I feel like so many people think that this is the end the journey. I can’t help but think this is really only the beginning. Most of my adult life has been spent hoping for the day that the people around me would, as a vast majority, agree that so many of my friends and I deserve having the same rights as anyone else. I fully endorse everyone’s right to have differing opinions. And anyone who knows me well knows that I always want to get to the root of the issue to understand opposing viewpoints. So I’ve been thinking over the years what is it that keeps people from feeling like we all deserve the same rights, across the board on any issue. I’ve never been the type of person to really get into a public display of political viewpoints or stance but I spent a lot of time over the last couple of months, heck, years, silently trying to understand the big picture. The biggest thing opponents of marriage equality seem to say is they want to protect the sanctity and definition of marriage. I think religion and up bringing and the combination of the two are integral components for formulating views and understanding as a child and then a young adult and those cornerstones shape us into an adult. The problem I see with the argument that marriage on a religious basis should be protected because it has been defined as being between the man and a woman is that, to me at least, the core nature of marriage is really founded on something entirely different. The signs I saw around South Portland over the last month or so say “vote no on 1. Don’t redefine marriage.” When I read signs that tell me not to redefine marriage this is really what gets me. I was brought up Catholic. And for all of the struggles I have in regards to Catholicism, one thing I can say for certain is that anytime marriage was a topic in Sunday school I never, under any circumstance, was lead to believe that the core value of marriage hinged on the fact that it was special because it was between a man and a woman. In thinking about specifically defined genders being the core argument against legalizing gay marriage it actually makes me sad. It makes me wonder if marriage is even something I should want some day. As a kid growing up in my household with my family and relatives all being very Catholic, I was raised to believe that the core value of marriage was the commitment to someone else who you love and want to spend your life with. I grew up believing that marriage was founded on cherishing one relationship above any other relationship. If people are opposed to marriage equality on the grounds that they don’t feel the concept itself should be redefined maybe the bigger issue here is in the definition itself. On principle I want to be able to marry the person I love, but if the value of marriage to so many other people is simply the gender the people engaging in it, it kind of makes me feel bad for anyone who is married based on that as a foundation. The fact that yesterday a little over half of my state agreed that I can marry whoever I want regardless of gender is really a tiny step in this journey. It means that a little less than half of my state still thinks that so many of my friends and I are lesser people and that our rights are up for debate. So am I happy for this new day? One in which I have been granted the same rights as other people around me? Of course. Am I a little saddened that it took a bunch of people stepping up and filling out little bubbles on a scantron sheet to grant me that? You better believe it. In the words of Macklemore, “a certificate of paper ain’t gonna solve it all, but it’s a damn good place to start.” Maybe we should have started with a vote on the literal definition of marriage. Truly, the most concerning thing about winning the vote on question 1 by such a small margin is that a little less than half of my state and the majority of this country thinks that the most important thing about marriage is the gender of the parties involved rather than genuine love, deep commitment and the innate desire to spend a lifetime with the one person who means the most to them. I can’t help but feel sad for all the people who are married for any reason other than those. And to everyone who is married for the right reasons, and to all my friends and family who will… today is a good day. It’s day one.