Love is stronger than hate: Why Holy Week is the perfect time for marriage equality


Marriage equality supporters take part in a march and rally ahead of U.S. Supreme Court arguments on legalizing same-sex marriage in New York on March 24, 2013. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
March 26, 2013

“Holy Week” is when Christians remember the last days of Jesus of Nazareth, from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, through his arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. This week is central to the Christian calendar, and to a Christian theology that celebrates that love, despite all the harm human beings do to one another, is stronger than hate.

As a Christian minister and a theologian, I believe the deep meaning of Holy Week is that the love of God is, indeed, stronger than all the hate and violence that is so tragically rampant in human life.

This week as well, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases concerning marriage equality, that is, the basic right of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to legally marry and receive all the legal recognition and benefits accorded married heterosexuals. SCOTUS has agreed to consider both the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and California’s ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8. The case at issue with DOMA is whether the federal government can deny federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples — benefits that are automatically granted to heterosexual couples. A decision on Proposition 8 could, in fact, establish that LGBT couples have a constitutional right to marry.

The prevailing wisdom is that the Supreme Court will rule narrowly, rather than broadly in these cases. The justices may, in the majority, be unwilling to rule decisively for full equality while attempting not to rule out the constitutionality of gay-marriage.

But because it is Holy Week when these cases will be argued, the extravagant impossible possibility of love triumphing over hate should give us hope for a sweeping win for equality in the most important civil rights cases in a generation.

I hope the Supreme Court will take a chance on the rising tide of love triumphing over hate in the United States as is shown in the fast-moving acceptance by the American people of marriage equality per recent Pew research.

As the greatest American civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., advised, “I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Hate is too great a burden to bear. Choose love instead. That is the message I will preach during Holy Week, and the message I hope the Supreme Court will hear from millions and millions of Americans.

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