Presbyterian History books will show that on June 19, 2014 at the General Assembly the Presbyterian Church (PC-USA) passed a resolution defining marriage as “two people” and will allow their churches to perform weddings for two people of the same gender in states where those are legally recognized. I have Presbyterian friends and fellow church members on both sides of that decision.
I’ve seen celebration, elation, tears of joy and facebook posts of victory since this historic vote. I’ve also seen more than a few “hand-wringing” posts about inevitable conservative backlash, church splits, and angry members. I’ve read the dour comments about how this is possibly the end of the church/bible/world. To both sides I feel the need to say – “relax.”
To the ones who think the PC-USA just became the most ground-breaking amazing religious body ever, and to the ones who think this vote is the fourth horse of the apocalypse – a little perspective. In reality, all this vote did was give you the right to celebrate something I’ve already had for 15 years.
You see – I didn’t wait for your permission slip – while you were discerning, learning, discussing and cussing – I fell in love, had a wedding, adopted pets, built a house, got legally married in Canada, and built a beautiful marriage based in love and trust. I’ve been married for 15 years to my amazing partner. I’m elated you finally made it to the reception. I’ve got a table saved just for you.
Please don’t mistake me – I think it’s great the church made this decision. Particularly for my clergy friends who have known celebrating marriage for couples in their church family on an equal basis was the right thing to do. It’s terrible when your own church blocks you from doing something God sets in your heart. For them I am truly grateful. Yet when all the horn blowing, rainbow waving and tears are done – please remember – while you have been busy trying to become the church that “allows” my marriage, I’ve been married – wondering if you’re the church I’d allow to marry me.
So I encourage you – to do a few things in your effort to put the horse back in front of the cart. The church I want to celebrate my marriage is a church that:
- Accepts all people as children of God and celebrates love for all of them equally.
- Encourages healthy marriages based on communication, forgiveness, and love instead of roles, rules and “tradition.”
- Seeks justice as a promise over judgment of people.
- Admits the damage, wrongs and harm done previously and works to amend it. In other words – don’t just say, “Oh, you’re okay now.” Tell me “I’m sorry.”
- Moves forward without fear, regret, and sorrow over “the loss of those who don’t agree.” If you married one person but spent most of your newlywed energy worried about another woman you made mad, your happy days are numbered.
So welcome to equality, new arrivals. Enjoy the feast and help clean up the dishes. Since the dinner’s been waiting a while- it’s the least you can do.