“There is no longer Jew or Greek. There is no longer slave nor free. There is no longer male and female” today we can add to St. Paul’s list: today there is no longer “same-sex marriage” and “opposite sex marriage,” at least in the eyes of the Federal Government. Today is indeed a historic day for our nation, and today we need to pause, to celebrate, and to give thanks.
I was living in San Diego in 2008, when a California Court first ruled that the State should not discriminate against same-sex couples in the issuing of marriage licenses. I heard the news as I was on my way to the pool at the University of California, San Diego, where I was working at the time. Halfway through my third lap I started crying, and I had to sit up on the side of the pool for awhile and weep. The tears surprised me. I don’t cry easily. But that afternoon, for the first time in my life, I was living in a jurisdiction where my love was treated equally under the law, and I was surprisingly overwhelmed.
In the year and a few months that followed, friends got married, and today, again their marriages are held as valid, not only in the eyes of the State, but in the eyes of the Federal Government, and that is something to celebrate. Good friends of mine, a married couple about to deploy with the military to live in Japan, will get to live ON base, rather than off base. My friend Captain Matthew Phelps will be able to share his house on base, his medical coverage, and his visa with his husband Ben. Today we give thanks, to God, who made us all, loves us all, and who dreams for a day when all of creation is free from oppression.
But today we read the Gospel for this upcoming Sunday as well, and we hear that Jesus “set his face on Jerusalem.” His pursuit is relentless. “Don’t look back.” “Go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” Today we will pause to celebrate. Today we will ring our church bells and give thanks that we are steps closer, but we won’t look back. We will set our faces forward. We follow a savior who won’t stop until we’re in Jerusalem, the new Jerusalem, the heavenly city where people are not denied their right to love, or their right to vote. Today we give thanks, but we know that we still have a lot of work to do.