We are part of a statewide movement of 6,000 faith leaders who support marriage equality. Today’s decision, wonderful as it is, will be appealed to higher courts. So we all still face an intolerable delay and further obstacles to implement inclusive values that are core to our understanding of what it means to be human and beloved by God. We are here today because we believe in the full inclusion of the LGBT community the life of our faith traditions, particularly to all couples who come to us seeking God’s blessing and the blessing of their community.
Yet, without access to a State license, clergy are now still obliged to exclude same gender couples from the sacrament of marriage (and therefore the full life of the congregation) and to treat members of the community, whom we believe are created equal in the eyes of God, as unequal. For some of us, this practice contravenes the deepest core of our religious values and we must end this state-sponsored apartheid.
As Americans, Our Federal Constitution guarantees the separation of church and State and today’s decision is a victory for our justice system and that the rights of a minority cannot be stripped away by the majority. Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling also demonstrates the success of the Olsen Boies team in presenting the facts that there is no rational basis for withholding a marriage license to LGBT couples and that heterosexual and same gender couples are capable of creating healthy and productive marriages and families alike.
We are learning many things from this difficult and divisive issue: The day to day conversations with families, co-workers and neighbors that have been carried out by many of us and the organizations we support, are clearly bearing fruit. Here is some good news to share on the road to equality since the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008.
- Only 1 in 5 Californians believe the passage of Prop 8 was a good thing for the state.
- If a similar vote were taken today, 51% of Californian would vote to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
- A recent poll found that nearly 58% of Californians agree that we should apply the Golden Rule (do unto others as you have them do unto you) to the issue same sex marriage....gay and lesbian couples should have the same opportunity to get married as everyone else.
We cannot rely on the courts alone to ensure marriage equality becomes a reality. Inspired by this decision, the day-to-day work of “coming out” and pressing for full inclusion and equality in the “Court of public opinion and experience” must go on so we to raise these encouraging percentage points even more.
Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision also points to the work we, as a faith community, still have to do with those who differ from us. It is troubling when the bastions of homophobia hide behind misinterpreted biblical texts and unscientific data to undermine our dignity and place in society.
Were it not for religious organizations pouring millions of dollars into the Proposition 8 campaign, I believe we would continue to have marriage equality in CA. At some point, as a religious community, we will all find a way to publically apologize to the LGBT community for the lies, misinformation and in some cases, the illegal activity that characterized part of this historic struggle for justice and truth. Judge Walker’s decision is also a victory for democracy over theocracy as this country still struggles with how we share power, authority and responsibility with each other. As people of faith, we respect those whose faith traditions differ from ours on the issue of same gender marriage. We invite them now to stand with us as fellow Americans and to put aside the rancor that has divided us during this long and difficult campaign as we work together to make a better California for ALL families.
As people of faith, we pray that the witness of our relationships will continue to change hearts and minds and to finally heal the wounds that have demonized us and divided us on the issue of marriage equality. This is difficult and time-consuming work. It also costs money and our ultimate victory will depend on how much commitment each of us can bring to these conversations from the streets and pews, in our workplaces right up to the Supreme Court of this land. These important conversations need to deepen, not end and today’s inspiring decision should not create a false sense of security that our work is over. We are proud to be here today. We are very proud of you. This has been a tough road and the journey to equality is not over yet. We are honored to be your clergy and to be a part of this great San Diegan and Statewide coalition. Thank you.
Photo: The Cathedral Contingent at the celebratory march
For videos of the events, including part of this speech, 10news has good coverage here and here
Video of the whole march here.