It’s been an unlikely past few weeks for things that, until very recently, were on the margins of society. Since late June, we’ve seen the entire country rally around the U.S. Women’s National soccer team—World Cup champs 2015, what!—and many Americans celebrate the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. And, crazy as it may seem, those two things came together last week.
Houston Dash players Ella Masar and Erin McLeod announced on Twitter last week that they had tied the knot:
— Ella Masar (@emasar3) July 8, 2015
— erin mcleod (@erinmcleod18) July 8, 2015
McLeod and Masar’s relationship serves as a bit of a mirror to the country’s own relationship with gay marriage in recent years. Only four years ago, Masar penned a column for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ website decrying the “ungodly lifestyles” of some of the women she encountered through the sport, specifically citing homosexuality. But like many Americans, Masar’s attitudes shifted as she began to better know the gay people she denounced—a process that included falling in love with McLeod. As she wrote in an essay for Pitchside Report, living as she is stopped seeming at odds with her faith once she met her now-wife:
You see, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that I am deeply in love with Erin Katrina McLeod. Yes, I know, she is a woman. Yes, I hear you, it is wrong. Yes, I know, I am sinning. Yet, please tell me who can throw the first stone? […]
Trust me when I say, living in the “light” is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. It was the moment where I let go of my pain, of all of my anger. When I started to understand the power of true forgiveness. When I accepted all my mistakes, and finally took a hard look at the selfish human being that I had become.
Every day I have to continually remind myself of who I am and who I want to be—who Jesus has called me to be and by loving Erin, who only reinforces that, you think she hinders it.
It’s a sweet story, and one that demonstrates the capacity for people to grow and change. That’s an ability that’s led even the great state of Texas to recognize the union between Erin McLeod and Ella Masar. (It’s unclear where the wedding was held and whether their teammate Carli Lloyd attended the ceremony, or if she was still busy scoring on Japan.) We’re living in a country where women can make a living playing soccer and get married to their teammates. That’s not a sentence that would have made much sense even just a few years ago.