We do

On May 8 2010, I had dinner with a friend, a young man who talked and dream about the road ahead; completing studies, beginning his career, finding the right person with whom he could share his life and eventually settling down to begin a family.  Even as we dreamed together the citizens of the state where he lived voted to enshrine in the state constitution an exclusion for his family, denying him the right to have his uniting with a life partner recognized as legal.  And although I knew that would not stop his dream from happening, I vowed to him to work to make his marriage as legal as mine.  Two years later, there has been dramatic change, almost a third of the states in our country are now places where same sex couples can be legally married.  And even in this state polls show that clearly a majority of our people believe all couples should have the right to legal marriage.  What has caused this change?  I believe much  is owed to the bravery and courage of people, like the young man I had dinner with that night, our LGBTQ brothers and sisters who have continually stepped forth to declare “this is who I am and this is who I love”.  They have come out not just on the streets but in the hardest places of all around kitchen tables, at thanksgiving dinners, in break rooms at work, on the battlefields of war and in high school cafeterias. They have risked being rebuked not by the state but by the people they are closest too, their family, friends and coworkers. Some have indeed been turned away and pushed out the door of their homes and away from the table of friendship, but because of their bravery many have not. In other places people have stopped, heard and remembered.  They have seen that young woman across the table, and remembered that they held her when she was a baby and promised her that her dreams would come true. They have seen the brother who fought with them in private but stood with them against all bullies in public because “what you did to my brother you did to me”. They have looked across the break room and seen the coworker who took her lunch hour to listen to their struggle, offer support and encouragement. The have looked across the barracks to see the one who carried their broken body from the battlefield risking even their own life to save theirs.  And they have understood that justice denied their children, their siblings, their friends and their colleagues, is justice denied to us all.  So they too have come from the shadows to stand up for justice and call for marriage equality.  So today on this anniversary, I am not remembering the narrow mindedness and fear of some, but the bravery and strength of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters who have boldly stepped forward to be seen and let their lights shine. And I say to them I have seen you and I am proud to stand with you. And finally, I offer to you today, a variation on a baptismal blessing and commissioning saying to you, “You my sister and brother are a beloved child of God, and you will, and you are changing the world”

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