Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The marriage debate

It seemed paradoxical that as Barry and I were issued a marriage license in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at the same time the United Methodist General Conference in Tampa and the state of North Carolina (where my daughter lives) were debating the status of gay couples from their perspective. As you may have read, ultimately the Methodist debate ended, leaving in tact within the Book of Discipline language that states “homosexual practice is incompatible with Christian teaching” and banning ordination of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions, including the use of church property for those blessings. While this intense debate was going on and people were being wounded, Barry and I were greeted with upmost professionalism from the Town Clerk who issued our license. Everyone in the Clerk’s office offered congratulatory comments and wished us well in our marriage. Their comments and actions demonstrated that gay marriage had been normalized there. Amazingly, when they issued the license, the sky did not crash in nor was the marriage of any other couple threatened by ours. Then we made our way to the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, a United Church of Christ, founded in 1673, one hundred and three years prior to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence that included these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” In West Tisbury, the staff’s welcome seemed rooted in a deep sense of hospitality and justice for all. On Saturday at our wedding, there could not have been any more joy and love surrounding us. Our families were there to celebrate with us our sixteen years of life together and to wish us well on our continued marriage journey. Their warmth, love, grace and joy lifted our souls and again, the sky did not crash in nor was the marriage of any couple threatened by the joy and love of ours.

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