I am usually not one who cries. Really. But Friday was quite a day.
While ironing my pants and getting dressed for the day, I went to check the time on my phone. An update from my POLITICO app announced the big news – “The Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision that same-sex marriage is now legal nationwide”. I was not overcome with emotion. I was not shocked. I was not even surprised. But I was gratified. I was thrilled. I was – and I am – thankful beyond measure.
All day long I was telling anybody who would listen that the General Convention hearing before the Special Legislative Committee on Marriage would be full to the brim and without a dry eye in the room, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling. After much of the day had proceeded in a surprisingly normal fashion – a clear indication that this ruling was not a surprise to those in attendance at the convention – my prediction largely came true.
In a large hotel ballroom (larger than the one in which the committee had met the evening before), several hundred piled in a few minutes before the start. More than a dozen of us representing EPF, including nearly the entire EPF Young Adult Delegation, sat together to celebrate the cause of marriage equality in our liturgy.
Three speakers rose in opposition to the measure, albeit sounding far more resigned than on the previous night, Then one after another, at least a dozen speakers rose to support the resolution to adapt & allow the Prayer Book’s marriage rite for use by non-heterosexual couples. A Chicago priest, testifying in Spanish, recalled an active parishioner saying “the Prayer Book is not welcoming to us” because it would not afford her to marry her longtime partner. A Maryland priest discussed having to marry her wife three times in different ceremonies, and the beauty of the third service in which they had been able to use the BCP due to a technical loophole. A young adult described his now-fiancée being so deeply moved at the sight of a same-sex marriage using the BCP rite, that it inspired the two to consider marriage for themselves.
Among the most moving testimonies of all was that of EPF Young Adult Anne Marie Witchger Roderick. Having married her husband just a few weeks ago, she spoke beautifully about her friends and family’s astonishment at the beauty of our Prayer Book’s liturgy at that sacred event, and the need for non-heterosexual couples to be able to share in that experience as well.
The power of that moment, the palpable Holy Spirit in that space, the energy and love and inertia of God in that room, all coalesced and sure enough, before long I was in tears. Oh, how blessed we are that EPF and many others in our church are here to stand up for love and justice for all.