we got hitched!

we got hitched!

leanne and i got married yesterday!

here’s a lovely article from our friend jim lowder, writing for the baptist peace fellowship network:

Valentine’s Day and the Great Marriage Rebellion in SF

Jerene and I got an unexpected Valentine’s Day present this evening. We received a phone call from longtime friends Moya Watson and Leanne Waldal. Moya was on our staff at Dolores Street Community Services in San Francisco back in the late 80s. Among many of her talents, she was a computer guru who led our nonprofit (and church) into the computer age. We have remained good friends ever since.

When Moya and Leanne called, it was hard to hear them, partly because Moya was on a cell phone and partly because of a lot of crowd noise in the background. But we did hear the words, “Leanne and I are getting married!” They were standing in line at City Hall in San Francisco, along with hundreds of other gay and lesbian couples receiving marriage licenses in the United States for the first time. It is the third day of the Great Marriage Rebellion.

We were in tears as we talked. Moya said she had always wanted Jerene and me to be there to “officiate” at their wedding. But this moment was too important to pass up. Most expect the “window of opportunity” to close on Tuesday when judges in several courts hear appeals from opponents of gay and lesbian marriage. All we could do was cry, cheer, and yell, “Go for it!” Her calling enabled us to be a part of their marriage and a part of this historic moment.

This is truly an historic moment in the United States because it advances the cause of civil rights for gay men and lesbians in a significant way. No matter what happens on Tuesday or later this year. It is a legal and social advance.

A marriage license is, primarily, if not exclusively, a legal document. Somewhere along the way this document has taken on a spiritual and social significance. We have merged the legal status of marriage with the blessing of such unions by religious institutions.

When Jerene and I got married, we separated the legal aspects from the “holy union” and spiritual blessing of marriage. We got a license and had – I have to be honest here because there were witnesses – a rather frivolous ” legal ceremony” on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. We did so out of solidarity with our gay brothers and lesbian sisters who at that time could not obtain either marriage licenses or declarations of domestic partnership. Later, we were married in a wonderful service of worship and holy union. Both the legal license and the spiritual blessing should be available to everyone.

What really concerns me is a statement made the other day by White House press secretary Scott McClellan. “The president believes very strongly that marriage is a sacred institution, and that we should do what is needed to protect and defend the sanctity of marriage.”

I appreciate the sentiment coming from Mr. Bush as an individual and a person of faith. What I don’t understand is why our government thinks it has any business whatsoever making statements about what is sacred and what is not! My goodness! A government that deceives its own people and then goes to war in order to dominate the Middle East and control oil; that needlessly sacrifices the lives of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of Americans; that provides tax cuts for the richest one percent of our population while 46 million of our citizens have no health insurance – that government is concerned that its values are threatened by Moya and Leanne loving each other?!  Lord, have mercy!

Joan Ryan, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, makes a very good point when she writes that if “the sanctity of marriage was truly the impetus behind Bush’s campaign to prohibit gay marriage, he also would be pushing for a constitutional amendment against Elvis wedding chapels and drive-through ceremonies. He’d be calling for a ban on 20-year-olds marrying 85-year-old billionaires, and a ban on Hugh Hefner ever walking down the aisle again.” Hollywood stars often marry and divorce in the same week. Yet no one is on a campaign to prevent these people from marrying and no one is decrying that they are a threat to the sanctity of marriage.

Our marriage is what Jerene and I make it. It is a sacred union because of the values that sustain it and the bond that holds us together. It will not be undermined by what anyone else does. What kind of value system does Mr. Bush have when his marriage to Laura Bush is threatened by Moya and Leanne getting married. It is fine for people to oppose gay and lesbian marriage out of values and beliefs and to refuse to “recognize” them. But the “legal” right to marriage is a right that should be enjoyed by everyone.

Jim Lowder

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