Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ding, Dong DOMA is Dead!

What am I to think of the Supreme Court this week? The failure of DOMA is so wonderful for all of the country.  Personally I think that the Church should get out of the marrying business because so much of marriage has to do with 'rights' that come with being married rather than the love and commitment that I believe that faithful marriage means.  The government involvement in the whole structure of marriage make the pastoral act of witnessing the vows of two people to each other a sham anyway.

But with that said, what the dashing of DOMA does is say that LGBTQ folk have a place in todays society just as surly as other minorities in our nation.  Our world is so coupled.  There is a reason that the Noah story talks about the ark being filled two by two.  It is the way that human beings seem to relate.  Being
single I have lived with this 'coupled' mentality my whole adult life.  It gets irritating that many people cannot stand alone.  It is hard to deal with people who always have to consult their spouse on even the most trivial issues.  But that is blog post.

For almost 40 years J and I have lived together.  We are not espoused and unless the benefits to our Social Security could change (our pension would not), we will not be.  We are not a couple in that sense.  We love each other so very much, but we are not an espoused couple.  We stay together because we know that we don't do well apart.
I really understood why Pope Francis has chosen to take his meals with a group of colleagues rather than alone.  He said it was for his mental health.  I understand that.  Human beings don't really do well alone.  We are herd creatures.  And for an extrovert to be without others is suicide.

But I wish with DOMA's being struck down that the world would re-evaluate the meaning of marriage altogether.  I know that the Episcopal Church, when we passed the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions, chose to ask for a full study of the meaning of marriage by the Standing Commission of Liturgy and Music.  We assume that marriage as it stands today is the way that it has always been.  But that is not true.  Marriage has
not always been a sacrament of the Church.  And marriage in many cultures was merely a ways of securing the family fortune or power, not an image "of Christ and the Church."   (If a marriage looked like the relationship between Christ and the Church, I would send them off to a counselor pretty quick!)

I do think that the relationship between people who are married is often something of the mystical.  And I can understand why the Church has been willing to be a part of
this mysterious union between two person.  I must admit I seldom see this mystical union in the newly married, but I do see it in those couples who have been together for a long time.  It is a grace that comes with the burnishing of joy, sadness, hard work, and a degree of holiness.  It is a relationship that is filled with integrity and unvarnished truth.

Throughout the month of June one of the announcers on WRR, the local classical music station, has been playing various selections that could be used for weddings.  As one who has done too many weddings to count and am tired of Purcell, Mendelssohn, or the current sloppy tune too, she went through a good bit of the literature to show what kind of music could be used for weddings.  It was quite informative.  But the emphasis on the romantic was a bit over the top.  It was mit Schlag (with whipped cream).  And this type of  understanding of marriage sets up the wrong expectation of marriage.  And added to the "magic" often expected of sacraments, some young people really believe that the sacrament will make their rather ragged relationship into something of storybooks.  More than half of the weddings  have officiated at have ended up in divorce.  Did I do a bad job?  I don't think so because I don't marry a couple in the first place.  They make the marriage themselves.  All I do is give the Church's Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

The striking down of DOMA will not affect my life except that I may be doing a bit more Same-sex blessings than I have.  I will need to use 'spouse' more often than I have.  But that is a good thing.  But what this does is allow LGBTQ people who are called to coupled lives to live with the same benefits that others receive by virtue of them being coupled.  I am thankful more than I can say for this decision because it was an exclusionary law.  It was a way to marginalize about 10% of the population which is contrary to the Constitution.  But what the defeat of DOMA does say is that LGBTQ people have a voice and it is being heard in DC.  And perhaps it will be heard in other parts of the world such as in Africa or even TX.

Those of us who are different have a right to be different.  We don't have to go through life with the Ark
mentality that everyone has to be alike.  Now I have to figure out what I can call J.  I have always called her my 'roommate' but at almost 70 that sounds a bit frivolous for what has grown between us.  I may have to make up a new phrase--'significant other' is a bit obtuse.  But there is no legal term and when I go to the hospital and I have to answer the 'next of kin' question it has significance.  Guess it is time to get a lawyer.

Now we are still waiting to find out if the Episcopal Church will considered an hierarchical church in the state of Texas.  Go figure...

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