Finally things are starting to bloom here in Minnesota. Not the least of which is the legislature passing the Freedom of Marriage Act. I’ve been listening to the debates all day. (That’s my excuse for the late posting and I’m proud of it.) It’s quite incredible to me how threatened people feel by something that doesn’t really affect them at all.
The business arguments, “What if my religion prevents me from selling my product to ‘those people’.” are as hateful today as they were when they were used against black people, or immigrants or women. When you sell bleach do you ask if it’s going to be used in a bomb? When you sell guns do you ask if they are going to be used to kill people? These things violate most religions principles as well.
Does marriage count if it’s sanctioned by a religion other than your own? If not then it really isn’t persecution of your religious values, it is your religion persecuting others. If it does count then who are you to say what other religions may or may not sanctify? Pagans have been marrying same sex couples for years. The issue wasn’t the sanctity of the union, it was the legality. This law rectifies that on a civil and public level. Maybe soon the entire country will understand this issue from that viewpoint.
There are people who believe this law somehow requires them to marry someone of the same sex. Seriously, that’s how confused people are by the debate. There are people who believe this law somehow requires ministers in their church’s to marry people who don’t conform to the religious values. Actually, ministers have always had autonomy regarding who is and isn’t allowed to be married in their churches or religious ceremonies. I’ve known people who shopped for Christian ministers who were willing to concede that their “mixed marriages” were worth sanctifying. These are couples that don’t share the same religion, although there was a time in my lifetime when other kinds of “mixed marriages” were equally frowned upon. There isn’t agreement on this issue even in the religious arguments.
The magnolia trees burst out in blossom last week. Now we shouldn’t have magnolia trees. The ones we do have are ornamental and are tucked into microclimates in people’s yards. Magnolia’s bloom in their native environment sometime in February. They are an old tree, probably survivors of the Jurassic period. They predate bees in the geologic record. They bloom before the leaves come out.
In flower languages the magnolia is a bloom of nobility. It is joyous and bold. As an ancient species there are also associations about perseverance. They are a magnificent flower. What an appropriate sign of the times for them to be blooming when the state declares marriage legal for a joyous and bold population.
Which brings us to tulips (two lips). Tulips need the ground to thaw all the way down to the base of the bulb, and they get planted fairly deep. It takes awhile. Mine just opened today. It feels like spring. In flower language tulips are the flower for the perfect lover. Like roses, a bouquet of tulips can be seen as a declaration of love.
Tulips are one of the plants Michael Pollan covers in Botany of Desire. A really interesting read if you are fascinated by the way humans manipulate their environment. Pollan’s take is that there are plants in the environment that recognize humans as a resource and have manipulated us. I can see it with tulips. The desire, the anticipation, of the color and variety that signals a true end to winter is palatable. The way they retain their stately form, even as cut flowers, until the very end is also appealing.
The tulips are coming out and so are the couples who have been together for years. The partners who want to share their property without paying inheritance taxes are coming out. The families who want to be allowed into emergency rooms and ICU’s are coming out. The lovers who want to hold hands in public are coming out.
Tuesday Mark Dayton, Governor of Minnesota, will sign into law on the capitol steps the Freedom of Marriage Act. The anticipated crowd will be filled with all the colors of the rainbow. Tulips being one of the most diversely colored species on the planet they are a perfect symbol of a community uniting for love.
Soon there will be daffodils and iris, violets and borage and lilacs. Remember last year’s post about Weather? Check the date on those photos. When I said we were a month early I wasn’t kidding! I just hope that we have a mad “catch-up” in the next two weeks or there won’t be a long enough growing season for many of my favorite plants.
Hopefully the rest of the country will do it’s mad “catch-up” as well. Minnesota is 12th of 50. There are plenty more to go.