Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Same-Sex Marriage Hearing in Augusta on April 22, 2009
Today I counted at least nine people from our congregation at the Augusta Civic Center, where the public hearing on LD 1020, the Marriage Bill, was being conducted.
Proponents of same-sex marriage were asked to wear red to show their support of the bill. While representation seemed robust on both sides of the issue, there was a lot or red in the room. See for yourself:
We were not allowed to bring signs into the building. I left my "Clergy for Same-Sex Marriage" sign leaning against the building outside and retrieved it when I left. As I stood there holding the sign, people flocked from nowhere to take a picture of me holding it. Here is one taken by a member of the congregation:
I was impressed with the hearing. At least for the time I was there, I felt it was smoothly and fairly run, with courtesy and decorum expected of all.
Although I was not able to testify from the floor of the hearing, I did make a video testimony with Equality Maine. I said that I spoke as a minister who had parishioners who could not marry, even though they had in some cases been in committed relationships for decades and were raising children together.
I spoke as a straight woman who want the same privileges and rights afforded my family to be extended to all families.
And I spoke as a minister who had been serving a Massachusetts congregation when the law changed. Those first weddings were some of the most moving weddings I have ever witnessed. The feeling of having the burden of inequality lifted from our shoulders was almost indescribable.
Time will tell how today's testimony will influence the legislators. I have high hopes, though.