Posted tagged ‘Marriage Equality’

Happy are they who lead from the back pews

March 18, 2015

blessed

Blessed are those whose names are unknown.

The voiceless ones

who were quiet, so their stories were never heard;
who were overwhelmed, so they couldn’t find the words;
who felt like others had more important songs to sing;
who shared their stories in less-public arenas.

Blessed are those who showed up.

The ones who did the countless behind-the-scenes work

who made the coffee and baked the cookies;
who folded the bulletins and served as ushers;
who stuffed envelopes and licked stamps;
and did all the other Martha chores
that those in the spotlight never even knew about.

Blessed are those who remained in the shadows.

Those who just couldn’t…

who lived in insurmountable unsafe places;
whose closet doors were nailed shut;
who yearned to live in the light;
who were isolated;
whose participation was a financial contribution
…or a prayer.

Blessed are those who moved on.

Those who needed to be elsewhere 

who were battered by the church;
in order to survive;
in order to more fully live;
so that they could find happiness.

Blessed are those who died on the journey.

Those who we knew
and those who we never got a chance to know.

And blessed are YOU.

Those who come next

the leaders (and the followers)
of this generation and beyond,
who find the next liberations
and who work for them to become reality.

GA 220: Intertwining our lives

June 27, 2012

But those who wait For Yhwh
find a renewed power:

they soar on eagles’ wings,
they run and don’t get weary,
they walk and never tire.

Isaiah 40:31
The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation
Priests for Equality


“Wait” in Isaiah 40:31 is the transliteration from the Hebrew qavah, which can mean to twist, to bind, to braid like a rope. This verse reveals the active nature of intertwining one’s life with the life of God. When this intertwining is being done, that person is made strong. Those who “wait” upon God—intertwine their lives with God’s—are made strong.

To “wait” for God can also be seen as the cultivating of an attitude of hope and patient expectation—the very definition of faith. Hebrew words often have multiple meanings. The verb qavah can also be a waiting for God to act, to bring vindication or to rescue the people from oppression; here, however, it is more a kind of quiet inaction: by waiting for God’s empower­ment instead of relying on one’s own resources, one receives an inexhaustible supply of strength.

How often do we in the church hear the words “I’m tired” or “we’re tired”? I remember at the last General Assembly in Minneapolis when the Committee on Marriage and Civil Unions report came to the plenary: almost immediately, a commissioner came to a microphone and proclaimed, “Friends, I’m tired: we’re tired,” followed by a motion to table everything that came out of that committee’s hard work throughout the week.

I wonder:
How often do the words “I’m tired: we’re tired” really mean
“I’m afraid: we’re afraid”?

What must it have felt like to have served on that committee to then have their work disregarded like that?

The Assembly then adjourned with prayer and the singing of John Bell’s hymn, “The Summons”:

  1. Will you come and follow me
    If I but call your name?
    Will you go where you don’t know
    And never be the same?
    Will you let my love be shown,
    Will you let my name be known,
    Will you let my life be grown
    In you and you in me?
  2. Will you leave yourself behind
    If I but call your name?
    Will you care for cruel and kind
    And never be the same?
    Will you risk the hostile stare
    Should your life attract or scare?
    Will you let me answer pray’r
    In you and you in me?
  3. Will you let the blinded see
    If I but call your name?
    Will you set the pris’ners free
    And never be the same?
    Will you kiss the leper clean,
    And do such as this unseen,
    And admit to what I mean
    In you and you in me?
  4. Will you love the ‘you’ you hide
    If I but call your name?
    Will you quell the fear inside
    And never be the same?
    Will you use the faith you’ve found
    To reshape the world around,
    Through my sight and touch and sound
    In you and you in me?
  5. Lord, your summons echoes true
    When you but call my name.
    Let me turn and follow you
    And never be the same.
    In your company I’ll go
    Where your love and footsteps show.

I wonder how many of the commissioners thought of those impacted by their refusal to deal with the issues before them—LGBT people and our relationships—as they sang the words, “will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?” Not many, I think.

That was pretty much it, and we all went home. On the way out the door I talked with a heartbroken minister who lives and serves in a state where same gender marriage is legal; she expressed her deep disappointment in what had taken place, saying “We need guidance from the denomination; we feel like we’re out here on our own.”

And so we wait. We wait for the start of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Some are commissioners, some are advocates for overtures or AIs, some are behind-the-scenes workers or committee staff, some are observers. (I’ll be there as an observer and part of That All May Freely Serve.) As we wait, let’s all take some time to reflect on our lives being interwoven—braided together as one with God and with one another.

