No time for hate

10/10/2014, 6 a.m.
Oct. 6, 2014, should go down as a red-letter day in the history of Virginia. The U.S. Supreme Court opened ...

Oct. 6, 2014, should go down as a red-letter day in the history of Virginia.

The U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for same-sex couples to legally marry in the commonwealth.

The high court left standing several regional, lower court rulings striking down bans on gay marriage in Virginia and four other states.

While the Free Press has questioned the court’s wisdom in several decisions handed down in recent years, this is not one.

Instead, this decision is a tremendous victory for those who firmly believe in human rights and equal treatment under the law. And because of Monday’s ruling, we believe it is only a matter of time now before couples who love one another — gender not withstanding — can reap the joy and rewards of legally sanctioned matrimony in every state across the nation and the District of Columbia.

Gay and lesbian couples have been denied many of the rights and abilities heterosexual couples take for granted. Among them: To be covered by a partner’s family health insurance plan; to receive certain pension and survivor benefits at a partner’s death; to adopt children; to be included in family hospital visitation policies during a partner’s illness; to gain certain taxation and inheritance rights; and to have legal protection in the event of a relationship ending.

African-Americans have suffered the pain of exclusion, with a history rife with the chafing that comes from living under abominable state and federal laws that prevent us from being whole. How can we not stand with others who are denied equal protection under the law?

If a human right does not extend to all humans, then it is simply a benefit afforded to a select group.

We should not fall victim to the fears and objections of those who use religion and vacuous arguments in an attempt to coerce us into treating members of the LGBT community with anything other than brotherly and sisterly love and equality.

The Bible was used to justify slavery.

The Bible was used to justify the annihilation of indigenous people in South America and the Caribbean Islands.

“Christian” beliefs were espoused by Hitler and members of the KKK to undertake their evil actions.

And the oft-repeated expression that marriage should be only between one man and one woman loses any credibility when you look at Bible “heroes” such as Abraham and Solomon, who had multiple spouses.

While we are mere journalists and not theologians, we point to Mark 12:28-31 and what is written as the second greatest commandment — “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The high court’s ruling opens the door for each of us to look into our own hearts and ask if it is a fundamental right to be allowed to freely choose one’s own spouse — regardless of gender, race, religion or status.

This historic time in Virginia is not a time for hate.

Indeed, Virginia now is for all lovers who choose to marry.