Monday, November 11, 2013

Wedding Bells

I am looking forward to signing the marriage license for my daughter, Katy, and her betrothed, Amber, the day after Thanksgiving in New York City.   In order to do this I had to be registered with the City of New York.   I had to provide:
  1. A notarized signature to accompany my application.
  2. A copy of my driver's license.
  3. A fifteen dollar money order.
  4. A copy of the cover of my denomination's directory and a copy of the page that listed me as a clergy member in good standing.   I printed and sent a copy of the on-line version.  This is me
Within a week I received this in the mail:

Pretty, huh?  I will sign the license and officiate at the marriage of my daughter and soon-to-be daughter-in-law as a PC(USA) minister or teaching elder or whatever it is we are called these days. When the deed is done, if I remember, I will post a pic of the signed marriage license and a pic of the happy couple.

It is worth it for Katy and Amber to get a marriage license even though Tennessee won't recognize it.   This summer's decision by the supreme court will give same-gender couples some federal benefits.    Nevertheless, it is not equal.    Until every state and the federal government recognizes marriage equality, their marriage still will not be the same as mine in the eyes of the law.    Thus it is important to do this and to be public about it.  Every action for equality, both personal and political, is a step toward equality.

Some have asked me if I can do this as a PC(USA) minister.  The answer, 
"Yes, of course.  Watch me."   
 The follow-up question is if I will get in "trouble" for doing this.  The answer is, 
"One can only hope."  
That is the tongue-in-cheek answer.   Truth is I will face whatever consequences come to me.  I have already signed the Stand For Love statement.   How many more statements must I sign before we change these archaic rules?

If someone makes a stink, then I will deal with it and use it as an opportunity to witness to equality.  If no one makes a stink, then I hope that will encourage clergy who are afraid of "getting in trouble" to be bold.   I see it as a win-win.

The bottom line is that this isn't about activism.  This is my daughter.  This is my blood.   Even as I have been active in the equality cause since my daughter was in kindergarten, it is personal now.    In a sense it has been personal for some time as I have worked alongside my sisters and brothers.   But, now, it is really personal.    When it is your child, you take no crap from anyone.  Ever. 

My ultimate loyalty is not to Presbyterian politics.   Hordes of enraged LayMEN couldn't keep me from officiating at my daughter's wedding.   Even if I were to lose my ordination (which won't happen) I am at peace with that. 

The time has come for the country and for the PC(USA) to get on board with reality.   The next General Assembly (to which I am a commissioner) will decide on whether to change the definition of marriage to reflect marriage equality and at the very least they will decide to make it kosher for clergy to officiate at Big Gay Weddings.   

It's all good.

And getting better.


  1. Good for you, John! And congratulations to the beautiful couple!

  2. Wonderful. More power to you John and to your beautiful family.

  3. way to go Dad! this is so beautiful :)

  4. what a wonderful Father you are :)

  5. Best to you and the happy couple! I love the loving way that you stand up for what and who are important to you...a great example to the rest of us.