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Many of my friends are very happy about Friday’s US Supreme Court decision. While I have mixed feelings, I realize that many of them are driven by great love and respect for other people, their dignity, their equality, and their love. And perhaps they’re right to celebrate the Supreme Court’s expansion of the definition of marriage.
A small minority of them, however, undermine their claim to be driven by love and respect when they lash out in hatred, anger, and derisive mockery at Supreme Court justices, or at others who do not share their views. If you write or like a post that calls Justice Thomas a highly unpleasant expletive, for example, the emotion driving you does not seem to be love, and the values guiding you do not seem to be respect or tolerance.
The moral line dividing us does not run between those who think that marriage and dignity are Constitutionally-protected rights and those that think these are issues for Congress or state legislatures. It does not run between those who think the opposite-gender clause must remain in the definition of marriage and those who think it must be removed. The moral line runs within us, between those parts of us that are driven by anger, bigotry, intolerance, and hate, and those that are driven by love and respect for other people, their orientations, and their opinions.
Wherever one stands on the issue, the part of us that wants to mock or condemn the justices who disagreed with us on Friday is probably on the wrong side of that moral line. We should worry less about being on the wrong side of history than about being on the wrong side of morality and human decency.