Jason Collins stepped out of the dark closet and into the pure light of day to make history as the first Gay professional athlete to “come out” in the four major USA team sports: Football, Basketball, Baseball and Ice Hockey. Some in the New York media have dismissed Jason’s bravery with indifference, “So what if he’s Gay?” they bleat. That sort of false nonchalance is an attempt to undercut Jason’s history-making move by belittling him for being something special when they think he is not.
With Jason coming forward, standing ever taller than he already is, and not being just the first Gay professional team athlete to come out, but also the first Black, Gay, athlete, he’s setting record books of human history afire with a legacy that cannot be dimmed; and that brings us straight around to the Supreme Court and their recent, and curiously odd, decision to finally weigh in on Gay Rights in America while they never appeared to care one whit in the past.
Why did the Supreme Court decide at this blister in time to get involved in the closed lives of Gay men and women?
The Supreme effort appears to be a last-ditch — “now or never” — moment when the conservative majority on the Court has this final instant to try to slam the door closed on Gay rights for a long while:
Justice Scalia, almost certainly joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., apparently made a twofold calculation: that their odds of winning would not improve as same-sex marriage grows more popular and more commonplace, and that Justice Kennedy, who is likely to write the decision in the case concerning the 1996 law, would lock himself into rhetoric and logic that would compel him to vote for a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in a later case.
It is not that the conservatives felt certain they would win. It is that their chances would not improve in the years ahead.
Now we see the beauty in Jason Collins’ revelation. He is blazing a bright path forward for others — perhaps more scared and less brave than he — to follow him into the public square to declare who they are and to claim that they are entitled to equal rights, too, and that they should allow to be married and have children and be just as miserable as most of the rest of the married world.
When Jason Collins stepped forward, those who oppose human rights and human love are forced to take a step backward to protect their sometimes indiscriminate, but often specific, hatreds. Stepping forward tends to shut up the haters and send them back into the dark where they can repress and fester and bury their deaths in the cold, rank, depths where no human being should ever be made to suffer; and, oddly enough, the compassion for that inhuman repression comes directly from those who have been there, and lived that, and who will never be made to walk in shame again just for being who they were born to be.
Own your life. Assess your hatreds and then bury them. Live with yourself by loving others. That’s Jason Collins’ legacy. That’s why Jason Collins is important to the all of us.