Saturday, February 14, 2015



Valentine’s Day has always brought fond memories of my life as a same gender loving man. As I remember in my early childhood, whether it was cutting out red hearts and writing sometimes funny, but far more often very serious messages of devotion to my intended male puppy love—my Valentine’s Day sweetheart—all the kids and young adults enjoyed sharing the chocolate and sugary sweets of heart-shaped Valentine’s candies and cookie donations from several neighborhood moms among our classmates and friends. It continues to bring a big smile and warm feeling to my heart, even now some 55-plus years later.

Yet, as those memories brings a smile, growing older and maturing in understanding of who I am as a Muslim gay man, the affairs of the heart grew stronger and deepened my commitment to being a man loving man. Whether it was in my teenage years, my early and later adulthood, or now as I enter into my senior years, love and marriage can be one—holy in Islam, and wholly and legally in many sovereign states, globally. For LGBTQ people, worldwide, samesex marriage takes on a more serious tone. The breath of human relationships where we find love and companionship has expanded and is bursting at the seams. In 2015, such relationships, cross a wide array of racial and gender diversities, love cannot be limited to what is "historical and hysterical" in the minds of naysayers hell-bent on stopping loving couples from marrying and sharing in the benefits of marriage—not only in this country— but worldwide.

In 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Loving v. Virginia that miscegenation was against the law, and no state had the right to limit the race from which one could marry based upon a “religious” belief. This ruling ended the last group of “legal” segregation laws in many parts of the US at that time.  A major win for the Loving’s loving love. Then, people across the US could marry who they wanted to marry as long as it was "a man and a woman," even though they knew in advance—and from a historical perspective— that not all marriages thrived or survived. However, the opportunity to fall in love with someone of a different race or ethnicity did not hinder the process. Yet, in 1967 and for many decades to follow, those who were LGBTQ and involved in or wanted to be in samesex relationships were viewed as aberrations of all that was “religiously good and wholesome.” Fast forward and nearly 40 years later, the LGBTQ community received another "Loving-style" gift from the US Supreme Court when the Lawrence v. Texas (2003) case struck down sodomy laws as a violation of an individual's privacy.  Now, over a decade later, we can celebrate their marriages in more than 37 states—and with more to come—an unfolding of love across our great land making samesex marriage nationally recognized.

The Loving’s loving love is a testament to the will and power of love for all people.  Mrs. Love, in a May 6, 2008 New York Times article entitled “Mildred Loving, Who Battled Ban On Mixed-Race Marriage, Dies at 68,” conveyed Mrs. Loving’s views on LGBTQ marriages. "(Though) Mrs. Loving stopped giving interviews, but last year (in 2007) issued a statement on the 40th anniversary of the announcement of the Supreme Court ruling, urging that gay men and lesbians be allowed to marry.”

As the broader LGBTQ community continues its forward movement for samesex marriages around the world, it is important for me as a black man and other samesex loving POCs to acknowledge that "sex-uations" is not marriage—marriage is a serious commitment and responsibility to yourself and your intended spouse, children and family on so many levels. We must take it seriously in every aspect of our being. I do and I encourage you to do so too.

Everyone needs to remember, whether gay or not, but not for the tenacity and commitment of a Virginian interracial couple named Loving to fight for interracial marriage, and a gay couple in the Lawrence case—both major civil rights victories—then the meaning of “love” between samesex couples would not have the inclusivity of race and the legal power of sexual orientation. If this is not a clear example of "The Loving's love" for all to share, then maybe some folks don't really know what "love" and "Loving" means in this worthy cause.

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