The US Supreme Court has announced that it will hear two cases about marriage equality, both the Prop 8 case from here in California, and challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Decisions will probably be made early next summer. This, of course, matters a great deal and I can only hope that the Justices will decide for freedom and equality and not for the opposite.
We UUs have been affirming the religious right of marriage equality for decades, and, while we understand and respect that other faith traditions have a different view of marriage, we would hope our religious freedom to honor same sex relationships as marriage would be equally honored.
But, in great measure, it should not matter what one faith says or not. We do live, after all, in a country that says it honors the separation of church ad state, and marriage is, or can be, both a civil and a spiritual matter. The state has no business telling faith communities what is a sacrament and what is not, and no faith community has the right to tell the state what is legal or not.
Every UU minister I know has presided at same sex marriages – some legal and some not – and we all know that these relationships are every bit as equal and deep and committed and loving and supportive and healthy and spiritual and wonderful and worthy of honor and respect as relationships involved people of different genders. It is a travesty that they are not honored everywhere and by everyone.
Our nation has always moved in the direction of expanding freedom and the right to be treated equally. Here is a chance to honor that history. Whatever the decisions come to be, the arc of this particular issue of justice is clear, and what is right – marriage equality – will in the end prevail.
In the meantime, we will continue to honor all loving and committed relationships and celebrate them in wedding ceremonies – we can do no less.