My sphere of influence is the Presbyterian Church (USA). The PC(USA) has inched toward ordination equality (not gay ordination). It is about time. It is long past time for marriage equality.
Because marriage equality is not a reality in Tennessee, my congregation and I provide holy union services for same-gender couples. They aren't marriages as the same-gender couples cannot (yet) get marriage licenses in Tennessee. Someday this will change as it has in New York, New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut.
We provide this pastoral care as a witness to justice and to provide support and care for these couples and their families. They are every bit as holy and sacred as marriages for opposite gender couples. I am proud of my congregation.
This should be a "no-brainer."
Many of my colleagues in the states where marriage equality is a reality sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples in their capacity as Presbyterian ministers. In their minds and in mine it is the right thing to do. It is not clear whether doing so is in accordance with the Presbyterian constitution. It seems the logical solution is to change the constitution to make the right thing to do the constitutional thing to do.
The General Assembly will meet this summer. I am certain that there will be overtures to change the constitution so that clergy can sign marriage licenses for same-gender couples and officiate at ceremonies that celebrate them.
The Covenant Network advocates for ordination and marriage equality but they do not advocate for overtures to change the relevant documents in the constitution at the upcoming General Assembly. They do advocate for an authoritative interpretation to allow for PC(USA) ministers in marriage equality states to sign marriage licenses and to celebrate these services without being punished by the church police. Here is that statement.
I don't particularly agree with them. The right wing is not appeased by any attempts on our end to go for anything less than justice. So why try to appease them? Then again, political niceties are not my strong suit. I never understand the logic of throwing in the towel before you begin as if doing so will make the opposition like you more. Nevertheless, CovNet is on the right side of the issue.
I advocate always for as much justice we can get whenever we can get it. I am in favor of changing the constitution. Send in those overtures, Beloveds. I am in favor of the AI change. I vote yes. Go for it. Go for all of it. You get what you can get when you can get it.
Enter Jack Haberer. He doesn't like the Covenant Network's plan. He calls it Bad Medicine. He calls it "poisonous". He doesn't think it is "honorable". It would be more honorable, he thinks, if we sought to change the constitution rather than to make an AI allowing clergy to sign marriage licenses.
In regards to Jack Haberer and to Ed Koster, who I wrote about earlier, one can only marvel at privilege. What gall to tell a group fighting for basic equality what is "honorable."
You know what would be "honorable", Mr. Haberer? To care about equality, that's what. To fight for equality and justice for real people and their families. That would be "honorable". The PC(USA) has been wrong about LGBT people. It has been wrong about what constitutes a family. What is "honorable" is to turn a wrong into a right.
It would be nice, "honorable" in fact, if you folks who actually have power and influence in your positions as magazine editors and stated clerks to use your power and your influence to do the right thing rather than scold those in the trenches who are fighting for justice for not being "honorable".
Neither of you comes across as very credible to those of us fighting for justice in the PC(USA). I wait with eagerness for you to take the lead on behalf of marriage equality and to use your positions as editor and stated clerk, respectively, to advocate for changing the constitution to reflect this equality. Until then, you are no different than the white preachers that King took to task in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."