Friday, July 03, 2015
Cleaver: Supreme Court decisions provided historic week for our nation
Last week was a historic week for our nation, as the Supreme Court announced two key decisions that will forever mark a victorious few days in the fight for equal rights and basic healthcare.
Since the wedding at Cana, when Jesus turned water into wine, he taught us that the main thing and the plain thing was love. Today that is still true. Only a handful of the Bible’s one million verses relate to same-sex relationships. Neither the Jewish prophets nor Jesus Christ ever spoke of it. What Jesus did talk about was love.
What a momentous day last Friday was for the LGBTQ community, and for their friends and families who celebrate across our great country, knowing that the Supreme Court has affirmed their humanity. Justice Kennedy said it best, I believe, as he stated at the end of his opinion:
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.
This landmark decision is an important step toward ending the discrimination faced by too many families, based solely on where they live and who they love. This country upholds its foundation on freedom and equality. It is basic and simple, yet critically fundamental.
As a minister, it has been a privilege to preside over many marriages and civil unions, ushering two people down a path of love and devotion. And now we can move forward as a stronger country, knowing that path is open to all people, no matter who they love.
In addition, the Supreme Court has said it again: the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Last week’s decision will save lives by helping millions focus on their families, jobs, and quality of life, instead of worrying about what will happen if someone gets hurt or sick. Tax credits are available to all eligible Americans, regardless of where they live.
Chief Justice Roberts states, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.” Partisan politics have come at the expense of people’s health, well-being, and wallets. This decision protects 6.4 million Americans and 200,000 in Missouri from suffering. It is a victory for us all.
Now is not a day to deepen our divisions or throw up our hands and say our work is done. States must continue to work with the federal government to ensure healthcare is functional, full, and fair. Seniors are getting free preventive services, children are not being denied coverage, and young adults are covered under their parents' plan.