For most of my adult life I have had friends in the LGBTQ community. From the cousin of the neighbors across the street, while I was finishing high school to my own faith community struggling with how to make our church totally welcoming and inclusive. Still, there are times when I feel a bit awkward about the issues concerning the group in question. The last two or three years have brought about a lot of changes in my life and in the life of the faith community I am part of. I blame being in school to get my social work degree for part of it! I have become more vocal about how I feel about some of the tough issues of our day. It has meant confronting my own fear of change. It has meant standing with others when my friends and family feel differently.
On Monday, July 28th I witnessed the marriage of a same sex couple. We had to go all the way to Metropolis, IL for them to be able to marry. Before we left Louisville, the two women attempted to apply for a marriage license here in Louisville, but because Kentucky law prohibits the marriage of same sex couples, they were turned away.
While I know several same sex couples who are married; none of them were married in Kentucky. At this point there is a law that was set to pass this past spring, but has been held up by the courts until some higher courts decision.
Recently, we at Highland have been discussing whether or not our ministers could perform same sex marriages here. There has been a lot of discussion. Most of the discussions have been about how the congregation found out about this decision by the deacons. I hear both sides and believe that, since this is a big decision that it should have gone to whole church first…but that is not what happened. There are a lot of angry voices right now. Angry at the process, I guess. I hope that they are not angry about the issue. I do know that some that have been.
Some of the members of the LGBT community have said that they want to be treated like any other member of the church. That is including those who wish to marry. My opinion is that if they don’t have the right to marry, then they are being treated like less than a full member of this church.
Highland has always, in the past been a “lightning rod” for social and church issues. Like ordaining women and our refusal to support the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, we follow what the Holy Spirit leads us to do. It hasn’t always been popular, there are those who haven’t liked the decisions, but we all seem to come together in the end. I feel this is an issue that’s time has come. We have supported the LGBT community in many other ways for over 20 years. Now it is time to take the next step.
I hope someday we, this church, this city, state, country and world will see that we are all equal in the eyes of Jesus.