Remarkable in their source and reach. Both from branches of government, both achieving a level of eloquence and a depth of passion that we rarely hear.
Both provide brilliant examples of expression, persuasion, and ultimately, humanity. Both gave me a feeling of being a witness to history, both brought me to tears.
Powerful words always touch the emotion. As a communicator, I learn from the powerful words of others. These two examples hold spots in history and will long be examined and reviewed for the source of their power.
Some of my favorite passages from Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision authorizing same-sex marriage:
“The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.”
“The nature of injustice is that we may not see it in our own times.”
“The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality.”
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
And some of my favorite passages from President Obama’s eulogy for the Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney:
“Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer could not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group — the light of love that shone as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle. The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court — in the midst of unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness. He couldn’t imagine that.”
“For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.”
“Clem understood that justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other. That my liberty depends on you being free, too.”
“He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind — but, more importantly, an open heart.”