I was born in Los Angeles and have been a proud Angelino ever since. My pride swells in those moments when other Angelinos accomplish something beautiful. For example, in 81 when Fernando led the charge to glory against those nasty yucks from the Bronx my heart danced a jig. In 88 when Gibby smashed that shot to right that broke any hopes the A’s had in conquering our Boys in Blue!
That pride sometimes follows outward into a feeling of gratitude that I was born in the Golden State. Who gets the honor of being an hours drive from mountain and stream and the mighty pacific ocean gilded with the sublime glamour Hollywood provides, Californian’s that who.
Those moments of pride are often invaded by moments of frustration. We are the platform of such notable political heavyweights as Ronald Regan, Richard Nixon, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. We introduced voodoo to economics and the emissions standards to America. California gave us skateboarding, rollerblading, and mountain biking.
California is home to intense pockets of liberalism and the staunch conservatives. We house ying and yang. We are home to the largest growing immigrant population in the US. We are also home to the best chili cheese burgers, the best ice cream, and the worlds best rotisserie chicken.
In the last few months I have been very proud of my home state. On June 16, 2008 the California Supreme Court overturned the ban on Same-Sex marriages. In doing so California ended the two tier system of citizenship that oppressed and illegitimatized many in California.
I was ecstatic to see that the place I love so, has moved towards correcting the wrong on the books and abolishing the system of segregation. There was celebration on the steps of Sacramento and in Los Angeles. There were also cries of “foul play!”
The religious right went to work to assert that their religious freedom will be trampled if Same-Sex couples be allowed to marry in the state. They claim that marriage is a rite that has been given to them to ordain and condone the prosperity of their people and it should not be tainted by those that choose not to follow the way, the truth, and the light.
I am all for religious freedom. So I contend that if Same-Sex couples not have the right to be married and be blessed before God that my religious freedom is being trampled upon.
Where is the love, the joy, the community in ones exclusive actions of claiming the sole right to be in a covenantal relationship with one you love? It is down right inhumane to force someone into a life of shame and darkness because you cannot love them as God created them. There is no excuse to force a beloved child of God to live in the shadows and tell them why they feel is not real, nor is it natural. Shame on you! In my understanding of the Gospel witness you brood of vipers will be meet with contempt on the day of judgment.
I burn with anger to hear someone say anyone of our sisters and brothers that love one another cannot commit their life to service to God, and the community of God as a covenantal partner of another. It is a F’ing shame.
This has led myself and my wife to have many conversations on language. Prior to our marriage we had in-depth talks on if we should even get married in a place that was not open to our dear friends. In the end we decided to move forward with our wedding, with the blessing of our friends, and with language that removed the exclusive nature of him, her [he/she], man, and woman along with the boundary making language of marriage as a place of sole fertility.
We replaced this language with that of partnership, companionship, and marriage as a call to community in intimate relationships founded in Gods call to us as partners in love.
We now are speaking about the necessity to label our union as a marriage. By law we are recognized by the state and national bodies as a married couple. This does not set well with me as my sisters and brothers that make the same commitment as Mere and I have, are not recognized as married. Yet another acceptable oppressive act perpetrated in the name of God in a secular society. It is a travesty of justice that this nation founded on the principle of freedom for all, does not allow our GLTBQ family to openly love and covenant with those they love. In God you trust…indeed the God of your creation and principle. YHWH has got to be stark raving mad at what we are doing in her name.