Orange County voted against Amendment One. But it wasn’t enough. Even though a couple of weeks have passed, the pain still lingers. I know. I have friends who effectively have been told by the State of North Carolina they may not love in the way they find natural.

Love should never be considered a privilege. We should all choose to support how our friends and neighbors struggle to find the true love we all seek. And, once they find it, we should choose again openly to honor their decision and their lifestyle.

President Obama has it right: in all aspects of our society, not just love, marriage and domestic union, but the economy, what we pay folks, how we react to undocumented immigrants, in all facets of our daily lives, we should treat people the same way we should want to be treated.

Even though I am not a practicing Christian, I find it ironic that the icon behind the religion touted as being against gay marriage is actually the one who merrily instructed the disciple Mark to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Sorry, can’t get past youth and the King James Version!

Why do I mention this? Because what I find singularly and ironically lacking from the post-vote discussion and action is love. On either side.

We will never, ever get past the polarization on this issue, and on so many other problems plaguing our community and our nation, until we are ready to accept that many, on the other side of whatever issue it may be, believe genuinely, and just as strongly, in what they are propounding.

We must listen to learn. We must honor to have civil discourse. We must engage with affection, not resentment. And we must reach out with love, even while we are being spat on. Nothing is to be gained by responding to thoughtless hatred with thoughtful hatred.