Saturday, January 10, 2009

marriage equality rally

Here's the text of the speech I made at today's rally on the steps of Pasadena city hall advocating for the repeal of DOMA.

My name is the Reverend Ricky Hoyt and I’m here because Unitarian Universalist ministers have been performing marriage services for same-sex couples for over 40 years and it’s about time my religious beliefs were given the same respect that we give to the conservative Christians, the Catholics and the Mormons.

I’m here because my faith does not draw distinctions between the worth of adult relationships based on their sex. My faith does not draw distinctions between families and the love parents can give and the security children deserve based on the sexual orientation of the parents. My faith does not have me tell some of God’s children that you were created to arrange the flowers at other people’s weddings, but you can’t have a wedding yourself.

God cares more about marriage than about old definitions of marriage. God cares more about justice now than about upholding past traditions. God cares more about respect for people than about respect for what we’ve chosen to call scripture. God cares more that you take care of your own marriage than that you make rules about somebody else’s marriage.

I’m here because as an American citizen who can read the constitution for myself, I know that it the responsibility of my government to treat every citizen as equal persons under the law. It’s that simple. It’s about equal rights. This isn’t about sex. This isn’t about immorality. This isn’t about religion. This isn’t even really about marriage.

This is about equality. This is about the government of all citizens that every one of us pays taxes to, and empowers with our votes, treating every one of us with the same dignity and respect as every other person. What we demand is that just as the government has told employers that they cannot discriminate against us, just as the government has told housing authorities that they cannot discriminate against us, just as the government has told schools and hospitals that they cannot discriminate against us, we demand that the state itself stop discriminating against us in the institution of civil marriage.

Do you want to talk about immorality? Some of our foes want to talk about immorality.

Immorality is creating a law and calling it the Defense of Marriage Act when it defends no marriages but prevents and attacks thousands of marriages. Immorality is setting up a state by state system of marriage rights and telling the queers down in Alabama and up in Idaho that it doesn’t matter what happens in Massachusetts and Connecticut you’ll never be equal here. Immorality is a privileged majority by a 52% vote stripping fundamental rights from their neighbors and fellow citizens.

With this ongoing fight for marriage equality gays and lesbians have stepped up and said, “We want to be fully recognized members of this society. We are eager to take on all the burdens and responsibilities of caring for our spouses, raising the next generation of children whether our own or adopted, and creating secure households and stable neighborhoods.” And the majority heard us and answered, “No Thank You, we like it better when you were victims.”

I actually feel sorry for the foes of marriage equality. I feel sorry for them because they have placed themselves on the wrong side of a rising tide that will eventually find themselves overwhelmed. The tide of marriage equality is coming in.
Now tides move slowly, we all know. For a long time it can seem as though there is no threat or power in the rising tide. There is plenty of time to build your castle and to give your castle every appearance of strength and permanence. But every child knows that all castles made of sand will succumb to a tide that no person can hold back. If your castle is built of the sands of bigotry it will crumble. If your castle is built of the sands of hatred it will crumble. The sand castle some have built to reserve marriage as the exclusive right of heterosexual couples will be washed away by the tide of equality.

Meanwhile the real castle called equal protection under the law, the castle guaranteed by our constitution, made of stronger stone, built well away from the water, and open to all persons will prevail.

Remember religion is not the enemy. Churches are not the enemy. Bigotry and ignorance are the enemy. Keep up the pressure. Keep up the visibility. Keep up the love. And we will win this fight.


doug said...

Well done!

Thomas Waters said...

Thanks for the true, and clear and inspiring words!