The Vicar’s Corner: Marriage Equality in Illinois

Last week, after much anticipation, plenty of patience and prayer, the state of Illinois, at long last passed legislation for legalized marriage of same gender couples.  This is a major development and step forward toward full inclusion for all people.  The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago led by Bishop Jeff Lee responded with a letter of congratulations and encouragement.  This legislation is not just about gays and lesbians in this state finally having the law to support their desire to marry.  This law effects us all, gay and straight; because it is about equality…it is about what is just and what is fair.  There are legal and financial ramifications to this new law that will affect many, many people.  Truly, this is cause for celebration.  I realize there are many who are gravely disappointed with this new law, claiming biblical and ethical reasons against such action.  Nonetheless and in spite of such reservations, it is about equality for all people… it is about justice for all people…it is about doing what is right.

I’d like to share a post with you that Douglas VanHouten shared on Facebook.  It is my hope you find it to be as beautiful and heartwarming as I found it.  Enjoy and remember my sisters and brothers, it is about what is right, just and equal…but above all, is it about LOVE.
“For the record (with marriage equality being in the news, and having now seen some phrases on Facebook that I’ve listened to my whole life), and speaking from the experiences of my own life: 

My sexuality was not a “choice.” Believe me, high school–and much of life before I stopped letting others’ fears define how I felt about myself–would have been much less painful and much, much easier had I been able to “choose” to be straight.

My sexuality is not a “lifestyle” – my lifestyle includes getting up every morning; trying to be a good person; working at a job that I love and in which I use the gifts God has given me; paying taxes; shopping for groceries; going to church; spending time with my family (including the family I was born into, and the family my partner was born into and I was fortunate to gain); and continuing to form a lifelong bond with the person with whom I’ve now spent 21 years, and with whom I’ve laughed, cried, ached, watched loved ones die, and watched loved ones come into this world.

If I were dying in a hospital, my partner would not legally be able to be at my bedside or make decisions that only he, having spent 21 years knowing me at a deeper level than anyone else, would know how to make. To say nothing of the countless other benefits we are not afforded.

Loathe as I am to get political on Facebook, for me it’s not about politics. It’s about finally being able to fully live the life that so many take for granted and some wish me ill for also wanting. It’s about wanting people to get to know me, and others in my shoes, rather than operate under assumptions. It’s about more than being “tolerated” – how does merely being tolerated make one feel? It’s about more than being “loved” as a sinner, while someone hates my “sin”.

Finally, I can’t put into words the gratitude I feel for the support of my incredible friends and family, all of whom have taken the time to get the know me, and have become an integral part of who I am, even as they’ve let me in to become a part of them.”

Written with love,
Douglas

Amen.

manny@stnicholasepiscopal.org

Manny

[Editor’s note: Two Chicago women were married Wednesday 27NOV on an expedited marriage license for compassionate reasons, as one of the women is seriously ill. Our congratulations to the married couple. “…and the greatest of these is Love.”]


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