This is a huge 26 year Hallelujah for me. I had supported gay unions as a Unitarian Universalist with the sense that eventually they should become marriages. The turning point for me happened because in the spring of ‘87 I was serving on the board of my UU church when my middle sister and the guy she had a 5 year courtship with were engaged to be married in September. At a board meeting soon after this we discussed a letter from a gay couple inquiring if they could use the church for a civil ceremony. We all looked at each other, I made the motion to change the charter to explicitly state the facilities could be used for civil unions between same sex couples. It was seconded and passed unanimously without discussion. What followed next was weeks of mentally contrasting the two couples. My sister and her fiance were received with happiness and pride by coworkers, family and friends. The interest in wedding plans, showers, the honeymoon. I kept wondering what the gay couple was experiencing. If they had told coworkers, family or only a few friends. I thought of paraplegic patients who married after they had been injured. My own experience with marriage, the initial sense of joy, commitment and partnership that had increased over 12 years and with the addition of two children, was emphatically supporting the importance of marriage over civil union. The classes I had taken towards a degree in Sociology supported completely the importance of those feelings in human lives. By September I had come to believe that by the time we got to accepting and instituting a recognized legal relationship between same sex couples, it should be called marriage. The connotations of that word are very deep, extensive, in literature, music and the arts, as much as law and religion. The change in the definition is no more significant in this era than when marriage could no longer be polygamous. The ultimate connotation is the relationship, not the race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. of the couple. It’s time to stop telling consenting adults not to love each other when we should be celebrating their love and happiness with them.
Response to The Ghosts Of Jonesboro: Fifteen Years After A School Shooting, A Small Town Is Still Recovering:
I remember this, because it was so horrible and both my children were in Jefferson County schools in April of ‘99. My sonasenior in high school who had wrestled with the Columbine team for3years. My daughter was in 8th grade atamiddle school. The day after Columbine the fire alarm went off. The students refused to leave the school. Even so far away and overayear later, the shock of these tragedies comes back to haunt those far away from them.
Excellent article.Iwould add that PTSD has been an issue for me since ‘77 whenIbecame an RN. Asacritical care nurseIhave mild problems and am very pleased to have found the newer treatments developed for vets and others, are far more effective than what the Jonesboro community victims would have had even inacommunity better able to handle the numbers. One of the home care nursesIsupervised was involved with the care of many Columbine victims. The ripple effects go far beyond the immediate victims.
Loverly. If any one needs more-with lots of background on the cultural ways that spawned them- check out “Forgotten English” by Jeffrey Kacirk. Ihave been citing it to people who think the definition of marriage is inscribed in titanium. Not able to grasp the concept of living and dead languages.
Now to email this to my 88 year old mom who loves words, England and Scrabble!