Tying the Knot, Part 1

Yesterday, our nation’s capital became the latest jurisdiction–after Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Connecticut–to grant full marriage equality.

Among the first half-dozen couples who made application yesterday–there is a waiting period so they can’t be formally married until Tuesday, March 9–were two dear friends of mine, and of many in Metropolitan Community Churches: Rev. Candy Holmes and Rev. Elder Darlene Garner (Darlene is our Region 3 Elder and Candy will be preaching at MCC Richmond in May).

Rev. Candy Holmes & Rev. Elder Darlene Garner

Last night, I receive a beautiful, powerful reflection from them about their experience–the sheer joy of getting up early to stand in an ever-growing line, and to walk out through the cheers of many waiting couples and other supporters.

Then, they were able to speak with the media about why it matters to them, two African American lesbian women, to be able to marry. They each know the heaviness of being second-class citizens based on their race, and the exhilaration at various moments of liberation of which this was the latest.

Here is part of what they wrote: 

The doors opened at 8:30 a.m. and our hearts leapt. We could not stop smiling though nothing had actually happened yet. But the jubilation was too much to contain. Who would have thought that two African American, Lesbian, clergy and great grandmothers would be poised to declare and honor their love in this way? We were ready and the time was now. We stepped into history after a long journey speckled with dashed hopes and disappointments because of who we love. But no more. Though the sky was as gray as our hair, rain could not spoil our parade this day. No one could take or steal away our joy. Thank God for this moment and for such a time when the essence and importance of our love can be counted.

As Candy and Darlene wrote, it’s all about love. And love cannot be stopped.

Why Are You Hiding, Bob?

In the face of evil one does not have the option of neutrality.

That’s why yesterday I joined hundreds of folks, including inter-faith clergy, at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, to stand in solidarity with Jay Ipsen and the entire Jewish community who were being targeted by the hate squad from Westboro “Baptist” Church of Topeka, Kansas. 

How ironic then that later that day a subcommittee of the Virginia House of Delegates defeated SB 66, a bill to provide protections to LGBT people in state government employment. And even more ironic is the fact that the office of Governor Bob McDonnell said he had no position on the bill.

Our governor, normally straightforward, seems to be playing hide and seek on this issue. First, he says a governor can’t ban discrimination by executive order. He is consistent there, as his own executive order carefully eliminates the protections put in place by Governors Warner and Kaine.

He also says he will not discriminate in his office.  Good.

But, then he punts on SB 66. If it is important not to discriminate in the Office of the Governor, then surely it is important throughout state government.

Why are you hiding, Bob?

Don’t Forget to Shift Your Gears

Several years ago, a dear friend suggested I read “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. I resisted, but he persisted. He even loaned me his copy.

Choosing to trust my friend, I opened the book. After a few pages, I knew I had to buy my own copy.

Somehow, I had thought the book was “the seven habits of highly SUCCESSFUL people.” I thought it was about making a ton of money and having a big house and all the rest.

Instead, it is a deeply spiritual book, designed to help readers re-orient our lives toward our deepest needs and desires, and to work with them in ways that enrich the world. I now recommend it to my friends.

The book is full of nuggets. For example, “Effective people are not problem-minded; they’re opportunity-minded. The feed opportunities and starve problems.”

You may think that too simplistic, but the truth is that if you spend all your time and energy solving problems and no time in the act of creating something new, you will be stalled like a car that cannot shift gears to go forward.