So today, I had the utter privilege and pull to go to the State House to join others for the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry rally and march to the State House to lobby for marriage equality. In short, the Mass legislature will vote today on a ballot initiative to change the constitution to define marriage as only between one man-one woman. This whole constitutional ban on marriage equality is the parting legacy of our former governor, Mitt Romney, who interestingly enough was pro-marriage equality early in his career as Massachusets governor. The whole situation, if I weren't so passionately tied to it, is so odd--because right now, Massachusetts has legal same-sex marriages. So if Mass bans marriage equality, what happens? How would that work? But I digress.
So, the interfaith service was early, 7:30 a.m., so I needed to leave the house absolutely no later than 6:45 in order to park my car, catch the T, and be relatively on-time. Waking up after 6:00 presented a tiny bit of a challenge to fulfill this feat, but I managed. I briefly considered not going, going later, etc. etc....but I couldn't stay away. I didn't have a choice...my whole body, mind, and soul was being called to this service and march of the day. In synchronicity, (if that is a word), one of the speakers talked about how many of us were compelled to be down there today--that it wasnt' an option. It is exactly how I felt...as I rode the T--I was tired, I was coffee-less, I didn't have my clerical collar or even a rainbow pin to show my solidarity...I wasn't prepared, but I was called.
So, the service/rally was great. The speakers, fabulous, the music wonderful. But the march...oh, my. The march...even for me, a seasoned advocate and marcher on many issues and occasions, I just was overwhelmed by a deep surge of pride and passion and rightness....I waved my United Church of Christ Celebrates Marriage Equality sign, and sang with my colleagues, "We are marching (singing, dancing, steadfast, joyous, voting) in the light of God" as we walked through Boston Common, and through the small throng of "Let the People Vote" group....I smiled at them, and as we crested to the sidewalk, a huge cheer went up from the State House steps, of the already gathered groups of advocates under the Mass Equality and my whole body absorbed the joy and solidarity of the moment...it felt like a deep fountain of God's spirit welling within me and I was unbelievably proud and humbled and blessed to be there, in that moment, in that space.
We continued to sing, on the State House steps. We sang patriotic songs, sacred songs and hippie songs. I went to the street to hold my United Church of Christ sign, so people driving by could see it. Three people came up to where I was standing, and said, "I am UCC, that is my church...Thank you!" I am so proud of my church, that I can advocate in its name, in Jesus' name, that all people are loved and cherished by the One who made them.
When I got back to the office ( after a pastoral visit at 10:00 a.m.)I wanted to go back to the State House. But instead, I called my representative one last time to ask him to consider my rights as one of his constituents, and I called my Senator to thank her for her support. And I sat down to write, even though no hastily or carefully penned words can truly capture this experience I had this morning.
It is now 1:39 p.m., and the legislature was to convene for the vote at 1:00 p.m. Guess what? By a vote of 151-44 , our lawmakers did the right thing to protect all their citizens--they voted down the ballot initiative. This is Good News, indeed!