The results of our recent election left me riding waves of ecstatic hopefulness by virtue of the election of a president I believe has what it takes to lead this country in justice. But those waves were interspersed with much larger waves of frustration and anger by virtue of all those in California who voted in favor of Proposition 8 – a position denying equal civil rights to gays and lesbians seeking to solidify their loving unions through legal marriage.
Those larger waves have a strong undertow. And it’s been hard to stay focused on how much headway has been made these past months on this issue. To roll up my shirt sleeves and get back in the fight. But that’s what I’m doing now.
Among other things, I’ve decided it’s time to stop serving as “government endorsed wedding officiant”. Initially, this decision was based in a desire to take a stand on behalf of justice: until all couples seeking legal recognition of their unions (as marriages) were granted that right and responsibility, I would not sign off on wedding licenses.
However, the issue has since broaded for me into one about the separation of church and state, and I no longer feel it appropriate to serve as representative of the state when obliged to say: “by the power vested in me by the state of California, I hereby pronounce you…” I am first and foremost a minister, called to encourage, guide, witness and celebrate the human spiritual journey grounded in love – not to put my seal on a government issued license.
So, this is to make known that I will continue to offer religious and spiritual wedding ceremonies to celebrate the love and commitment that makes up the core of what is called “marriage”, but will not be signing off on wedding licenses.
While I recognize that my decision may be an inconvenience to those would have wished to have their wedding license endorsed by their ceremony officiant, it is my hope that it will spark greater understanding of the issues and commitment to justice and equity.
Above all, it is my hope that I will have the ongoing privilege of celebrating unions of love, and that legal recognition of all those unions will soon become universal.