These are the words I spoke today in support of changing the constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to allow for same gender marriage equality in our denomination. The overture passed at the Chicago Presbytery by a large margin and will now be sent to the national General Assembly for debate and vote this summer.
As you read it, read slowly, allowing yourself to contemplate the questions I ask here. I think that’s part of what makes it meaningful–my invitation to you to think about the meaning of marriage in your own life.
I know that not everyone can relate to this, but many, many people who are making decisions about marriage equality have had the opportunity to be married themselves. I hope this testimony meant something to them.
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My testimony today is a personal one, because our theology and our polity have personal implications.
I’m preparing for my wedding, which will be on May 3rd, and which gives me great joy. On that day the State of Illinois will consider it a Civil Union, but on June 1st, with Marriage Equality, it will become a marriage, and my marriage license will be back-dated to May 3rd.
Any of you who have walked down the aisle in a wedding dress, I want you to remember what that felt like. How did it feel seeing your beloved waiting for you, looking at you coming toward them?
And if you, on the other hand, stood waiting, watching your beloved walk toward you, looking luminous in her wedding dress, what did you feel? Did it matter that you were going through this ceremonial act? Did you tear up on that day, or get a lump in your throat, or a flutter in your stomach? Can you remember?
Myself, I cried when I first put on the wedding dress that was the dress for me. It is my wedding dress and I will be married in it. I’ll walk toward my beloved and she’ll walk toward me.
We’ll make public vows about how we’ll be faithful to each other, committed to our home, to our families, to our neighbors, and to our God.
Marriage matters. It provides a foundation of relationship and mutuality in our society. It sets an expectation of fidelity and commitment. It’s about love and companionship and affection. It’s about letting my life become our life.
Family matters. Love matters. Marriage matters.
And the church can work for it or against it.