Recently two friends of mine shared the same post on my Facebook page. I clicked to find a photo of a young girl holding up a cover of Time, only this cover didn't have Obama or the pope or even Ellen on it. It was the cover featuring a photo of me kissing my wife, the April 8, 2013, issue with the headline "Gay Marriage Already Won":
Once I got over the jolt of seeing my wife and me kissing on the cover of Time (not because we're kissing but because it's the cover of Time), I read the story about a really brave girl doing something that I would not have had the courage to do at her age.
Morgan Sisk is a heterosexual 18-year-old girl from Sundown, Texas. She is a senior in high school, and she's been named "most political" in her class. On the day when her "senior superlatives" photo was to be taken for the yearbook, Morgan wanted to pose holding a magazine cover that made a political statement that she believed in. She chose the April 8 issue of Time:
But the photographer refused to take her picture holding the cover, and the "most political" boy refused to pose in the shot with her. So Morgan went to her principal, but instead of supporting her, he told her that she could not pose with the Time cover. In fact, he actually called Morgan's mother in hopes that she would talk some sense into Morgan.
Acceptance. Love. Tolerance. These are all learned behaviors. It's safe to assume that someone as brave and outspoken as Morgan would have been influenced by a person, or likely many people, who love, accept and tolerate all different types of people. The principal learned quickly that Morgan was raised in a home that supports equality for all human beings. After a heated phone call, Morgan's mother took the day off from work to argue Morgan's point alongside her at the school.
Morgan, Morgan's mother and equality won the argument. Morgan posed with the April 8 cover of Time in her hand.
In Morgan's own words, "This event may seem small, but in all honesty, it sent a shock wave through our staunchly Christian town that has a population of only 1,300 people."
One morning in March, my wife Sarah and I drove into New York City to pose for a photo at the Time-Life Building. During the car ride we discussed all the cons that could come with our decision if we were the chosen couple for the "kissing cover." We voiced our fears for the safety of our children and that of our extended families and friends, and we discussed the attention that the cover might bring to our community and the church we were married in.
It never occurred to us that our choice to pose for the cover of Time would result in an 18-year-old high school senior from Sundown, Texas, becoming a hero of a movement. What Morgan did by standing up for my family will save lives. And what her mother did alongside her will help other mothers -- mothers whose kids are struggling with their own sexuality, mothers who need to teach their own children tolerance, love and acceptance -- do the right thing.
Morgan, this "small event" is exactly why my wife and I chose to kiss on the cover of Time. If this is you at 18, I can't wait to see you at 20.