in that state’s constitution a limiting definition of marriage. These referenda results mark the first time that voters (as opposed to courts or legislatures) have affirmed that marriage is a civil right, accessible to all adults.
Lest we think that this is some abstract victory, touching the lives of people we don’t know, let me hasten to assure you that this issue touches very close to our FJC home. In March, 2013, Lindsey Dawson, a young woman who grew up in this congregation, the daughter of our members Syrel & Mick Dawson, will marry Jessica Chipoco in Maryland. They only learned that this would be possible on the morning of November 7. I rejoice with Lindsey and Jessica and their families!
I am convinced that we are at a tipping point moment in our country’s history with respect to equal marriage rights. A new poll reflects increasing support in the Jewish community–81%– for same-sex marriage, a five per-cent increase since last May. Even as I write this column, it is expected that the Supreme Court will consider, this month, whether to hear two important cases related to federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
At a time when we have reason to be concerned about so many issues–the looming fiscal “cliff”, a nuclear Iran, disengagement from Afghanistan, economic recovery–it is heartening and uplifting to be able to celebrate progress in the realm of human rights, progress attained at the ballot box and through the steady process of changing hearts and minds.