How Hillary’s Coming Out Brought Me to Tears
We call it “coming out” when lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people share their full selves with others. The actual moment is often years in the making as we waken to, and then accept, ourselves enough to let the world know who we are. This is true for our loved ones and allies, too, as we have seen so dramatically this week in the public coming out of Senator Rob Portman and former Senator Hillary Clinton.
It was former Secretary of State Clinton who brought tears to my eyes by her clarity about the path she has followed to support marriage for same-sex couples and her witness to the journey our whole country is on toward a more perfect embodiment of liberty and justice for all. Always toward, we know, never arrived.
Hillary Clinton acknowledged forthrightly that there are many Americans who think differently than she does about the freedom to marry. Even though, for the first time, recent polls show a majority, 58% of the people, favor the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, this still means that 42% in the United States do not. This is especially important to keep in mind as the Supreme Court hears the legal arguments on the constitutionality of bans on marriage for same-sex couples next week. Whatever way the Supreme Court goes this spring, our public conversation will, and must, continue.
What Secretary Clinton highlighted for me is that every single one of us is on a journey regarding the place of LGBT people in our families, in our community and in the heart of God. And none of us walks a solitary way. We all have the company of both public figures like Anderson Cooper or Wanda Sykes, Clinton or Portman, and of our children, our neighbors and our friends who sit by us in church.
Whether our own child or our President jolts us to search our hearts, we can all come to the place, like Secretary Clinton, where we know what we want for ourselves (celebration of our child’s marriage to the love of her life) we also surely want for others (the parents of LGBT children). Clinton claims this as a step on her journey and invites others to take this step with her. This brought tears to my eyes.
And when we meet those who, like Speaker John Boehner, are at a different place on our national journey, the challenge is to pull alongside them, to sojourn with them for a bit. We can do this honestly because we know what it is to be in the minority. We know what it is to lose, to fear for oneself and one’s worldview. When we have the compassion to walk in their shoes, see the world with their eyes, miraculous possibilities abound. Hillary invited us to do this. That brought tears to my eyes.
Secretary Clinton said she trusts we will find “common ground and a path forward.” Yes. Those are places we all share on the road to a more perfect union. Does her trust in us bring tears to your eyes? Does it inspire you, as it does me, to come out and get going? I hope so.