Tuesday, April 28, 2015

All May, Some Should, None Must (Marriage Equality)

I learned that phrasing long ago about Confession (a good reflection on this can be found here) in the Anglican tradition. In light of the conversation going on today in America about Marriage Equality vs. Traditional Marriage, that phrase jumped to mind.

The conversation we are having is about civil marriage and I believe SCOTUS should rule in favor of allowing same-sex mariage in all 50 states (striking down any laws to the contrary).  This would allow that pharse to apply equally to everyone in America when it comes to marriage: All May, Some Should, None Must (equal protection under the law). 

As a priest of the Episcopal Church, I believe marriage is a holy estate that every couple committed to a lifelong partnership needs to partake in (that sacrament). The Episcopal Church has been on going in its discussion about same-sex blessings (you can find the current pdf here) and it will come before General Convention this summer.

A friend of mine, Margaret Lias, who I grew up with at St. James' Episcopal Church in Birmingham, MI wrote a short piece for Facebook reflecting upon her marriage to Meghan.  I share this with her permission:
Meghan and I were married in December of 2006. Prior to that time we had been together for almost five years. Our relationship had obviously been established and we intended to stay together for years to come.

When we moved to Massachusetts from Georgia, friends and family asked us if we would get married simply because we could. We generally gave a resounding, “No.” We didn’t want to give in to pressure. We questioned the heterosexual establishment of marriage. We examined our own hesitations, reservations, and fears. Eventually we decided to get married. We went to City Hall and filled out the appropriate paperwork. The charming (read: husky) woman behind the counter said, “Raise your right hand!” We did so, in rather Hitler-esque fashion. She read us something or other that I have no recollection of, we said, “I do!” and it was over. Like that. After our UCC friend signed our licenses, we were married in the eyes of the Commonwealth and God. And we went on our merry (marry?) way. But we were changed. We suddenly had the support of an entire commonwealth of people and history behind us. People and institutions who said we existed as a unit, a couple, a pair. While we existed as a unit before then, the vows, formality, filing, triplicate, ritual, liturgy, made it different. It made it somehow more real.

What a gift heterosexuals have been keeping to themselves! To have an entire governing body based on hundreds of years of wars and conventions say that we are now a unified front in our love was a powerfully moving experience. Is marriage right for everyone? No. Should people who choose not to be married be judged for this? Hell no! But should marriage be a choice for all? Hell yes! For now I will say, marriage equality is a no-brainer. We shouldn’t even be discussing it. But sadly, because of fear, we are.

Marriage isn’t for everyone. However, the CHOICE to get married or not to get married *is* for everyone.

Freedom to marry. Marriage equality.
To which I say.  Amen.  (Thank you to Maragret for letting me share this.)

David Brooks (years ago) wrote a piece in favor of marriage equality from a conservative point of view: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/22/opinion/the-power-of-marriage.html

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