40th: Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgement to others with modesty.
I'm a proud
IN THE NAME OF LOVE
3 October 2004
"...you are about to become the focus of intense hatred.
It was a comment I read on a blog I was checking this morning. I don't know that anybody put it quite like that before.
On Monday morning, I will be driving Ellen and Shelly to Sacramento to start an 8-day...I don't know what to call it. "Pilgrimage" implies that the purpose of the trip is the destination. The purpose of this trip is the journey. "Caravan" implies a line of vehicles, and there will only be one.
They are joining with over 40 others on the "National Marriage Equality Express," same sex couples who married in San Francisco, and then saw their marriages invalidated, who plan to go by bus from San Francisco to a rally in Washington, DC, stopping in 10 cities en route -- Sacramento, California, Reno, Nevada; Laramie, Wyoming (where Matthew Shepherd was murdered for being gay); Denver, Colorado; St. Louis, Missouri; Columbus and Akron, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the last stop, Washington, DC.
Molly McKay, Associate Director of Equality California says, "Just because the government invalidated my marriage does not mean that I'm not married in my heart. However, Davina and I are denied the 1,138 federal rights and hundreds of state rights, responsibilities and protections provided by a civil marriage license. We intend to get engaged and re-engaged again and again until our marriage license is valid and recognized nationwide."
The group will participate in rallys, picnics and panel discussions. The purpose is to educate people on the necessity of equal rights for all tax paying Americans, not just for some.
On the bus will be one couple who are being forced to immigrate to Canada. Not only can they not be legally married in this country, but one of them is not a citizen, so is unable to be granted permanent status in the United States (which would be granted to her if she were married), and so is forced to leave the partner she loves, or have the both of them leave the U.S. to move to Canada, where they can live legally as a married couple.
For same gender couples, like Ellen and Shelly, who have worked so tirelessly for so long simply to get the same rights that Walt and I enjoy without even asking for them, this journey is the equivalent to a civil rights march, and they very well may be the object of hatred, and perhaps even physical violence along the way. They have not exactly chosen gay-friendly cities to bring their message.
When we were in New York, on our last morning there, I picked up a copy of the New York Times and was flipping through it and a photo caught my eye. It was a marriage announcement of a lesbian couple, who had been legally married in Massachusetts. There were also, among the many wedding announcements of straight couples, several commitment ceremonies for couples who do not have the good fortune to live in the only state in the country where they can be legally married.
It struck me that the cat really is out of the bag. I don't know if I will live to see same gender marriages as commonplace as mixed race marriages are now (and if Bush gets back in office, I'm fairly certain I will not), but attitudes in this country are changing, thank God, and as the current politicians age and die and are replaced by the young people who now don't see what the big deal is, it's inevitable that sooner or later gay marriage will become a reality.
It used to be that the image people had of anyone "gay" was the drag queens in their heels and feathers and makeup, or the leathermen, or butch dykes. Now mixed among those images are people like the guys in fullerbrantner.com, two men who are raising their brand new, 1+ month old daughter. Their blog is full of baby pictures, shower pictures, first smile pictures, happy Daddy pictures.
They are images of the rather ordinary couples standing in line in the rain for days in San Francisco so that they could be legally married.
People are starting to see that gay people are just...people. Ordinary people living ordinary lives. Some are flashy and stand out in a crowd, most are just like their neighbors, and they only want to be allowed to be recognized and accepted as being like everyone else, to make a lifelong commitment to the person they love, and to receive the rights, privileges and responsibilities that all the other tax paying neighbors receive.
The opening statement of this entry was made to Rev. John Millspaugh, a straight minister who is part of this journey across America. He says,
Of course, she was also reminding me of my privilege: I get to choose when to put myself on the line. Our current society puts the lives of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people on the line every day, through social discrimination, religious condemnation, and legal sanction. The same is true for the young children of those couples. I am a straight minister, respected in my community; I am rarely in the position that these families face every day.....
I cant know what the journey will hold, but I don't think that divisiveness will be a major part of the experience. I hope the Caravan becomes an opportunity to build bridges. I hope that when people hear about the Caravan, they are inspired. Inspired to open their spirits to the possibility that revelation is not sealed, that human knowledge might be ever-expanding. I hope they are inspired to accept themselves as God made themwhether straight like me, or gay, lesbian, or bisexual. I hope that those who hear of the Caravan are inspired to discern how the sacred, however they understand it, might be leading them in the coming days.
I cant know what the journey will hold. But I seek to ground and center myself now, knowing that Sunday I will step forward as a risk of faith.
Many participants in this journey are going to be keeping blogs to chart their progress across the country. Anyone who wants to follow, can see the list of bloggers here.
I was invited to go along on this caravan, but afraid I couldn't afford it (and how could I leave Sheila :)), I did not sign up. My part will be to get Ellen and Shelly there, loan them my computer, and read the reports as the group moves across the country.
They are not permitted to hold a rally on the Capital Mall, but there will be a rally...somewhere...after they get to Washington, D.C.
I hope that they are able to soften the hearts of some people as they make this journey, and my own heart will go with them on their way.
Website of the Day
The DNC has a wonderful video called "Faces of Frustration." It's worth the time to download!
PHOPHOTO OF THE DAY