The following is from a paper I wrote for a sociology class I needed for my degree. The story of Emery was incorporated into my parish's history (which I also wrote).
- In 1922 Archdeacon Emery’s career ended in one of the most notorious scandals of the history of the Diocese of California—indeed, in the history of the State of California. Emery was forced to resign his position “for the good of the diocese.” The scandal, which resulted in the end of a brilliant career, concerned the 1904 extension of the antimiscegenation statutes of California and Oregon.
- The Aokis, who had moved to Lake View Colony, Washington, were the target of appalling harassment, culminating with the passage of the Cable Act in 1922 which deprived Gladys of her U.S. citizenship. She was forced to emigrate to Japan with Aoki. While waiting on the dock to board the ship, complete strangers physically assaulted her. Helen did not regain her American citizenship until Gunjiro’s death 23 years later.
Bishop Nichols was willing to “expend political capital” to protect Emery. However, upon the passage of the Cable Act, the loss of Helen’s citizenship and subsequent immigration to Japan, the stress proved too much for the archdeacon’s wife, and the Emerys divorced. Although Bishop Nichols could protect Emory from the interracial ramifications, it was virtually impossible to protect Emery from both the racial and divorce scandals.
- Emery’s love for Nichols was so great that he would not risk being a source of further injury to the bishop by waiting to be dismissed. Instead, Emery resigned his position in 1922. He traveled extensively in Europe where he died in London and is buried in Highgate Cemetery.
Emery’s sister, Julia, was also forced to resign her position as national secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Board of Missions of the Episcopal Church and her position as first president of The UTO.
It is almost beyond comprehension to those living in 2006 that such venomous hate of those different than ourselves could have caused the ruination and disintegration of two families.*
There are three direct connections to the Emery/Aoki scandal and Saint James’ Church. The first is the archdeacon himself. The second connection regards the women of the church. When Saint James’ Church learned that Helen was engaged, The Guild of St. James’ Church showed their progressiveness and not only sent a William IV silver tea set to the engaged couple but also went on record supporting the impending interracial nuptials. St. James’ Church was the only Episcopal Church in the Diocese of California to support the marriage. The support was not popular in the community but the women were resolute in their support. The Guild went farther and reached out to the small number of Asians living in the North County and offered any assistance necessary to combat any repercussions they might experience.
The third connection is the most astounding: the priest who married the couple, H. W. McGowan, would be sent to serve as vicar of Saint James’ Church six years after officiating at the wedding.
“The people who so indulged themselves were, I believe, a fair sample of that class of citizens which pry into private affairs with which they have no legitimate concern. Probably not one person in the crowd at the station could have given an intelligent reason for their hooting.The same may be said of those who are so violently against same-gender marriage today. The only "intelligent reason" they could give is a religious reason based on faulty theology.
If the court's decision enshrines the right to legally discriminate against those one does not like, it will be a repeat of a century ago when irrational arguments were allowed to ruin the lives of tens of thousands of people.
If the decision is against justice, we will "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof" (Leviticus 25.10 - inscribed on the "liberty bell.")
Pray brothers and sisters, that calm heads prevail regardless of the announcement.
Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream
*Unfortunately, it is not inconceivable. We see the same hate directed toward those of same-gender attraction.