The U.S. has finally decided to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. We celebrate. We acknowledge that it has taken too long. We continue to fight the fear, bigotry and close-mindedness around sexual orientation that no court can overrule.
But we must also ask, "Who else?"
Who else is fighting to have their voice heard?
Who else is struggling against the cultural, moral and legal constraints of our society?
Who else is discriminated against now in ways that may one day be seen as embarrassing and unthinkable?
Is it because of how they look? Is it because of where they were born? Who they love? How poor they are? What they believe in or don't believe in? The identity they have embraced?
Who else is regularly treated as second class in a way we accept uncomfortably for now?
Who else is being told that maybe their day for equality and respect will come, but until then just try to get along?
Who else has had their story and identity twisted beyond recognition by mainstream culture, religious imperatives, or so-called economic necessities?
Who else has been cast out to the fringes of "civilized society"?
Is it because of the clothing they wear? Is it because of customs they observe? Debts they owe? Illness they didn't choose? Addictions they can't manage? What they eat? How old they are? The peace they seek?
What will we do for these people?
Will we recognize their struggle? Will we try to understand who they are, what they want, and how we might be involved in reducing harm to them?
Or will we sit back, watch and wait? Wait until they form a movement, wait until their persecution informs a viral video, wait until we realize a friend or neighbor is one of them, wait until the Supreme Court tells us it's okay to change our Facebook profile photos to show our solidarity?
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
This might be reassuring if it's true, but it doesn't mean that the bending happens by itself. It doesn't mean we get to watch the struggle for justice from a distance and hope for the best. We actually have to make it happen ourselves.
Who else seeks a revolution?
Who else needs our support, attention and solidarity sooner rather than later?
Photo by Leo Grübler