Monday, June 24, 2013

Anticipation, Waiting, and the Prophets

It is a very good thing that nobody has thought to start a drinking game based on the phrase, "No decision today in the Prop 8 or DOMA case."  

I, like so many other lesbians and gays of all kinds, am waiting for the United States Supreme Court to give us a sign.  Tell us: are we able to legal marry in this country or not?  Can we receive federal benefits if we are legal married to a person of the same gender or not?  Yes, of course: there are many gradations of how they might rule, what their ruling will ultimately mean.  And I have no doubt that we are going to be at this, again, in the very near future with another case here, another constitutional challenge there.  This is the price of fighting for freedom and equality in this country. 

And I am in this for the long haul.  Whether I will ever get to see all relationships between consenting and willing adults treated with the respect and dignity they should be accorded is really immaterial to me.  I don't care so much about "me" as a sole individual.  I see "me" as being part of a living, breathing organism called "humanity."  And that, really, is my concern.  I want humanity to be infused with holiness of human rights, and for all people to be able to step onto a level playing field.

Today was supposed to be "the last day" for the Court to release opinions.  Of course, they have extended and now we are on a "day-by-day" basis for knowing when there will be a decision.  This is causing high anxiety among many in the LGBT community, and everyone is speculating as to what will happen, how the votes will fall, and who will write what opinion.  For activists and organizers like myself, this has been a time of going hat-in-hand to the authorities to say, "Please sir or ma'am: may I have another day on that permit request I put in for my rally?"

There are those who wonder why we are rallying.  What's the purpose of getting together in front of our various symbols of power and raising our voices either in praise or disgust for the actions of the high court? 

It is about prophecy.  And when I say that what I mean is that it is about being like the prophets of old who would tell the people and the nations, "You must make amendment for the way you are treating the least among you!"  That is what a rally is all about.  It's not about getting the powerful people together and giving them a platform to make stump speeches and promises.   It's about pulling together our community, from the youngest baby dyke to her grandmother and grandfather who love that child dearly and want her world to look better than theirs. 

As I waited for news of the court today, I was recalling some of the Scripture assigned for June 24th, St. Jean Baptiste Day in Quebec, or John the Baptizer Day for the rest of us.  We hear, repeated again and again, that John knew he wasn't "the one," but he was "the one" who was preparing for the coming of things greater than himself.  He talks about how the Messiah that is coming must increase, and therefore John must decrease.  This passage from John's Gospel can be taken in many ways, but for me, on this day, it is about the role of being focused not on myself or my own self interest, but seeing how the work I am doing now is in preparation for greater things to come.  Being part of this movement now, standing upon the shoulders of drag queens and stone butches, and Harvey Milk's and Adrienne Rich's, is all part of "the plan" to have justice roll down like a waterfall. 

And so we wait.  We anticipate what nine people will do with two landmark cases: one which could lead to marriage rights for lesbians and gays in California and the other could put a significant dent in the Defense of Marriage Act by allowing married LGBT couples access to 1,186 federal benefits that come with marriage.  We will still have the problem that Florida refuses to recognize, nor allow in any way, marriage between people of the same gender.  As I've said, I'm in this for the long haul.

I would like to live in an America where all marriages are equal, and not a dystopia where some marriages are more equal than others.  We can get there, if the prophets stand up and speak out.

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