The announcement last week that the White House has instructed the Department to stop defending the "Defence of Marriage Act" (DOMA) was received as very good news by those who work for marriage equality. Here are a few places where we had the chance to get the All Saints message out:
I was delighted to have had the chance to talk about marriage equality on NPR's "All Things Considered" with the always-fabulous Barbara Bradley Hagerty ... especially interested to hear that Al Mohler appears to have "thrown in the towel" on the marriage equality issue. Listen in.
And the local news -- KNBC-4's Cary Berglund -- stopped by for comment, which ended up in this report aired on Thursday, February 24:
Elsewhere, the USA Today online report included this quote ...
"It is good news for those who support Family Values that Value All Families. And it is great news for those who are part of a growing Protect Marriage Movement committed to Protecting All Marriages ... What the White House said today is that it is unconstitutional to defend some marriages and not others." -- the Reverend Susan Russell, a Senior Associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena...... followed by this question from the reporter:
THINK ABOUT IT: What difference does your neighbor's marriage make in your life? Are your marriage -- or divorce or live-together -- choices up for scrutiny?(You can follow the link above to add your own answer to that question if you're so inclined.
Finally, I ended up writing a blog about the questions I was getting from reporters, which began:
I just got a call from a reporter who "was confused." "Do you guys DO weddings or not?" he asked. And there it was ... a great, on-a-silver-platter chance to set the record straight (so to speak!) So here you go ... direct from our ASC website:
At All Saints Church we understand Holy Matrimony to be a physical and spiritual union, entered into within the community of faith, by mutual consent of heart, mind and will, and with intent that it be life-long. Our commitment to the sacrament of marriage being celebrated within the community of faith informs our policy of offering weddings for members of the parish.
We are committed to treating equally all couples presenting themselves for the rite of Marriage. Effective June 2, 2009, the Vestry of All Saints Church unanimously passed a marriage resolution stating that All Saints is called to make the sacrament of marriage equally available to all couples, and that All Saints clergy will not sign civil marriage certificates for any couples, until the right to civil marriage is available to all couples. Read the resolution.
And then I added this note:
We have not been serving as “agents of the state” on civil marriage since 2009. We still do weddings … lots of them … but we only do the sacramental part of the marriage blessing … we leave the civil part of the marriage contract to a judge or justice of the peace. We’re looking forward to getting back to being able to offer both equal blessing AND equal protection to all our couples … and yesterday’s DOMA decision takes us another step closer to that.Stay tuned for further developments!
I think it’s a really important distinction to separate the civil marriage struggle from the sanctity of marriage debate. The First Amendment gives us the freedom to make decisions within our own faith communities which marriages we will or will not bless. And nothing that happens in the civil marriage equality arena impacts that one way or the other. Hope that clears it up. If not, give me a call …