This piece originally appeared in Spanish at El Nuevo Herald.
For some, Tuesday, January 6th, will be just another day in Miami. For many others, it will be a day of celebration. Some will celebrate Three Kings Day, some will celebrate marriage equality, and many will celebrate both.
Long celebrated in parades and gift giving, Three Kings Day is the commemoration of when the magi following a bright star came to find Jesus. Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Christ. Three Kings Day is when we in essence celebrate that the magi, the three wise men, were acknowledging the gift that was Christ.
And so today, we celebrate that Florida, our home state, for the first time, acknowledges the gift of love in the lives of so many.
When I married my husband four years ago, we had to leave our community and travel to Washington, D.C., to receive that acknowledgement. And in many ways we knew that the acknowledgement was fleeting, as we knew we were flying back to Florida, a state that was unwilling to legally recognize our relationship. It was a bittersweet moment – witnessing the government through Washington, D.C., value and honor our relationship but knowing that our home state we loved so much wasn’t there yet. But now we get to recommit to ourselves, to each other, here, in front of our friends, family, and community, knowing that Florida will finally recognize our solemn union.
We could talk about marriage in terms of rights and responsibilities, a forever promise to be there for each other and be responsible for each other. But speaking in more simple terms, marriage is about love. Before today’s historic recognition of same-sex couples, that love was already present. We had met and fallen in love with our partners. We have loved in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, in joy and in sorrow. Today we celebrate that people, our community and our state, now acknowledge that.
That recognition from our community is powerful. Just like celebrating the magi for acknowledging and cherishing the gift of the Christ, let us take a moment to celebrate that our community now acknowledges and accepts the gift of love, whether between a same-sex couple or opposite-sex couple. That response strengthens the commitment between me and my husband. It makes our community an active witness to our relationship and in turn makes us accountable to our community to continually strengthen our marriage and grow it in wisdom and love.
Traditionally, children will wake up today to find that the three kings have brought them gifts just like they brought Jesus. Let us look for the presents now as we celebrate marriage equality.
Gold, as the gold of many wedding bands that will now be exchanged, symbolizes strength and value. Today, our marriages will be strengthened and valued.
Frankincense, just like love, perfumes our relationships. If you are like me, just smelling it brings me back to being in church and realizing the solemnness of the moment. Today, we are reminded that our marriages are solemn, to us and to our community.
And myrrh, oil used for anointing, represents how today our marriages are given a blessing not only by our loved ones but, now, our state.
We have received the gifts of this celebration day. Let us rejoice and celebrate in community that we followed the shining star of marriage equality and have reached our destination. We have arrived at seeing all loving, committed couples as worthy of dignity and respect.
And that is also cause for celebration, parades, and gift giving – a true Three Kings Day!
Juan del Hierro is director of Ministry Empowerment for Unity on the Bay and was a plaintiff in Grimsley and Albu v. Scott, et al., our freedom to marry case in Florida.