Note: I wrote this on Monday morning, May 7, convinced of a loss. Probably 15 points, right? Doesn't matter. This I know to be true; that's why I wrote it.
As of this morning, there are an estimated 150,000 married same-sex couples in the United States.
They are not "civil-union"ed. They are not in a "domestic partnership". They are "married" in the legal, personal, and moral sense of the word. Maybe God doesn't think they are "married", but nobody gets to vote on what God believes anyway. The point is that these couple are definitionally married.
Think about that. These are not abstract numbers — these are actually couples, actually married. They exist. They breathe. They move about, go to work, go home, raise families. They are families.
Overseas, there are hundreds of thousands more married couples who are also same-sex.
And there will be many more hundreds of thousands — millions even — of married same-sex couples, in the years to come. That's a fact, and no election outcome can change that.
Re-define "marriage"? You think Amendment One was about re-defining marriage? Pssst. That ship has sailed, Jack, and you just need to go to the nearest online dictionary to see for yourself.
We need to remind ourselves of a basic truth: you can't ban something that already exists in some form, outside your jurisdiction. Wedding bells will continue to ring for gay couples. Sure, as a state, we can refuse to recognize those bells, but that is all that North Carolina has done. It has put its head in the proverbial sand. It hasn't made anything go away, and done very little to stave off the inevitable.
So ask yourself: How long can North Carolina, or any state, hold out while other states and other countries keep on marrying people of the same sex… and those people move… and then raise children of their own… and those children move? Ten years? A generation?
You see, there is a natural arc of progress. We don't see it sometimes, with the 24 hour news cycle, the 4 year election cycle, or the decade-to-decade cycle. But there is a natural arc of progress, and mankind moves forward. Fifty years ago – in my lifetime – Ann Dunham and Barack Obama, Sr. could not have been married in this state, or most states in the Union. Today, their son is the President of the United States, and 15% of all new marriages are interracial. It may take longer than we wish, but we should never forget that the direction we move is always forward toward equality and freedom, toward the promises that our forefathers guaranteed us.
Those who wish to shape society in accord with their faith and moral compass — I'm talking primarily about the religious right as well as the religiously self-righteous… they never win in the long run. The history of their own religions are filled with their own dogmatic and controlling failures. God's soldiers return to the fold, cowed, while their church leaders issue a reformation (although by then, most of the religious followers know better).
So rather than mourn today's political loss, let us pause and mark this time in history, and reflect on the interesting times we live in. Our grandchildren and their children will scarcely believe that our generation could be so wantonly and overtly bigoted against the relationships of same-sex couples — and yes, that is to our collective shame.
But for those of us who voted "No", and who can see the arc of history spread out beyond our own mortality, let us smile at the knowledge that ultimately, love and justice wins. It always has. Ultimately. Because that IS God.