Watching the proceedings on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 on the "Left Coast" from my perch on the "Right Coast" has been a little like being on a roller coaster.
Marriage Equality passes in the State of California (YAY!)
Prop 8 passes. (SHREEK!)
Prop 8 gets challenged. (WHEE!)
Prop 8 is over turned on August 4th by Judge Vaughn Walker. (YAY!)
Two days ago, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals put the whole issue on hold until the week of December 6th, when an a panel of three judges will rule on the appeal. (SHREEK!)
This is seen as a good strategic move, I'm told, since it will now go to the U.S. Supreme Court. While this is not seen as a "slam-dunk" win, it accomplishes, among other things, two very important things:
1. Gives more states the opportunity to approve Marriage Equality.
2. Settles the issue on a federal level as opposed to state-by-state.
Did I mention that I hate roller coasters?
While others are giggling with anticipation, readying themselves to throw their hands up in the air as their car reaches the peak and they plunge down and around at break-neck speed, I nervously check to make sure the safety bar is locked.
Then, I check it again. And again. My knuckles turn white as I grip that sucker with all my might, shut my eyes, and vow never to get on one of these things Ever Again, no matter how much my children or grandchildren plead with me.
I'm always relieved at the end - mostly that (1) I'm alive and (2) I didn't pee my pants in public.
Well, kiddies, get ready. This roller coaster ride for the justice of marriage equality has not ended just yet. We've got a few more hills to climb, a few more loopy hair-turns to make, a few more lows to dip into before this ride ends.
Here's the thing: I think this ride will end with marriage equality. In fact, I am convinced of it.
At the end of the day, I believe we'll have won not only in California, but in every state in the union.
Of course, "the other side" will believe we have lost "the sanctity of marriage" and that the "world as we now know it" has come to an end.
You know. Like in 1967 when the Supreme Court deemed "anti-miscegenation" (interracial marriage)laws unconstitutional. While that case was winding its way through the legal system, many states choose to legalize interracial marriage at much earlier dates.
You know. Like in 1976 when The Episcopal Church changed canon law to allow the ordination of women. While that case was winding its way through General Convention, eleven women were ordained in Philadelphia and four more were ordained in Washington, DC.
You know. Like in 2009 when The Episcopal Church said that it would not stand in the way of LGBT elections to the episcopacy. While that case was winding its way through the Anglican Communion, several diocese were already nominating LGBT people - who had already been ordained deacons and priests - as bishops.
Ahem! Are you paying attention? Are you catching my drift here? Get your head wrapped around those three things for a moment before you allow yourself to slip into depression.
While the institution was debating the "issue" of marriage equality or ordination, the "fact" was that interracial couples were already married and women or LGBT people were already ordained or consecrated.
It's easy to argue in the abstract when you don't have to deal with reality.
It's scary to deal with reality when "issues" are being argued in the abstract - and your life, your marriage, is "the issue".
Yes, it's an abomination in the site of a loving God to have prevented interracial couples from marrying. The Good News is that, in the end, justice triumphed. And, and, and. . . . this also means that we have some recent case law upon which to build the case for marriage equality.
None of this will be easy. None of it. It's dangerous and scary and wonderful and awful - all at the same time.
So, stand up nice and tall. Remember: You had to have been "this tall" to get on the ride in the first place.
If you've made a commitment to another person to live in faithful, life-long monogamy, you can also make a commitment to the long, scary roller coaster ride of Marriage Equality.
Oh, and by the way: "This tall" = "The full stature of Christ."
The ride continues in December. Hey, if I can do it, you can do it. I'll be the one with white knuckles, holding onto the "Holy Crap!" safety bar, but we'll end up in the place we always do in this country - that sacred, hallowed ground where the rights enshrined in our constitution are more important than majority opinion or mob rule and justice prevails.
Fasten your seat belts, kids. The roller coaster called 'Justice' is ready to roll. It's gonna be a helluva ride!
I don't know about you, but I'll be drowning out the ominous sound of the "tck, tck, tck, tch" by saying over and over again, at the top of my voice, the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.,
"The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice."I say those words as fact. I say them as belief. I say them as prayer.
I say those words as my daily mantra until we arrive, one wonderful day in the not-too-distant future, at the end of this ride called justice.
As Frederick Douglass once said, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress."
In the Portuguese words which became the mantra to end the oppression in Mozambique A luta continua. (The struggle goes on.)