This past Monday at Morning Prayer, Joseph Moore said, “It feels so good to have my pride and dignity back.” After years on the street, his life has been coming together again, with a job and self-respect. I remember the day he got his driver’s license back. He said, “I feel like a person again.” It just feels better when you’re a recognized part of society, no longer invisible and on the margins. (Joe gave me permission to share what he said with you).
Last week, hundreds of thousands of New York residents got told they were people by the state of New York, people with the same right to marry the person they love as anybody else. Hooray! At the same time as rejoicing, I want to point out that all the state has done is to legitimize a reality that was already there. Gay and lesbian people have been in loving, committed relationships, raising families, being together for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, all along. I look at my daughter and daughter-in-law, Bridget and Catie McCabe-Strong. They were married in Massachusetts last October, and they live with me, now. They are like any other young couple, struggling to make ends meet, sharing the chores, figuring out who needs the car when, supporting each other through life’s ups and downs --- and loving each other through it all. How can anyone look at a couple like them, and not be in awe at the beauty of their love and commitment?
A woman named Jamie L Manson writes a blog for the National Catholic Reporter called “Grace on the Margins.” Today she wrote, “I have been struck by the effect that the passage of the marriage bill has had on my own sense of dignity. Though I am blessed not to carry any guilt or shame about my sexuality, walking through New York City streets on Pride weekend with my partner, I did experience new, unexpected feelings of legitimacy and integrity. I can finally appreciate how good equality is for the spirit.”
Congratulations, New York State, for doing the right thing! As Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Indeed, it does. There is still much to be done. One state’s legitimizing gay marriage, while a huge step in the right direction, doesn’t end prejudice. It doesn’t give gay couples the right to file their federal income taxes as married people. But it will make a difference.
One of the steps along this road was taken by Corpus Christi Church in the 90’s. Celebrating gay unions was one of the issues that got us in trouble back then, and I believe that our refusal to bend and our willingness to pay the price for that, contributed to this latest wonderful step in the journey. Rev. Denise Donato, in particular, has been a stalwart and life-giving supporter of the gay community for many years. Doesn’t it feel great, to see things unfold like this?!
I pray for the day when every young person who realizes that he or she is gay or lesbian will be able to joyfully embrace their sexual identities with the full support of family, church and state. May each of us be, utterly and completely and joyfully, the person God made us to be.
Blessings and love to all, Chava
On Sunday, July 17 at 2 pm, Jeff Wilson will give a concert at Mary Magdalene Church in East Rochester. $10 and sure to be a wonderful time!
Friday, July 22 at 7pm, the Center for Sustainable Living will present a dvd on Thomas Berry at St Joe’s, followed by a talk and discussion led by Tim McGowan. Free – come and join us!
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Church in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620