The budget fiasco: it’s all my fault

July 30, 2011

So…

Barack Obama is the President of the United States, but because

  • he’s black
    • he’s Kenyan
      • he doesn’t have a birth certificate
        • he’s a Muslim

 

he’s a bad President, the Republicans — and especially the Tea Party extremist-types — want him to be One-Term Obama (well, really they want him to be No-Term Obama, but even they can’t figure out how to make that happen).

In order to make this One-Term Obama vision a reality, the Tea Party folks who say that they don’t believe in big government [but really just don’t believe in big government when it means that they and their friends shouldn’t have to pay taxes and that everyone else who isn’t their friend shouldn’t get any government services (while many of them get all kinds of HUGE government services and/or advocate for them for their friends)] are willing to be the obstructionists who are willingly taking us to the brink of an economic catastrophe that will demolish the economic system of the entire world. Talk about a nuclear option!

The drop-dead (as it were) date for the debt ceiling crisis is August 2, just a few days from now. If there isn’t some kind of resolution to this, the one-remaining-superpower-in-the-world will be in a position to economically fail. Fail! And this isn’t a simple little thing that can be undone easily at a later date once the realization hits that this was a really REALLY bad idea in the first place…

Well, yes…

Now at the same time, the Tea Partiers like Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus believe so strongly that “homosexuality is an abomination” that they think that they can cure people of their “same-sex attractions” as they like to say, kind of trying to say that there’s no such thing as any sexual orientation other than heterosexuality. They own and operate a business clinic in an attempt to achieve this goal. This business clinic, by the way, is the recipient of some of those no-big-government funds… but I digress yet again.

So back to the title and premise of this post: it’s all my fault.

August 2 — the drop-dead date for resolving the budget ceiling crisis — just happens to be the third anniversary of the legal marriage of me and my beloved wife.

This was our beautiful wedding cake

See? It all ties together. At least it does in Tea Party logic.

Why Gay Marriage is a Bad Idea

July 24, 2011

No, not in this way…

But now that I used this cheap ploy to get you here, please stick around and read this post.

My wife and I are one of the estimated 18,000 same-gender couples that legally married in California before the enactment of Proposition 8. Days like today are tough. While we rejoice with and applaud the decision of New York State to allow same gender-loving couples to legally marry, there is a bittersweetness to it. I have faith that one of these days this horrendous provision will be overturned.

In the meantime, back to that “gay marriage” thing…

I sometimes joke (in an unfunny way) that we are gay-married. That’s the thing: we are. We’re legally married in the State of California (since Prop 8 didn’t invalidate our marriages), and our relationship is now accepted and recognized in New York. This is a good thing. What’s bad is that, as we travel around the country, some states say that we’re married, others say no; some say that our legal domestic partnership is legally valid (even when our marriage isn’t), while others don’t — and many states hold that we are legal strangers. This makes for complicated travel. What if we were in an accident? What if… well, what if lots of different scenarios that legally married heterosexual couples take for granted? (And, as a matter of fact, privileges that UNmarried heterosexual couples are granted, just because they are a male-female couple.) See? Gay married. See? Not funny… Not funny at all.

What we seek, and the only thing that makes legal sense and the only thing that is a true “fit” with the foundational ideas of the United States of America’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is MARRIAGE EQUALITY.

Conservatives call it gay marriage again and again and again until it's been ingrained in our psyches. The media has gulped the Kool-Aid on this because it's an easy shorthand term. But it's wrong, and we shouldn't use it! Words matter.

There are thousands of legal rights afforded to legal couples composed of a woman and a man. Various numbers are thrown around, but the truth is that no one even knows the exact number! Some of these are narrow and don’t apply to many people, but others are almost universal. These include the right to be taxed fairly and equally, the right to own property together, the right of survivor benefits — including Social Security, and on and on. The thing that’s common in these is that they are conferred by the federal government.

In order to have true, honest MARRIAGE EQUALITY, the federally-imposed Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has got to go. It’s legal bigotry, and it creates a separate class of people to discriminate against — a truly unAmerican law.

There is legislation that has been introduced in Congress called the Respect for Marriage Act. This would repeal DOMA. It would take us out of the status of being “gay married” and would provide for full legal MARRIAGE EQUALITY.

This bill has been introduced in the House by Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and in the Senate by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Both versions are the same, and both have a number of co-sponsors. If you’d like to know if your elected officials are among them, here is the House list (click on View Co-Sponsors) and here is the list of Senators. This would be a great time to contact yours and urge them to co-sponsor this legislation — or to thank them if they’re already on the list. We live in troubling times, and if you don’t actively participate in the system it will remain so. Know that those who oppose marriage equality are the ones who are the most vocal!

