The first time I was asked to make a public statement in support of marriage equality was for the Engagement Party for Same Gender Couples that All Souls Unitarian Church threw. To be honest, it was a complete surprise to be asked by Rev. Marlin Lavanhar. I’m still pretty new to town and just honored to be the Pastor in an Open and Affirming church, Bethany Christian. I get to be a part of a community that shares the good news that God loves everyone just as they are, inviting us into deeper relationship with God and one another. Could it get any better than that? Here’s the statement I made at the engagement party that took place February 12, 2014.
“First, I’d like to thank Marlin Lavanhar and Tamara Lebak for the invitation to be a part of this holy event. It is an honor to lend my voice to fight for marriage equality.
“In the first creation story in Genesis, when God ventures to create humanity, we hear these words ‘let us make humankind in our image.’ I hear in these words God’s deep desire for relationship with humanity. It is so deep that we are made in God’s image with the same inescapable desire for relationship, whether that be friendships, families, or marriage. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he too responded out of that inescapable desire for relationship: love God, love your neighbor, love yourself.
“The fight for marriage equality is coming to a legal head. We will soon discover legally what so many faithful people have already discovered, that marriage is a right for all who choose to enter into that adventure. When we deny the right to live in relationship, to be married to a certain group of humans, we are not simply denying them a legal formality, we are denying the image of God within them, the inescapable desire to live in relationship. When we deny the right of marriage to a certain group of humans, we are denying the very spark of God within them and the will of God for all to thrive in loving relationship.
“Therefore, I stand for marriage equality. Will you join me?”
The second time I was asked to make a statement was the the announcement of the filing of an amicus brief of which I had become a signatory. The amicus brief is in favor of moving forward to open marriage for all people, regardless of orientation. The press conference was yesterday, March 17, 2014. My statement is below. You can see a segment from the local news about it here.
“It is my honor to be here, invited by Toby Jenkins and Oklahomans for Equality, to give a Christian voice to the fight for marriage equality. I am in awe of Sue, Gay, Mary and Sharon in their continuing bravery and commitment to move our state and country forward.
“Today, we celebrate another step in the journey toward marriage equality. Some might say that this is a civil issue, asking why the church would get involved. Others, seemingly loud voices, say marriage is a religious sacrament that should stay the way it is in Oklahoma and the broader United States. For myself, and many other faithful, religious people, we support marriage equality for both civil and religious reasons. Like the Civil Rights movement of the last century, marriage equality needs the voice of the church because this is a justice issue. God’s justice, often referred to in the Bible as shalom, is God’s effort to make sure the needs of all people are met, leading to the thriving of life in love.
“As people of faith, we are called to work along side the Spirit of God, making sure every person has what they need to thrive, including access to basic civil rights like marriage. Marriage’s modern purpose is to bind legally, and when people choose to do so, before God, two individuals who have become interwoven by the loom of love. All those woven together in loving commitment should be able to enter unencumbered into the adventure of marriage with its joy, challenges and blessings.”