11 July 2008

A Day for Celebration

Today, 11 July 2008, is a red-letter day in my life’s calendar because two very dear friends are getting married this afternoon. It will be a small event for family and intimate friends in Santa Barbara, California. It’s about time these two people tied the knot. They have been “living in sin” for twenty years!

But this is not just any ordinary old marriage. Bart and Tony will be the first same-gender couple I know to be legally married in California, or anywhere, for that matter.

I am, unfortunately, old enough to remember when the U.S. Supreme Court stunned the nation with the Loving Decision in 1967. I remember how happy my race-blind parents were when the decision was announced. I did not understand excitement because I was too young to appreciate the bold and righteous step the court had taken.

I am old enough now to appreciate and understand. I thank God that I have lived to see the California Supreme Court shock the state and the nation by its stand for “liberty justice for all.” Tony’s and Bart’s marriage is truly a monumental event in American justice and a major step toward equality. The battle is not over, though, and we must be ever vigilant.

But for Tony and Bart, and for those of us who know and love them, today is not about politics: it is about a “loving” event. Eventually they will gather at their tiny mission church and a priest (or bishop!) will ask a packed church “Will each of you do all in your power to uphold these to persons in the marriage?” and we will shout, “We Will!” And I think that’s when I’ll cry with joy. However, that will come later “when the church is over it.”

After twenty years, it is hard for me to be too excited about the "Bart and Tony" nuptials. There will be no change in their daily lives, or our relationship to them. They will still be Bart and Tony. Bart and I will still talk non-stop, each of us trying to get a word in edge-wise as we solve the church’s problems. Quiet Tony will still be in the background cooking up a storm – and can he cook! Occasionally, Tony will offer a pithy, poignant comment, or serve up a sarcastic tidbit to add leaven to the solemn conversations.

No, not much will change except that they will have legal protection for their love for one another.

Congratulations, Tony and Bart!