Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Marriage!!! Who Sould and Who Shouldn't

This is copy and paste…I receive the North Idaho Unitarian Unversalist Newsletter and there was an article in June New letter hit home about life relationships not necessary same sex marriage.

What is Marriage For?
She was a member of my congregation
in Knoxville, Tennessee. When
she came to church, which was not
often, she was always alone. A professor
at the university, she could
remember the Scopes trial and the
McCarthy era. And now a war in Vietnam
was on. Then one winter day
she called me. Would I be willing to
do a private graveside service? The
deceased was a woman she described
as her “good friend,” her
next-door neighbor for almost forty
years. They had never dared to live
under the same roof together. Yet as
I stood on that lonely cemetery hillside,
and read the poems she had
selected, and heard her read from a
letter, and said a final, tearful prayer,
it became clear to me that they had
been married, totally, though no one
had been allowed to know it. And I
stood there saying inwardly “This is
not right. This must be changed, first
in the church, and then in the world.”
Twenty-one years later, at the 1996
General Assembly of the Unitarian
Universalist Association held in Indianapolis,
the UUA was voting
whether or not to become the first
denomination to call not just for
blessing same-sex unions religiously,
but for legal recognition of gay marriage.
I asked all the dozens of samesex
partners attending the Assembly
to join me on the platform. The resolution
passed overwhelmingly.
Resolved, that the State should not
interfere with same-gender couples
who choose to marry and share fully
in the rights, responsibilities, and
commitment of civil marriage.
Today support for that simple proposition
is spreading. Over twenty religious
groups, Jewish and Christian,
have endorsed it. So have moral
leaders like Coretta Scott King. Not
to mention hundreds of celebrities,
writers, and entertainers.
Marriage is not for everyone; it never
has been. Indeed, when I’ve done
counseling on the subject over the
years, both with those unhappy in
their marriages and with those wishing
they had a life partner, I’ve been
reminded of the one press conference
given by Pope John Paul I, who
served as pontiff for only a few
weeks. A reporter asked him about
Catholics wanting to divorce and
priests wanting to marry. He reportedly
replied, “Eh! What’s a poor pope
gonna do? Those who are inside,
they want to go outside; those who
are outside, they want to go inside.”
As the writer Judith Viorst says in her
book, Grown Up Marriage,
Although marriage is for grown-ups,
very few of us are [fully] grown up
when we marry. Growing up takes
time, perhaps a whole lifetime, and
getting there—if we get there at all—
is hard. But marriage, which can be
the most vexatious of human relationships,
can also be [an] engine of
our growth. For in making some sort
of peace with the disenchantments,
demands, and astonishing complexities
of ordinary everyday married life,
we can create—and no, this isn’t a
contradiction in terms—a grown-up
She ads,
In a grown-up marriage we under
stand that we aren’t, and shouldn’t
be, each other’s teacher, parent,
editor, supervisor, or homeimprovement
A grown-up marriage allows us to
find a balance between autonomy
and connection.
In a grown-up marriage we gradually
acquire a rueful tolerance of each
other’s limitations and imperfections.
In a grown-up marriage we do not
keep score—at least not out loud.
In a grown-up marriage we recognize
that we don’t always have to be in
love with each other. In fact, we
are well aware that we couldn’t
possibly always be in love with
each other. But a grown-up marriage
enables us, when we fall out
of love with
each other, to fall back in. A grownup
marriage involves a tricky combination
of honest and polite.
In a grown-up marriage we’re able
to apologize when we’re wrong and
not gloat when we’re right. We can
also accept an apology that falls
short of total abasement—but not
too short. In a grown-up marriage
the laughter exceeds the regret.
In a grown-up marriage we’ve
learned to forgive and forget.
Well, maybe not forget.
In a grown-up marriage we know
how to communicate with each
other and know when the only and
best thing to do is shut up.
June Newsletter Page 7
In a grown-up marriage we recognize
that marriage does not give us a
real identity, or keep us safe from
the sorrows and pain of life, or
even protect us forever after from
As I say, marriage is not for everyone,
and never has been. But the more
grown-up we become about it, the
more we can recognize in marriage
an extraordinary combination of accepting
and discovering human differences
while affirming and deepening
what we have in common. My
wife, Gwen, always says that in a
good marriage the rocks in one head
come to fit the holes in another. She
also claims to have been married to
me for thirty years, twenty-five of
