This morning, I watched with about 300 other people as Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia. I watched from the pews of my own church, All Souls Church, Unitarian, as D.C. City Council members called the bill a victory for civil rights, human rights, and religious freedom. The ceremony made it abundantly clear that people of faith stand overwhelmingly for marriage equality. This bill does not in any way impede those whose faiths do not solemnize same-sex marriages from practicing their religion, and it allows ministers all over the District of Columbia to solemnize the unions for ALL of their congregants in the same way, regardless of sexual orientation.
For Unitarian Universalists and many others, marriage equality is an expression of our deepest values of fairness and justice for all. Although I have celebrated other victories for equality around the country in the past year, I wasn’t prepared for my own emotional reaction to the council’s vote and today’s bill signing. Something that I couldn’t name shifted inside of me, and I was in tears. Until this week, I didn’t truly believe that I would ever live in a place where I could marry another woman. I didn’t realize that I had taken for granted that I was in a fight that I could never win. It feels so much more personal for me now to continue to work for a day when I don’t have to worry about losing my rights if and when I move somewhere else. It seems even more ludicrous to me than it did before that some people have the right to marry and others are still waiting.
I left the ceremony with renewed hope and a renewed commitment to full equality for bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people. Equality, of course encompasses so much more than the right to marry – it includes things that many of us take for granted – like being able to use the bathroom safely, the right to comprehensive healthcare, inclusive sexuality education, safe schools, the right to do meaningful work, and so much more. The road ahead of me seems long and full of twists and turns, but if it is paved with victories like today’s, I will be blessed indeed. If you are as grateful for this day as I am, please take a moment to send a thank-you note to the D.C. City Council members whose support made this day possible.More >
In less than 24 hours after the vote, over 850 people have sent notes to the District of Columbia City Council thanking them for passing the the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act. Here are a few of those notes…
I am a Minister, straight, father, and resident of Ward 3. Many thanks for your courage and demonstrating your commitment to justice by voting yes on The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009. You have brought us one step closer to full equality for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation. Your actions are an inspiration to people all across the nation. Thank you for standing on the side of love.
I am much appreciative and you will be honored by generations to come.
I am pleased to feel solidarity with the Council of the District and even inspiration as we, in Maryland, continue to seek equality in this state. Your actions are an inspiration to my congregation and to people struggling for fairness across the nation.
As a former resident of the DC area and an advocate of marriage equality here in Maine, I want you to know how pleased and proud I am that you have voted to affirm human dignity in the District. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 will be landmark legislation-the perfect way to begin a new decade!
Thank you for standing on the side of love and equality. I am a 70 year old heterosexual grandmother, who loves many gay people. Thank you for voting yes on The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009.
On behalf of “straight but not narrow” citizens everywhere, thank you for standing on the side of love.
I am a 62-year-old, straight white woman, and I really appreciate your courage. Marriage Equality is about equality for all of us. Bless your clarity of vision.
Thank you for voting to legalize gay marriage in D.C. I live in New Jersey and my girlfriend lives in New York. Both locations have had marriage equality disappointments recently, and until I heard the news, I was running out of hope. Thank you for choosing to send a message, that all people have the right to marry.
I look forward to the day that I can marry my life partner, the love of my life, the one who has made me complete, in my own home state!
By voting to legalize marriage for this community, you are demonstrating that you understand and respect the people in both your community and around the country. Thank you for making love and life possible for countless people in your area.
As a straight American, I think we need to stand up and fight for the equal rights of all. Thank you for standing on the side of love.
My partner and I are currently living in a state where gay marriage is banned. Thank you for giving us another option.
In a world so divided by ideological based hate, you are a beacon of hope for the future of our children and the world. Thank you for your courage.
Thanks from a straight, married, Christian sixty-two year old woman in the nation’s heartland.
As a straight male, devout Irish Catholic I would like to thank you for voting yes on The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009. Bigotry has no place in this country.
My sister is waiting for the moment when she can marry her partner in Wisconsin. My daughter looks forward to the day when she can unite with her partner in Minnesota. They are thankful to you for taking the risk to do what is right and just. We are hopeful that other states will look to your example!
As a resident of the state of Wisconsin, I look forward to the day when we will have a similar celebration right here at home.
