December 4, 2009 @ 06:37 pm by Jacqui Lewis
24 – 38. That is how it shook out. 24 in the New York State Senate voted for the Marriage Equality Act; 38 voted against it.
I was watching the live stream when the vote was taken on Wednesday. I was sad; I was disappointed.
And I am inspired. I am inspired by the speech made by Senator Eric Adams, who encouraged his colleagues to “benchmark” their lives by the way they voted on that day, and admonished Senator Diaz for speaking from his heart, not from his mind about this issue. I am inspired by the speech that Senator Diane Savino gave, where she said, “So if there’s anything wrong with the sanctity of marriage in America, it comes from those of us who have the privilege and the right and have abused it for decades.”
I am inspired by the amazing community in which I do my ministry — a place where everyone is welcome just as they are as they come through the door; a place where we really mean that welcome, and in which we work together for justice.
Here are some excerpts from an email chain that went around right after the vote.
“The NY Senate just voted on the Marriage Equality bill. 24 – aye; 38 – nay. Equality lost today, but we must use this as a rally cry. Now we KNOW. We KNOW who supports us. We KNOW where we need to focus our efforts. We KNOW where to start.”
“I think it is amazing that it went so far. New York State may not marry people but Middle Church does. Be not discouraged…”
“Middle Church is a prayer realized. It is a green branch that is grown and cannot be stopped…”
I wrote, “The People united will never be defeated! We can rock it; it is the right thing to do and that is why so many people (not quite enough) voted yes.”
And then one of my wonderful congregants touched my heart with this: “On a rough day like today, your short, perfect email reminded me what a great ally we have in you — and it filled my heart with hope and resolve. I’ve been working in the LGBT movement for almost two decades, from doing AIDS prevention education in Chicago in 1990 to being the ACLU’s marriage campaign manager to my new position as ED of the National Stonewall Democrats…I have been on the losing end of the stick quite a lot when it comes to the fights like we lost today. Tonight, though, I’m reminded that I am on the side with the right people, the right side of history and the right side of God’s wish for equality for all of us. ..”
That’s right. We are on the right side with the right people on the right side of history and on the right side of God’s wish for equality for all of us.
We who believe in freedom will not rest. We who believe in freedom will not rest until it comes.
This will happen. It will become law not only in New York State but all across this nation. Why? Because it is right — it is the right thing, and even though justice is too often a long time coming, it will come. It will surely come.
So join in the growing throng on the right side of right. Write to your senators and articulate your point of view (how your senator voted). Come to Middle Church on December 13 and participate in our PeaceTalks/Justice Works program and send a letter to your congressperson.
We live to fight another day, until it passes.
About This Blog
Preparing ethical leaders for a just society. Posts by Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister.