I took a vow to sign no more wedding licenses “until all can wed” in the state where I’m a minister.
That was three and a half years ago. The denomination that ordained me for ministry had just made it possible for LGBT folk to be ordained as ministers of Word and Sacrament of the Church.
While I was elated about the ruling and how it took seriously the biblical reality that we are all created equally in God’s image, the vote also had a surprising effect on me.
It magnified for me how far we still had to go for real equality.
So, I made a vow: “… Today I make a new commitment… While we have made great strides today, I believe we have just begun, particularly as clergy. With that in mind, today I commit to sign no more marriage certificates until I can sign the marriage certificate of any two people who wish to commit their lives to each other before God regardless of their gender.”
As I’ve said before, as an ordained minister, it seemed hypocritical to not only actively participate in, but to officiate a ceremony that marginalizes a specific group of people people.
So I stopped.
Thanks to a ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., today, North Carolina is issuing marriage certificates to any two people who wish to commit their lives to each other before God regardless of their gender.
As you can imagine, I am elated.
Now that all can wed, I can start officiating at weddings again. My head is swimming with the names of friends I’ll get to celebrate with as they legally marry the person they love.
As you can also imagine, I still see how far we still have to go for real equality.
Not only are there states where we still have a lot of work to do on this issue, but we all must recognize that legal equality has not historically equated to full and real equality in the United States. There is much more difficult work ahead of us. As difficult as it has been to change the laws, we must recognize that it is profoundly more difficult to change hearts and minds.
Do not let these legal victories in each state stop the momentum of this movement.
Do not let these legal victories in each state lull us into a state of complacency.
Do not let these legal victories distract us from the traction we have gained in swaying the hearts and minds of the majority of U.S. citizens who now recognize that all people should have the right to marry the person they love regardless of their gender.
Yes, let’s celebrate in North Carolina today, but let us also recognize that tomorrow we must get back to work.
As long as there are people saying “hate the sin, love the sinner”…
As long as there are people discriminating because of someone’s sexual orientation…
As long as there is there is shaming, bullying and violence toward LGBT folk…
There is work to be done.
None of it is okay.
As long as there is any of it, there is not true equality.
As long as there is any of it, there is work to be done.
There is work to be done.
Did I mention, there is still work to be done?
Consider supporting Mark’s blogging. Help create a market for Progressive Christianity. Not through big publishers or big denominations, but through the grassroots. We need to encourage the growth of progressive Christian voices in the marketplace. Even a dollar will help.
Facebook continues to make it increasingly difficult for me to let you know about new blog posts like this. Please consider signing up for my mailing list where we can insure you are notified. Just click here!
Mark is a co-founder of The Christian Left. Come and join the conversation!