them happily. And when I ask her
which the bad years were, she replies,
“Buster, it’s a daily percentage!”
But why on earth would we, as a
clergy couple, want to deny any loving
couple the chance publicly to enroll
in the great school for spiritual
growth known as marriage? Why
would we deny them our support and
blessing? Because same-sex relationships
somehow challenge “the
sanctity of traditional marriage,” as
some conservatives claim? How insecure!
How immature! So I have a simple
message for religious conservatives
who oppose gay marriage: Grow
up! As William Sloan Coffin says,
“Quit using the Bible and tradition
the way a drunk uses a lamp post—
more for support than for illumination.”
Consider whether God hath not
yet more light to break forth. After all,
few traditions have changed over the
years as much as those of our most
intimate institution.
In a book from the UUA’s Beacon
Press, social historian E.J. Graff asks,
What is Marriage For? Is it for children?
Well, sometimes. But if we are
to limit marriage to those who are
capable of having biological children
together, then let’s have a fertility
test along with the blood test. Is it for
kinship? Well, for centuries marriages
were arranged. Parents and
patriarchs knew best. Is that what we
are trying to preserve? Or do we believe
in love and
free choice? Today,
if a man chooses
another man, or a
woman a woman,
why should the state interfere? Because
we are made uncomfortable
by same-sex sexuality? Sex is a part
of marriage, but if there is a public
interest in abstinence, fidelity, and
safer sex, as the authorities say, isn’t
it both hypocritical and immature to
denounce gay promiscuity and then
to block gay marriage? Or is it
money? Since two can live almost as
cheaply as one, another part of marriage
has always been financial. So
society’s interest in promoting marriage
has been reflected in the tax
code, inheritance, shared benefits,
and over a thousand specific legal
rights that married couples have and
gay couples are denied.
Some people say, well, let’s have
domestic partner laws, or civil unions,
as in Vermont. But such stateby-
state arrangements aren’t recognized
elsewhere. And “separate but
equal,” never turns out to be really
equal, does it?
That’s why my friends Hillary and
Julie Goodridge sued the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts for denying
them a marriage license, in contravention
of the equality provisions in
our state constitution. They want the
freedom to marry. They were joined
in their suit by six other couples.
Three of them are Unitarian Universalists:
Gloria Bailey and Linda Davies,
from First Parish in Brewster;
Richard Lindell and Gary Chalmers,
from the UU Church of Worcester;
and David Wilson and Robert Compton,
from downtown Boston’s Arlington
Street Church.
Because I feel so strongly about the
injustice of issuing marriage licenses
to heterosexual couples while denying
licenses to same-sex couples, I
have decided to join with clergy colleagues
all across the country in declaring
that as long as this inequality
exists, when I help couples to celebrate
their union in marriage—which I
will continue to do most joyfully—I will
no longer sign the license. I will function
only in my religious capacity, not
as an agent of the state. I will arrange
to have a judge or a justice of
the peace do that.
One of the great ministers of the civil
rights movement, Will Campbell of
Tennessee, always taught that the
proper thing for a minister to do at
any wedding is to have the license
signed before the ceremony, in the
presence of the couple, and then to
fling the signed document into the
corner, hollering, “Render unto Caesar
the things that are Caesar’s!”
Then the minister can remind the
couple that they are now about to go
out in front of God and everybody
and enter into a covenant with one
another. A grateful acknowledgement
of the love and trust they have
found in one another. And a promise
to try to sustain and renew that love
and trust even when the going gets
tough. With the help of a love that
was there sustaining them even before
they found each other.
At times all of us, even those most
clearly blessed in our marriages,
wonder what marriage is for. Just as
at times, we can wonder what work
is for, or life itself is for. There are
gaps of meaning, there are abysses
of injustice. But love
makes a bridge toward
a better and more
meaningful future—if
we are open to it, in all
of its many forms.

“I first learned the concepts of non-violence
in my marriage.”
Mahatma Gandhi

As William Sloan Coffin says, “Quit using the Bible
and tradition the way a drunk uses a lamp post -
more for support than for illumination.”

This is my first time copy and pasting PDF’s


  1. Anonymous6:57 AM

    I think that is just great. Gutsy. Truthful. It made a whole lot of sense to me, and one of the best things I've read. Thanks for sharing that.


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