In my best moments these words help and guide me:
- Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9)
- So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger … and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:25, 26 & 32)
And then there are moments like now, where this is what rings true, what helps and guides me (from the NYTimes OpEd piece yesterday by Rich Benjamin):
… In recent years, many straight people have admirably pledged not to get married until gay people have the right to do so nationwide. I can’t ask friends like Zach to cancel their weddings, but I expect them to at least understand why I won’t attend. Straight friends and family need to accept their wedding invitations as collateral damage to exclusionary marriage laws. They should feel the consequences of this discrimination as sharply as we do. (please do read the whole piece here)
I posted on facebook yesterday what I am saying again here: I am joining Mr. Benjamin in his call to boycott opposite-gender weddings. I am not doing so lightly, nor do I think it is the right thing for everyone to do. However, it is right for me, for right now. I don’t know if my small act will be helpful to the movement overall, but it feels helpful to me and my emotional well being.
Yesterday I went to the wedding of a friend, a member of the community of faith I belong to. It was beautiful; she looked stunning, her husband was over-the-top adorable, looking at her the way that my beloved looks at me. It was heartwarming. At my best, this was my experience of the wedding. But, I am not at my best right now.
At one point a friend leaned over, remarking how sweet it was that we were all crying, passing a tissue down the row towards me. I was crying, but I do not believe for the same reasons as my friends.
I was crying because my beloved and I—though right there along side our community—were actually sitting on the outside, looking through a glass door into the institution of marriage. I was crying because it hurt—really and physically—to be there giving witness to an act so powerful, so beautiful, knowing that my partner and I have been banned from participating fully into the same rights and privileges that come with marriage of our opposite-gender counterparts. We’ve done nothing wrong, we are not any different than the two people standing up front. Yet while the rest of the room could see themselves in the couple, remember their special day, or were able to find hope in the bold, radical and courageous act of what was happening, I could only cry, trying to hold back my outrage at such insane discrimination in our lives.
Funny, I have been engaged to be married 5 times: to three men and two women. Being bisexual I have loved people of both genders, and it just happened that God would have me love and make my life with a woman—brilliant, amazing and beautiful. I wish someone could tell me why this love, this relationship is not equal in the eyes of the law.
Friends, I am angry. I have members of my own family who don’t want to “explain my lifestyle” to the rest of their family. I don’t want to rain on the parade of my straight friends, family even, but I just can’t sit through one more wedding knowing you “hope it will change for me.” It hasn’t. And it won’t, unless or until you experience the discrimination as I do and it makes you mad enough, hurt enough that you are willing to stand with me and do something about it. I WANT to be happy for you, newly engaged friends and happy couple-to-be’s. But the truth is, your privilege hurts me and I just can’t sit through another wedding knowing you are fully aware of my struggle and are choosing to participate anyway. Marriage—it is a choice you know, one that me and my same-gender relationship peeps don’t get to make.
This summer I know of a few couples who are having their relationships blessed, but are not getting legally married. I know of a number of churches from many faith traditions who are choosing not to act as an agent of the state and sign the marriage licenses. To them, I say huzzah and thank you. To you I say, what will YOU do?