Thursday, October 9, 2014

Get out of the way, Mr. Tillis, cuz this baby is coming!

I’m not a big fan of uncertainty. I don’t like surprises, even when they’re good ones. I like to know what I can expect and then I appreciate it when my expectations are met, thank you very much. Of course, life seldom goes that way, which is why I’m often stressed out. I’ve tried to deal with it by practicing contemplative prayer, taking brisk walks, or soaking in the tub. And for the most part, I’ve been coping. But this week has put me OVER THE TOP!

On Monday, my friends and I were whooping it up when we learned that it would be hours or days before marriage equality became a reality in North Carolina. Clergy in Charlotte who have been fighting the good fight planned a celebration. The day it all comes down, we’re going to meet for an interfaith service of celebration followed by a champagne reception. We lined up a worship service with musicians and speakers. We found people to provide cake, champagne, sparkling grape juice, paper products, tablecloths, floral arrangements, etc. Because Holy Trinity is in a great location in the center of town, we agreed to host the event. I picked up decorations for the outside of the church. One of our parishioners made new wedding wreaths just for the occasion. We scrambled and were ready if it happened on Tuesday...but it didn’t.

On Wednesday, I had conversations with couples who are so thrilled to finally be emerging from the Dark Ages in North Carolina (the past 2+ years since the travesty of Amendment One passed in our state), that they don’t want to wait another day before they are married. So we made arrangements to meet at the courthouse at the first opportunity. The three couples are all members of Holy Trinity. All have been together for a long time, and all have children (eight total), whom they want to have present when they marry on the courthouse steps. As far as I’m concerned, these people have been married in God’s eyes for years. And soon they will have the opportunity to be married in North Carolina’s eyes as well. It’s about damn time!

But no, apparently it isn’t. Because we continue to wait. This morning I was so confident that it would happen today that I wore my clergy shirt (something I never do midweek unless I have a funeral). I recruited people to lug chairs to the sanctuary for more seating for the service. Others set the tables up for the reception. And then this afternoon at about ten till five, BAM!

For a reason I don’t understand, the judge is allowing some politicians to enter the fray at the 11:00 hour and put a kibosh on everything. How is this even possible? Lawyers continue to assure us that they don’t have a leg to stand on, so why is this happening? And how long will we have to wait? The driving force behind this is Thom Tillis, who is running for the US Senate in November. He has done a wonderful job of tearing down North Carolina during his time spent in the General Assembly with his rabidly conservative agenda. And now he wants an opportunity to do the same thing to our country. Of course, he’s whipping up his base to get them to the polls. I wonder if he realizes that he’s also energizing his opposition. But none of that is really the point.

The point is, there are people in North Carolina who have been waiting all their lives to receive the same protections and benefits under the law as their straight counterparts. Men, women and children have been scorned and denigrated long enough because of whom they love. Every day those who oppose marriage equality continue to hang onto this losing battle is one more day that hatred and bigotry continue to hold thousands of North Carolina families hostage. Enough is enough!

So I sit and wait and trust in the promise that love is stronger than hate and love always wins. A friend said today that it’s a lot like waiting for a baby to be born. You know it’s coming soon, but you don’t know exactly when. So you wait for the happy day. And I thought, yeah, that’s a good analogy for this week. But tonight I’m imagining that I’m near the end of my pregnancy and I’ve begun to have labor pains when some deluded fool comes along and tries to convince everyone around me that I’m not pregnant after all and there’s no baby coming. Excuse me?! 

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