Thank you Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Representative Judy Chu!

By the way, President Obama has endorsed this legislation, so thanks to him too.

So, like many, I join my voice in saying INY today — but let’s not stop at celebrating this little victory and forgetting that there’s far more to do before we achieve true marriage equality.

Let California Ring!

August 15, 2008

This ad has been showing during the Olympics–at least on my Southern California Direct TV-fed television. Awesome!

LA Times Editorial: Reneging on a right

August 9, 2008

Reneging on a right

ENDORSEMENTS 2008: By banning same-sex marriages, Prop. 8 would create second-class citizens.
August 8, 2008

It’s the same sentence as in 2000: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Yet the issue that will be put before voters Nov. 4 is radically different. This time, the wording would be used to rescind an existing constitutional right to marry. We fervently hope that voters, whatever their personal or religious convictions, will shudder at such a step and vote no on Proposition 8.

The state of same-sex marriage shifted in May, when the California Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22, the ban on gay marriage that voters approved eight years ago, and ruled that marriage was a fundamental right under the state Constitution. As such, it could not be denied to a protected group — in this case, gay and lesbian couples.

What voters must consider about Proposition 8 is that, unlike Proposition 22, this is no longer about refining existing California law. In the wake of the court’s ruling, the only way to deny marriage to gay and lesbian couples is by revising constitutional rights themselves. Proposition 8 seeks to embed wording in the Constitution that would eliminate the fundamental right to same-sex marriage.

It’s a rare and drastic step, invoking the constitutional-amendment process to strip people of rights. Yet in California, it can be done with a simple majority vote. All the more reason for voters to weigh carefully what would be wrought by this measure.

Supporters of Proposition 8 insist that the measure is in no way intended to diminish the rights of gays and lesbians, but instead means to encourage ideal households for the raising of children and to put a stop to activist judges. Besides, they say, domestic partnerships provide all the same rights as marriage.

In a meeting with The Times’ editorial board, supporters argued at length that children are best off when raised by their own biological, married mothers and fathers. Even if that were true — and there is much room for dispute — this measure in no way moves society closer to such a traditional picture. Gay and lesbian couples already are raising their own children and will continue to do so, as will single parents and adoptive and blended families. Using the supporters’own reasoning, it would be better for same-sex parents to marry.

Proposition 8 supporters are right that domestic partnerships come exceedingly close to guaranteeing the same rights as marriage, as the state’s high court recognized. Still, there are differences. Some are statutory — domestic partners must share a residence, while married couples can live separately — and others are pragmatic — studies have found that domestic partners do not receive the same treatment or recognition from hospital staff, employers and the public as spouses do.

But it was Ronald M. George, chief justice of the California Supreme Court, who cut through to the essence of the issue in the May 15 opinion he wrote: “[A]ffording same-sex couples only a separate and differently named family relationship will, as a realistic matter, impose appreciable harm on same-sex couples and their children, because denying such couples access to the familiar and highly favored designation of marriage is likely to cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same-sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of opposite-sex couples.”

In other words, the very act of denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry — traditionally the highest legal and societal recognition of a loving commitment — by definition relegates them and their relationships to second-class status, separate and not all that equal.

To be sure, the court overturned Proposition 22, a vote of the people. That is the court’s duty when a law is unconstitutional, even if it is exceedingly popular. Civil rights are commonly hard-won, and not the result of widespread consensus. Whites in the South vehemently rejected the 1954 Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools. For that matter, Californians have accused the state Supreme Court of obstructing the people’s will on marriage before — in 1948, when it struck down a ban on interracial marriages.

Fundamental rights are exactly that. They should neither wait for popular acceptance, nor be revoked because it is lacking.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-marriage8-2008aug08,0,1229155.story

Wedding update

August 8, 2008

Things went really well at our wedding, and it was so much fun. About 140 people were present in our relatively small sanctuary. People who cried, people who laughed, people who listened, people who loved us and were so supportive. Family, friends, neighbors, church and church-related people.

The reception was at our home. Almost everyone came over. Some said that they’d come, but just stay “for a little while.” And almost everyone–including those “little while” folks–stayed for hours. We tried to get around to see everyone, but we couldn’t–so it was great to see people from all aspects of our lives talking together and enjoying each other’s company as if they were old friends. When I talked with my brother afterwards, he said, “You have such cool friends. It was such a good party that you didn’t even need to be there!”

Our theme was sort of Hawai’ian, since we love Hawai’i so much. I ordered the cake from a little locally-owned independent bakery here in town.

This was our beautiful wedding cake

This was our beautiful wedding cake

It was a day that we’ll always remember.

So, please–if you live in California,
VOW TO VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 8!