“I was raised on the idea that all men are created equal and I never forgot that. … That’s what we fought for in WWII – the idea that we could be different but still be equal.”
Tomorrow, voters across Maine will decide whether their fellow citizens can keep the legal right to marry whom they choose. The issue is politically divisive, fraught with religious undertones and fear. In an age when divorce rates are so high, and so much has changed the social under, it’s easy to see how scare tactics can confuse people and drive people to vote against equality at the polls. Much has been said, yet I wonder how much dialogue transpires in an environment of distrust and politicized discussions.
For me it is personal, because the right to marry means nothing to me if my friends – and fellow citizens – are denied it. A month ago I participated with joy and elation in the wedding of my best friend Drew marrying the man he loves. I was blessed to be a part of the ceremony. I am blessed to live in a time that has seen enormous gains in the application of universal human rights. When I think that as recently as 1967, interracial marriage was illegal in much of the United States, I am inspired by how far we have come. More than that, I’m inspired by the stories of those who sacrificed to get us here, from the Lovings to the six same-sex couples of Polk County Iowa. I’m no constitutional scholar, but I know that the community I want to live in starts by recognizing people equally under the law.
And I’m not the only one. Today, I want to amplify one man’s voice – someone who has seen much more than I have. Inspiring testimony from WWII Veteran Philip Spooner.