Friday, February 13, 2009
Blowing in the Wind on Marriage Equality Day
Seventeen of us, from at least four congregations, gathered in the very blustery plaza of the Arlington County Courthouse yesterday. We shared an interfaith liturgy of prayers and readings, and then proceeded to the sixth floor offices of the county clerk, Paul Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson met us and welcomed us to the office. Meanwhile, Claire and Rebecca, who are members of the Rock Spring United Church of Christ, filled out the on-line form to apply for a license. As they filled in all of the requisite family data, Mr. Ferguson explained the state of the law in Virginia.
When the form was completed, the person staffing the window requested proper ID, and gave Claire and Rebecca a copy of the application to check for accuracy. When they confirmed the information, the staff person apologized and said, "I cannot grant you a license."
Mr. Ferguson looked straight at Claire and Rebecca and said, "I am truly sorry."
Looking at the rest of us, he said, "thank you for being here." He told us that our presence was important because it allowed him to report to the state that same-gender couples are requesting licenses.
Then each of us laid a flower on the window in honor of various couples who cannot be married here. As I laid my flower on the window I honored Ron and James. If I had a bouquet, it would be to honor each of the people in my congregation for their continued faithful witness that God's love knows no bounds and that what God blesses should receive the equal protection of the law.
There was much more that was moving and powerful, as well as simple and interesting during our hour witness, but those details will have to wait.