Gay marriage backer seeking open minds
Last week, I had the honor to stand with two local gay couples – Matthew and Trey, and Robert and Michael – as they approached the Lee County Justice Center to request a marriage license. Gathered with them were clergy, family and friends.
We prayed together and then entered the building. Both couples were denied marriage licenses because of current Mississippi laws.
We all knew that would happen. So why do it, people have asked.
For me, the first reason is my Christian faith. People are hurting because of laws that treat LGBT people differently. Loving couples are denied the freedom to marry. Parents are considered legal strangers to their children. Gay youth grow up feeling alone. Especially when people are hurting, God urges us to act and to follow Jesus’ teachings – to seek justice, to love our neighbor and to love those who oppose us.
What would you do to be with the person you love? Would you proclaim your love publicly even when you were told it was illegal to marry that person? Those are the questions that Michael and Robert face each day. When they stood up to request a marriage license, they stood up for love. But they also stood up so that gay kids in Tupelo know they are not alone, that there are people ready to fight for their equality.
We are not asking anyone to change their faith beliefs. But we are asking for people to listen to God’s voice in our midst, shining a light on the reality that most American families and churches include LGBT people (whether openly or not), many of whom are hurting. That’s why we are calling for laws to change, to ensure that the freedoms we count as sacred in our country are extended to all people and families. We also take these actions to start a new conversation, understanding that many in Tupelo are wrestling with these issues. Too much is at stake for us to stay silent.
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara
Campaign for Southern Equality