|Rally at L.A. City Hall: (L to R)|
Lori Kizzia, Diocesan Organizer Jim White,
Randy Kimmler, The Rev. Susan Russell
From Los Angeles to Virginia Beach, our members took part in rallies as elected officials, activists and people of faith spoke about the importance of having our relationships recognized.
The timing was both hugely inconvenient and profoundly significant for religious leaders as the hearings fell squarely in the middle of the busiest and most important week in the Christian calendar, as well as during Passover. Integrity's former president, the Rev. Canon Susan Russell, wrote in the Huffington Post:
I'll admit my first reaction to the announcement that the arguments had been scheduled for March 26 & 27 was an incredulous "Seriously?" And yet as the clock has ticked down to Holy Week, it has become clear to me that the preparation happening for the work in the halls of justice is just as holy as the preparation happening in the halls of worship. I have come to see a profound synchronicity between a core value I hold as an American -- "liberty and justice for all" -- and a core value I hold as a Christian -- "love your neighbor as yourself." And I have been deeply gratified by the number of people of faith standing up and speaking out for equality -- not in spite of their faith but because of it.She attended and spoke at a candlelight vigil on the evening of Sunday, March 24th on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall, along with Integrity Diocesan Organizer Jim White and others from All Saints: Pasadena.
The Right Rev. Gene Robinson, retired Bishop of New Hampshire, also pondered what conclusions could be drawn from this religious and judicial overlap in a guest column in the Washington Post.
"It was not lost on this person of faith that the Supreme Court hearings on marriage equality took place during the season of Passover for Jews and Holy Week for Christians. Was it coincidence, providence or simply God’s divine sense of humor, that these hearings would overlap with the greatest story of oppression-to-freedom ever told, reenacted at every Seder table? Would the justices find any connection between the Holy Week/Maundy Thursday edict from Jesus to “love one another” and the pleas for justice and respect from LGBT citizens? Time will tell."Bishop Robinson attended the events in Washington D.C., which included both an interfaith prayer service and a themed seder in a nod to the number of people of faith who were taking part.
|The Believe Out Loud crew in D.C.|
Joseph Ward, James Rowe, Alison Amyx & Leigh-Anne Borkowski
|A child shall lead them: 9-year-old |
Leo talks marriage equality in D.C.
"I cautiously entered Holy Week knowing and feeling the mood of America changing, but it was overwhelming to see it confirmed in many ways by so many loving people in and outside of Washington, D.C."Joseph wrote in a Huffington Post column that he was struck by the testimony of Leo, a 9-year-old boy whose two mothers are unable to get married:
"We cheered him on as he talked and read passionately about his support and love for his mothers. As he left the stage he yelled excitedly, 'Mom, I was the youngest speaker!' He walked past and I told him he did a great job to which he smiled and said, 'Thank you!' It was moving to hear Leo speak out for his mothers and gay people like myself."U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy expressed concern during the Proposition 8 hearings about the effect of the current inequality on the children of same-sex parents, an estimated 40,000 of them in California alone:
"There is an immediate legal injury and that's the voice of these children... that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don't you think?"
|Province III Coordinator Susan Pederson and members of |
Integrity Virginia Beach at a rally in Norfolk, Va.
Members of Integrity Virginia Beach including Province III Coordinator Susan Pederson attended a rally on the steps of the Walter E. Hoffman Federal Courthouse in downtown Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday March 26th, organized by the Rev. Mark Byrd of the New Life Metropolitan Community Church.
"The possibility of rain kept some of our friends from coming to the rally but there were folks there from many different faith groups," Pederson reported. "We had a good crowd and the reception by the folks passing on the street was positive. We stood together as one in prayer for marriage equality."
|The Rev. Scott Allen and Dixie Dugan White, co-founders of |
Integrity Bethlehem, at a rally in Allentown, Pa.
"It was a cold day with a fairly brisk constant breeze which made it feel much colder!" recalled Allen, "But the people gathered there sang 'This Land is Your Land' and 'Going to the Chapel' with heart and energy! It was a diverse group with straight allies and LGBT from many walks of life present."
Abbott described the experience as "particularly gratifying" since the Bishop of Springfield, the Right Rev. Dan Martins, has stated he will not permit the recently-adopted rite for blessings of same-sex relationships to be performed in the diocese. On the other side of the state and the issue is the Bishop of Chicago, the Right Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, who has spoken out strongly for marriage equality. The Illinois Senate passed a marriage equality bill on Valentine's Day, and the House will take it up before May 31st. The measure has the backing of governor Joseph "Pat" Quinn II.
|Students, a P-FLAG chapter and others attend a rally on the |
campus of Montclair State University in New Jersey
|Pride flags on display at St. Stephen's Church|
on the campus of Ohio State University
Meanwhile, many others across the country took part in vigils and rallies, or simply prayed that the Court be inspired towards a just and humane outcome. At St. Stephen's Church on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, the Rev. David Soland reports that a petition for the Supreme Court was included in the Prayers of the People.
Rulings are not expected until June.
Were you in Washington DC or at any of the events across the country? Please contact us with your thoughts and photos.