From coast to
coast, Integrity members and other Episcopalians took part in
celebrating the actions of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, which struck
down the section of the Defense of Marriage Act denying Federal benefits
to married same-gender couples and let stand a lower court ruling that
California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, paving the way for
marriage equality to return to the nation's most populous state.
In Washington D.C. the bells of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter & Saint Paul
(popularly called the National Cathedral) pealed for a full hour from
noon to celebrate the ruling. The Very Rev. Gary Hall, Dean of the
Cathedral, told the Huffington Post, "We are ringing our bells at
the Cathedral to celebrate the extension of
federal marriage equality to all the same-sex couples modeling God’s
love in lifelong covenants. Our prayers for continued happiness are with
them and with all couples who will be joined in matrimony in the years
to come, whether at Washington National Cathedral or elsewhere." A
special worship service was held at the Cathedral that evening.
In New York, a crowd had gathered at the iconic Stonewall Inn
in the morning, and the celebration continued all day, spilling out
into the street. By nightfall, Christopher Street was closed to traffic
as hundreds of people paid respect to the place where the gay-rights
movement is widely regarded to have begun with several days of riots in
June 1969. Diocesan Organizer Paul Lane and NYC-Metro Chapter Convener Mary O'Shaughnessy were there.
|The crowd outside the Stonewall Inn following SCOTUS ruling|
Street was again full of LGBT people with signs, placards and flags.
This time however, the NYPD was there to keep order and prevent any
harm, and the LGBT community, their friends and families, were there to
celebrate. How things have changed!" Among the politicians and others
who gathered, Lane said " the undisputed star of the evening had to be
Ms. Edie Windsor, along with her attorney, Ms Roberta Kaplan,
whose courage and determination to fight an injustice through the
courts led to the Defense of Marriage Act (sic) being ruled
unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States."
crowd (many Episcopalians among them) cheered, some weeping, as the
84-year-old Ms Windsor told her story. Bi-national couples, who the
day before had to fear the deportation of one, could now look forward to
the day that they could apply for a US Green Card for the non-American
spouse, just like any other married couple. "Everyone was there: gay,
straight, bi, lesbian, trans, drag-queens, even Rollerena, although
without the roller-skates," Lane recalled. The party went on long into
"I can't wait to celebrate this historic moment at NYC Pride on Sunday.
I am still stunned, and grateful to all the activists who made this day
possible. I know that the 40-year history of Integrity's Christian
witness is part of what made yesterday possible, and I am grateful to
Louie Crew, Susan Russell, Louise Brooks, Elizabeth Kaeton,
and all those whose names I don't know," said Marie Alford-Harkey, Integrity's Province I Coordinator, whose "day job" is at the Religious Institute for Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing.
"I wrote and we at the Religious Institute held a Twitter
worship service (which you can
see by searching #SCOTUSworship). My own reaction was one of great joy - I immediately texted
and emailed April when the DOMA ruling came down. It's tempered of
course, by the gutting of the voting rights act the day before. My
African American lesbian wife says it's hard to know how to feel at this
point, and I agree."
Atlanta, LGBT organizers were invited in advance to be present at a
popular intersection in the city's "gayborhood" to be together whatever
the outcome. When Province IV Coordinator Bruce Garner arrived,
hundreds were already gathered. "People honked their horns as they
arrived at the intersection – except for one woman in a Lexus who would
not even dare look toward the sidewalk! We noticed another parishioner
driving past and waved…..he was headed home and his year old son was in
the car too. He and baby soon joined us. Then his partner, the baby’s
other Dad drove by and saw them, so we yelled for him to join us. So we
ended up with a little All Saints’ contingent with baby Harrison in the
middle stealing the show with his HRC flag." There, too, the
celebration kept bars and restaurants busy late into the night.
knows Integrity's work goes on. The ruling has no impact in states that
do not recognize same-gender marriages, which includes all of the
Southeast, where Province IV is located. "God is good….ALL the time.
In Georgia, some of God’s children don’t quite yet understand that God’s
goodness applies to ALL of God’s children. With the help of our
bishop, we continue to try and educate them."
|Integrity members in Oregon gather for a rally.|
In Portland, Oregon, Integrity members and supporters including Vice President for Local Affairs Matt Haines,
gathered at St Stephen's downtown for a brief prayer and then processed
through the streets to join hundreds of fellow Oregonians across the
from Portland's City Hall for a rally to celebrate the Supreme Court
victories and to look forward to winning the freedom to marry in 2014.
The mayor of Portland and the state's former governor were among the
speakers. Along the way the Integrity team, which included a number of
local clergy, was greeted with honks, waves and shouts of support. A photo gallery was placed on the chapter's Facebook page.
|Northern California clergy gather |
on the State House steps in Sacramento.
Clergy and others including the Very Rev. Dr. Brian Baker (in cowboy hat at left), Dean of Trinity Cathedral, and Diocesan Organizer Shireen Miles
also gathered at the State House in Sacramento, where the Supreme
Court's decision not to overturn a lower court ruling means that
Proposition 8, which suspended same-gender marriages in California, will
soon be repealed.
Integrity's founder, Dr. Louie Crew
said, "We marry ourselves. God is always present when any two persons
say, even with no others present, 'I thee wed.' No court or church can
change our marriages. A court or a church may only recognize or refuse
to recognize them."
Crew called the court's bold action on Wednesday a union between
justice and liberty. "Their swoon brings with it more than 1,000
benefits too long denied to LGBTQ persons. 'Sweet Land of Liberty'
indeed. 'God bless America.'"
These are just some of many celebrations that took place across the
country. In many places, much work remains before safety and equal
treatment are a reality in both religious and civil life. For today,
please celebrate this incremental step with us, and give thanks to God.