DOMA Overturned – My Bittersweet Thoughts – June 26, 2013

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When the news was announced earlier today that the US Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) I was at the hospital and had no time to really process how I felt about this monumental event.

I have had some time to think about it and I would like to share this with you. There will be much written about the day’s events by far greater writers than myself. That is just fine but there is something I would like to say and I thank you the reader for taking the time to read this.

Honestly the news is bitter sweet. I do have a feeling of joy over the ending of at least this part of the discrimination. My feeling of happiness is tempered not by the fact there is so much yet to be done. No my feeling of sadness is that it has taken so long and there has been so much pain and hurt.

Yet that isn’t the whole of my feelings. What immediately came to my mind was comparing my joy at the Civil Rights Act and the ending of so much legal discrimination against African-Americans to the joy some of my friends are expressing over today’s victory.

Today I am acutely aware that the joy I felt at that time really failed to understand the mixed emotions African-Americans may have felt back in the 60’s as institutionalized and legal discrimination was overturned. My joy at that time and my life at that time did not permit me to experience the bittersweet feeling African-Americans may have experienced.

The same way today some of my straight friends who have been great allies but who have never lived the pain in the first person, may not be fully aware of the pain that exists in the victory.

This has me realizing that making connections with people who are not like us is very complicated and very challenging. I have a lot of work to do.

I welcome the excitement and joy of my friends; I too share some of that. I thank them for that joy and their kind words and support. There are other feelings too that exist along side that joy so it is for me a bittersweet joy.

About Ryusho Shonin

Nichiren Shu Buddhist priest. My home temple is Myosho-ji, Wonderful Voice Temple, in Charlotte, NC. You may visit the temple’s web page by going to http://www.myoshoji.org. I am also training at Carolinas Medical Center as a Chaplain intern. It is my hope that I eventually become a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently I am also taking healing touch classes leading to become a certified Healing Touch Practitioner. I do volunteer work with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (you may learn more about them by following the link) caring for individuals who are HIV+ or who have AIDS/SIDA.
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