Thursday, June 19, 2008

why I'm not down at the court house signing marriage licenses

I'm excited about the new ability of same sex couples to get legally wed. And I love to hear the stories from colleagues who have spent the last few days, especially the first day, Tuesday, at the court house being part of the celebration. There's an important part of the ministry acted out here, public witness to a justice victory. I've also attended rallies and press conferences for that purpose.

But it's never been part of my call to ministry to sign marriage licenses. I do it as a convenience to the couple when I perform a legal wedding, but I would just as soon clergy weren't involved in that bit of state business. The couples who are marrying on the first possible day on the court house steps are looking for a legal witness, not a spiritual ceremony, better handled by a court official than a minister.

I have performed many weddings for same sex couples over the 10 years since my ordination. I look forward to performing many more in the future and will sign their license if they choose to receive legal recognition. But planning a spiritually meaningful ceremony, particularly in the Unitarian Universalist practice of making every ceremony unique to the couple, takes time and careful consideration.

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