My partner and I were married in California last year when it was still legal. We were surrounded by family, friends, ministerial colleagues, and people of faith who recognize the power of love needs to be increased, not diminished. Thank you for helping to spread the love even further!
Every once in a while we look back and read about historical moments that made a difference during the last century and before, the women’s vote, the Loving v. Virginia. This is just such a case thank you for your courage and compassion.
I am writing this through tears, tears of joy! My wife and I wish to thank you with all our hearts for Standing on the side of Love! For realizing that we too are a family that deserves to be recognized and respected. Even though we are sitting in the other Washington, please know that today we are all citizens of Washington DC. Proud and forever grateful!
This is a huge milestone for those of us who yearn to have the basic rights afforded to so many without a second thought. Your support and willingness to fight the Good Fight will not be forgotten.
Just moments ago, the Council of the District of Columbia took an historic stand for love. By an 11-2 margin, council members voted to legalize marriage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens. Marriage equality is coming to the nation’s capital!
It was thrilling to be present in the Council chambers as history was being made. When the vote was announced, people shouted and wept for joy. Friends, this is what it feels like to stand on the side of love.
I want to thank so many of you for your messages of support and solidarity in recent months. You understand that what happens in the nation’s capital has significance far beyond D.C.’s borders. Further, you recognize that in D.C. we are changing the national debate on marriage equality, showing that this issue need not divide us. People of color and white people, people of faith and secular people, can all stand together on the side of love.
The Standing on the Side of Love (SSL) Campaign made a big impact here in DC, providing our interfaith coalition with a slogan to rally around, supporting our media outreach, and helping us go viral with video. Thanks to everyone across the nation who has helped support the SSL campaign, our efforts are making history.
Of course, the struggle for marriage equality in DC is not over yet. After Mayor Adrian Fenty signs the bill, the United States Congress has 30 legislative days to veto it. We hope that the U.S. Congress will respect the sovereignty of the elected leaders of the District of Columbia and stay out of our affairs. If we need your support on that front, we’ll be sure to reach out. But today, it is time to celebrate.
Please send a personal note to the D.C. City Council to express what this victory means to you.
Rev. Rob Hardies testifying before D.C. City Council.More >
Wendy DeGroat is an educator, poet, and UU from Virginia who advocates for equality and believes that standing on the side of love can transform the world.
What if being gay made you glitter?
Some of us would burst from the womb sparkling
Others shine brighter as our awareness grew
What would you do?
Would you shroud your radiance in dark folds
Shrink from the sun
Scrub and claw this cellular luminosity
Or would you stand glowing with face upturned
Invite the light deeper
Seek kinship with others aglitter as you
What would the less lucent do?
Would they ban glitter from school crafts
Shun resplendence as sin
Denounce and outlaw illuminating unions
Or would they step closer to the shimmering
Claim the glistening in their lives
Bless the beaming as brother and sister
If being gay made you glitter
Sparkle fused to skin like mica in granite
How would you impart light on each path you walk?
What would be revealed in the gleaming?More >
If you haven’t watched the season finale of Glee on hulu yet, stop reading right now. Last night was a huge night for the Glee Club and for those of us who regularly find ourselves singing their mashups. Finn found out that Puck was the real father of Quinn’s baby. Mr. Schu left his wife. Emma and Ken broke up on their wedding day and then Mr. Schu and Emma kissed. Sue Sylvester got suspended (Is it bad that I totally love her?). And the Glee Club won sectionals!!
Why do I write about Glee on the Standing on the Side of Love blog? Because that is what the Glee Club is all about. Glee Club is the place where the young people of William McKinley High who are somehow deemed “ok to hate” find welcome, support, and an opportunity to shine.
Glee Club is where Kurt came out and everyone supported him, where everyone went to school in wheelchairs to find out what life was like for Artie, and where the kids came together and proudly posed for a yearbook picture even though they knew the Glee picture in the library yearbooks always gets defaced. It is where they take the stage, sing their hearts out, blow the crowd away, and get slushees thrown in their faces the very next day. Glee Club is where the gays, lesbians, people of color, disabled, and nerds find acceptance and friendship, and are truly valued for who they are.
I am going to admit it right now. The William McKinley High School Glee Club, “New Directions”, has given me a lot of inspiration. I know it is cheesy, but I believe that Glee stands on the side of love. Don’t judge.