Dreams for My Children
Like all parents, I have many hopes and dreams for my children. On one level, I just hope I don’t screw them up too much. But above all, I dream: each will grow into the best of who he or she is meant to be and fulfill his or her life’s unique purpose. Each will experience success, know failure, and be a better human being as a result of both. Each will be rooted in and wrestle with their faith, and be stronger for both. I hope they will be truth-tellers, justice-seekers, and good neighbors. I dream they will be and feel free to love and be loved in return. And I pray that when they look in the mirror, they will be content and proud of the person they see.
I think a lot about the challenges my children might face if they love and are loved by someone of their same gender. I think about what obstacles society might put in their way that would impact the course of their lives and their evolution as people. I am literally sickened when I think about how some might not only judge, but fear and detest them for being who they are or choose to be or both. I think about how they might be tormented or abused, or driven out of fear or shame, live in a way that belies who they are. And I think about, as a person of deep faith and an American, how their rights as people and citizens of this country might be withheld from them if they one day seek to express their love for their chosen partner through the institution of marriage.
Just one day after yet another state passed a ban on same-sex marriage, the President of the United States finally spoke his truth, endorsing not just civil unions, but marriage equality for all. It was a brave thing for him to do, given the fact that only seven states and Washington, D.C., currently allow same-sex marriages, and this is an election year. The fact that 12 states permit civil unions or domestic partnerships is no consolation either, for our current president, for me, or for anyone seeking to be married to someone of the same gender, because only marriage offers comprehensive state and federal benefits and protections. Only marriage equates to real equality. So this week was a promising one for the United States of America, but there is yet so much work to be done. Love is love. If a person is lucky enough to find a fitting partner, whatever their gender might be, they must be permitted to express who they are and who they love, based on the same terms and maintaining the same rights alongside all other people who seek to do the same.
And so I pray and I dream, not just for my own children, but for all children – for all people. The president’s announcement marks an important step in raising up the highest value that all of us are created as equals, each of us an image of the Divine. The prophets of my faith envisioned a day when justice would well up as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream. Perhaps this tide will be the one that washes away the wasteland of fear, discrimination, and ignorance that consumes so much of this land, and leaves in its wake a ground nourished by and fertile with love, acceptance, hope and promise for us all.
Rabbi Wendi Geffen serves North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, IL.
Originally posted at Pri HaGeffen