Marriage equality going mainstream?
Those of us in the LGBTQ crowd are approaching a milestone in history. Much to the chagrin of the conservatives, marriage equality is everywhere. From South Carolina to Southern California, people are speaking out in favor of the dreaded establishment of gay marriage as a societal norm.
More mainstream churches and other people of faith are standing up in favor of marriage equality.
Of course, there are still a few people out there who still think we should have separate drinking fountains but they are starting be recognized for the special brand of crazy they bring to their corner of the world. I should probably give them a break; I realize it must be a mammoth task to constantly focus one’s energies on turning back the hands of time.
Lately though, I have to wonder what’s going on with them.
Instead of standing on every street corner and killing a forest of trees by handing out those little tracts about people going to hell and gays causing tsunamis, they are not showing up. It could be the economy or it could be an overwhelming influx of common sense and compassion. Either way, I don’t miss them.
On March 26-27, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments regarding the Proposition 8 Case from California and the Defense of Marriage Act. Since those of us in the gay community are never at a loss when it comes to organizational skills, we started to organize rallies across the nation. Some of our sturdier stock even camped out in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. to ensure themselves a prime spot on the steps for this incredibly important moment in time. I’m sure the folks in D.C. were happy to have us there because as you know, when the gays move in, property values always rise.
Scanning the crowds of these rallies was a lesson in hope. There were heterosexual couples with their children, gay couples with their children and a host of other people in attendance all eager to tell their stories or lend their support. Many of the gay couples carried signs containing brief narratives of their decades together as couples and their desires to be recognized as married. However, there was something missing from the crowds: the haters.
While I can’t speak to the entire national experience, I know that the vigils in South Carolina were strictly hate-free events based on the reports given by the people who were there. That, as they say at the auctions, is a big damned deal. To be able to attend these events and not have to run the gauntlet through folks chanting mean-spirited slogans or misapplying scriptures signifies a change. There were no inbreeders carrying signs proclaiming that they serve a god of hate. I checked the news to make sure there was no WWE event on pay-per-view and I’m almost certain that there wasn’t a reunion scheduled for the stars of www.peopleofwalmart.com. They were just absent.
With a turnout of 500 in Columbia, another 500 in Charleston and about 150 in Greenville, the LGBTQ community in the Palmetto State was well represented. In the midst of the broad diversity of the gay community along with the friends and family who support them, there also appeared to be a large number of clergy members present. Some carried signs proclaiming their support, others set up tables with information about their congregations. Some even spoke out in favor of defeating Prop 8 and abolishing DOMA. Not many years ago, this would have signaled the imminent end of one’s career as a leader of a congregation. That is apparently changing. That’s due to a little thing called hope.
Clergy members from the United Church of Christ, the Congregational Church, the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church all took time to speak out in favor of marriage equality. They were not alone in their support. Other members of the clergy showed up in robes and collars as faces in the crowd who were there to pledge their support to this cause. While I know they do not speak for their entire denominations or even everyone in their own congregations, I still find it incredibly inspiring when I seem them at an event like this.
We have been reduced and reviled for too long by people who are using religion as a weapon instead of using it as a source of encouragement. I’m not naïve enough to think that there is a big gay revival in the land but I am optimistic enough to believe that hate is beginning to be seen for what it really is.
As more people opt for encouragement and inclusion, perhaps it will no longer be a novel occurrence to have gay and lesbian people attending services and serving congregations in leadership roles. It does remove a great deal of pressure on us when we are no longer forced into the role of the token LGBTQ member of the local house of worship. The simplified wardrobe choices alone will free up about six hours on our Saturdays. Thank you to the spiritual leaders who understand why that is significant.
OUT & ABOUT
Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13 – Macy Alexander will headline shows at Pulse Ultra Club in Myrtle Beach. Her guest on Friday will be Miss Jamie Monroe. Show times are at midnight. Club Pulse is at 803 Main St.,. Myrtle Beach. For more information, visit www.clubpulsemb.com or 315-0019.
Saturday, April 27 – The Dining with Friends fundraiser for CARE Team involves the hosting of dinner parties across the greater Myrtle Beach area on April 27. If you are not attending an individual party, you can still attend the Grand Finale Event at the Clarion Hotel by the Intracoastal Waterway. A donation of $50 at the door will go to support the important work of the CARE Team, which administers to people living with HIV and their caregivers. For additional information, visit www.diningwithfriendsmc.com.
Have a thought, comment or Out & About event? Send Drew Levy-Neal an e-mail to Drew.Levy.Neal@gmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @Drew_Levy_Neal.