On Friday, June 26, 2015 I was in Cleveland, OH setting up for a week of hanging out with a couple thousand of my Christian sisters in brothers in the United Church of Christ. People were puttering in the conference exhibit hall setting up various booths one might expect to find at a national church conference. Local church ministries, Sunday school supplies, clergy vestments, competing seminary admission counselors, creation care exhibits and even a compelling exhibit protesting solitary confinement (ok, maybe a lot of you would not expect to find those last two at a church conference – but you should).
It was 9:59 a.m. – a minute before the time when the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States were due to begin issuing opinions for the day.
I had just plugged in the projector for the booth I am co-hosting with my ministry partners of Extravagance and had barely pulled up the ScotusBlog when these words appeared on my screen.
Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex.
Just typing it now brings tears to my eyes, cracks my heart wide open and sends a rush of joy through every fiber of my being.
The exhibit floor FULL OF CHRISTIANS erupted in shouts and cries of joy. We wept, we hugged, we smiled, we texted partners, lovers, friends and even partners.
“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,” Kennedy wrote. “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,” Kennedy said. “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.” – Justice Kennedy
Hallelujah and praise God who stretched the rainbow promise of love across the arch of the universe!
When I woke on Saturday morning I was sure it had been a dream. But no, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has said that I, a citizen of this country, a woman whom God created to love a woman, has the same legal right to marry as any other citizen of this land. Yes, it happened. Yes, it is real. Yes, the bells are ringing – liberty and justice for MORE.*
And as expected there has been a terrible and horrible backlash from conservative “Christian” leaders who grow rich and powerful off the fear and pain of others. All weekend I have intentionally avoided even the faintest whisper of negativity.
But today – I am ready to start absorbing the ignorant, hateful, shameful and faithless vitriol swirling in the air that is otherwise electric with wisdom, love, pride and grace. Please add in the comments here what has angered, hurt or confounded you. Let me take it from you, pass that cup from your heart and give it to me to bear. I will read every one, I will think deeply about them, I will probably weep profusely then I will stand up tall and keep on speakin’ truth the powers that persist in perpetuating lies that separate us one from another and from God.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
* But not ALL.
We are not done. Not by a long shot. Not for LGBT people (who can still be fired from a job for their sexuality – among other things), not for black and brown lives (who are still killed for the color of their skin – among other things), not for women (who are still paid less than their male counterparts – among other things) …indigenous peoples, immigrants, children, animals and the earth on which we walk. All means all and we cannot rest until liberty and justice for ALL actually means ALL.