My Word: Defeat of DOMA a leap forward
By Kathy Schmitz (Orlando Sentinel Op-Ed Page)
July 2, 2013
I am relieved that the federal government will now recognize the marriages of the 20 couples for whom I signed licenses when I served in Massachusetts. I feel hopeful that the day will come when I will be able to sign the marriage licenses of couples I serve in Florida.
This is a historic moment, as our nation moves a step closer to full equality for all its people. While there is still much work to be done, it is important to celebrate the progress that has been made.
Sitting in a church meeting with an older gay man the evening of the ruling, I was humbled to be reminded of how far we have come. Speaking of the court’s decision, he said, “It’s a miracle.”
He continued to explain that when he was younger, it would have been a miracle just to have the persecution stop. In those days, one could hardly imagine the affirmation that the court has offered this day.
As a Unitarian Universalist pastor, I am committed to affirming the worth and dignity of every person. It is a joy to affirm both humanity and the love of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. I urge those who remain unsure to open their hearts and minds to the possibility of understanding.
My experience has been that when people see the commitment and love expressed in wedding ceremonies, and in the living of life, their doubts most often fade away.
Even in our joy, we do not forget that the persecution of old still finds its way into too many corners of our society. No person, young or old, should be bullied physically, politically or spiritually, because of who he is or whom he loves.
It is imperative that people of good will continue to stand on the side of love. May our joy at this leap forward give us the strength and the courage to continue the journey and ensure that all of our people are free.
The Rev. Kathy Schmitz is pastor of First Unitarian Church of Orlando.