Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Equality Advances Today even though Made Harder Yesterday

John and I have never wanted anything special over the 21 years we have been together.  We have just wanted what everyone else has, that is, we have wanted to be treated equally.  I get those who want to argue that the definition of marriage is a narrow one, only applying to a man and a woman.  I argued that for a time myself.  But it does not bear out in experience.  The rising poll numbers in support of equal marriage are a sign of this truth.  No one is experiencing the apocalyptic predictions coming from the staunchest defenders of unequal marriage.  Marriage is not being marginalized, conservative churches are not being forced to do anything against their values, and children are being raised to love one another as they are loved by God, the very heart of the values given us by God.

I well remember the day in 1996 when John and I awoke to learn that President Bill Clinton had signed the Defense of Marriage Act in the middle of the night.  Feeling demeaned was a normal part of our life in those days, but never was it felt more that day when rights were taken away from us that had never been granted to us. It was a victory for prejudice and homophobia.  It was a decision, in fact, fueled by fear.

Now DOMA has fallen, declared unconstitutional as so many of us knew it was from the moment it was passed.

It is a privilege to live to see this day.  As I said when Barack Obama was elected President.  The struggle for justice is long and frustrating and the arc of justice of which Dr. King spoke seems at best flat, but occasionally you get to see the arc bend.  I am grateful to God and to the good people of this country who have insisted on the right.

Yet it was a confusing week, given the striking down of an essential part of the Voting Rights Act.  The notion that we are in a different place and can move on is naive.  The forces of inequality are alive and well.  We must be more vigilant than ever that this most sacred right as citizens is untainted by prejudice and hatred.

I have always believed that the rights of gay couples is a spiritual issue.  As I have participated in the struggle, it has always been in the context of my faith and the faith of Jesus.  So I will mark this moment on the eve of Independence Day at the Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene by celebrating the Eucharist in thanksgiving for a significant advance in God-given human rights.  Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 6 pm, 17 S. Fitzhugh St.

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