Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why is this prop 8 issue important to me?

(Me, Joy, our friend Jenny)

I was surprised by my own interest and call to action on this issue. It may not seem like much, but for me to go protest in 30-degree weather is a BIG DEAL for the man from de islands! I think it was my first protest ever, which says something about my aptitude for civil unrest. But I felt compelled to act for a variety of reasons.

There was a time I would've been the one on the other side of the street holding a sign about 'Salvation' and 'Homosexuality is a Sin.' But in college I became good friends with people who were gay, and I learned that not only were they no different than me, some of them were actually BETTER PEOPLE than me! I was jealous of anyone who was so clear about who they were and could stand in that clarity.

I was also somewhat empathetic to the discrimination they suffered. Coming from a country where blacks are the majority, I did not feel the sting of racial discrimination until I lived in small town Virginia. The same state which until 1967 enforced the 'Racial Integity Act'-a law that made interracial (specifically whites and non-whites) marriages illegal...talk about a misnomer-where's the integrity in that? Not only am I in an interracial marriage, but Jen (not Jenny in pics!) and I lived and were married in Virgina. It was inconceivable to us that there was a time we would have been imprisoned for an act of love.

That insipid law was overturned by the Supreme Court in landmark civil rights case Loving v. Virginia (1967). In its decision the court wrote, "Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival...." Yet today many of us would deny that right from others because we have accepted a certain theological interpretation as universal truth. I am in school to be an ordained minister, and I was appalled by the contributions from various religious movements supporting Proposition 8 (I always maintained that separation of church and state was a sham, but there wasn't even an attempt at subterfuge here!) If being called a Christian associates me with that kind of bigotry, I want to renounce the label. But instead, and even better, I will demonstrate with my life the true Christian compassion that Jesus modeled.

One of my favorite wedding memories occurred two nights before our wedding. Jen's best friend from college was delayed so we went to the Lincoln memorial to wait for her flight. We sat on the steps with a high-school civics class as their teacher played Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech from a boom-box held high above his head (a la John Cusack in 'Say Anything'). We appreciated fully in that instant the immense sacrifices that were made so that we could sanctify or love through marriage.

I was proud have my daughter at my side, teaching her that love has no limits...not color, not gender, not anything. I know that there will be an end to bigotry. The walls continue to crumble. I know that our protesting knocked a few more bricks out of this one.


LaBellaVida said...

What a great thing to teach her.

Rachel said...

I'm so proud of you for going out in the cold, and for teaching Joy by example how to stand up in this country