Day 10: Lift Up A Story of Courageous Love
The message below went out on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.
My name is Leilani and I stand on the side of love. But there was once a time in my life that I didn’t. I don’t know exactly what sparked in me to share my story of courageous love, but the more I think about it, the more I truly feel that it is because I am so very grateful. And the best way to show that you are grateful is to express it. I always try to remember that thanksgiving is a word of action and I was excited to see that there was a place online dedicated to stories such as mine.
I was raised in a strict religious household. I turned 18 in 1998 and always took advantage of my right to vote. In 2000 I had the chance to vote on Prop. 22, which limited the rights of the LGBT community in my state of California. I was told by the Prophet of my church how to vote, and I blindly listened, regardless of my own thoughts.
In 2003, I made the best decision of my life and married Dustin. He was not of the same faith, which my family frowned upon, but he helped open my heart and my eyes to what love really is. How important separation of Church and State is to a democracy. And how equality goes beyond opinion, it’s a right.
I had the chance in 2008 to vote again on the rights of the LGBT community, with Prop. 8. This time, I listened to my heart and reason, instead of blindly following hate. I had learned that love makes a family, and love is never wrong.
I lost my extended religious family over it, but I gained so much. My husband supported me as I walked away from the church, and into a UU congregation.Never in my young life, would I have imagined that I would be where I am today. And I know without Dustin, I would still be blindly following the words of people who don’t really know what unconditional love is. I am glad I didn’t choose that tragic path.
It took courage for a young husband to stand up to his wife’s family, to his wife’s skewed beliefs, and for that, I will be forever grateful. Thank you Dustin, I love what your love has made of me.
I would like to invite you to share a story of courageous love. I truly believe that love should be shared; that by sharing love, love will multiply.