Dear Relatively Faithful: "Yes We Can, but No You Can't"!
Yesterday I received the following email that I just made up:
In Tuesday's historic election, my state voted resoundingly to put Barack Hussein Obama in the White House which I celebrated as a symbolic culmination of the work of the Civil Rights Movement - the fulfillment of "The Dream" and all that. However, a few hours later I found out that on the same ballot, the same citizens voted resoundingly to actually take away my established civil rights as a partnered gay male, overturning our Supreme Court ruling that a ban on Gay Marriage violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution. What the Hell happened, and as a fake man of the cloth, what do you think I should do?
Confused in California
I have no idea what happened in California, and I'll tell you that I'll never understand your state - Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Castro, Saddleback, Berkeley, Hollywood - you people aren't so much diverse as you are erratic. Have a look at the Wikipedia article on Proposition 8 and start to see if you can make political sense of it. What an unbelievable disappointment.
As a fake man of the cloth, what I think you should do is:
1) Fight the Proposition. Start gathering signatures now to get a new one on the ballot at the next election, and keep up the educational campaign. This is just another setback in the Civil Rights movement and equality is headed your way. Use Civil Rights Language and rationale - you have truth and morality behind you, and that will eventually win out. California will help set a precedent, and your grandkids will look back on this era with disbelief, just as I look back on the Segregation era with disbelief. (By the way, www.protectmarriage.com, it should be www.protecthomophobia.com. Do you think that 50% of American heterosexual marriages end in divorce because one of the partners decides to marry a queer? Are you afraid that when people see your wedding ring they'll think, "Ahh, he's a total fag!" What's the deal? You should know that the young people I talk to want to avoid marriage because the straights have screwed it up, not the gays.)
2) If you want it, go ahead and get married as a form of non-violent resistance. If you haven't found an affirming religious (or otherwise) community, find a friend, get them legally ordained by the Universal Life Church (it's free and takes about a day), and have a ceremony. Get a civil union to protect your legal rights but call bullshit on that form of segregation by submitting a signed and witnessed marriage license concurrently. Civil unions aren't 'enough', and separate will never be equal. We've reached this point in history because gay couples have become visible and vocal. You've gained the respect and recognition of a large segment of society, and that will only increase as you, and queers in rural areas and the sheltered center of our country come out. I'm sorry about the abuse we 'straights' will continue to heap on you, and I'm inspired by your courage. I'll stand with you, and I'll perform your ceremony once I'm ordained.
3) Try not to internalize this, and don't let a thin California majority in this election lead you to question the sacredness of your union. Marriage is a sacrament in my tradition not when it is recognized by the state, but to the extent that it brings Grace, Love and Truth into your life. Don't let a society that is still full of bigots take that away from you - legally or spiritually.
Here's to Gay Marriage and the possibility of a Queer President in 2016.