26 June 2015

26 June 2015 An Historic Day

When I was young, I used to look forward to the early days of thawing warmth each Spring. We lived on a hill, and the street drained the packed snow from lawns, driveways, and sidewalks, past our home. As the snow melted, my brothers and I would carve channels in the ice packed down next to the curb by passing cars. We played by creating ice and snow dams, tiny ice water ponds, and rivulets: these were our playground. We watched the waters make their way past our home, and we learned.

I recall, the way dams broke. As the waters, slightly warmer than the ice, melted it, a tiny breach would appear. It would then grow. The base of the remaining portions of the dam would be undercut, and suddenly, without any apparent cause, whole sections of the wall would either collapse or break loose and move aside as the water now free flowed and broadened,

The dam broke today. Those of us who have advocated, demonstrated, and prayed for marriage equality saw the signs as breaches in the wall built by the bigots. As they began to let those tiny streams: civil unions in New Jersey, and elsewhere, marriage in Vermont, Illinois, California, and Massachusetts started the flood. These were the critical warming of the ice. The decision that the DOMA was unconstitutional, was a major event. The walls were eroding. As I type, States that had barriers to marriage equality are collapsing as the impact of the Supreme Court decision in "OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, ET AL spreads. " Marriage is no longer, "straight marriage," "traditional marriage," or "gay marriage." It is simply marriage.

"The arch of history," Dr. King said, "tends towards Justice." And so, we have now solved the marriage equality issue. The dam has become the site where the waters broke through, a moment to be remembered certainly, but a barrier no more. Canoeists and kayakers are familiar with the sitght of embankments marking the site of abandoned bridges and dams. The "defense of marriage" laws have left a mark on history, but like those embankment sites, they no longer obstruct the stream.

Yesterday, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, to which I belong, was called to order. Based on prior conventions, the idea that the convention will be orderly is more pious hope than realistic expectation. But as conventions do, it will finish the business of the church it governs. One of the items on the agenda is as it has been for 40 years give or take, changes in canon law that will permit clergy to offer marriage liturgies to gay and lesbian couples. I do not know what the vote counts looked like last week. Today, I suspect, they look very positive. At this moment, the church is behind the civil society, and that on a justice issue, in particular, will never do. When the convention adjourns next week, we will I think, hope and pray, be changed.

Justice runs like water.

And we all may cry, hallelujah!


Tracie Holladay said...

I welcome this ruling too but some people I know have problems with doing it in this way. They think this "top down" ruling sets a bad precedent for other scary things to be visited upon the American people from the "top down." Well, I guess this is why we have a balance here.

JimB said...


I doubt one can find a ruling which does not carry, for some folks at least, concern about the possible future. Dread Scott, and Board v. Topeka are polar opposites. The Court is as able fail as any institution. One of the reasons we record dissents, is that some times they become the majority. Holmes and Brandise (sp) wrote a fair number of dissents that were quoted by more recent justices.

This decision recognizes the fact thqt we cannot have marriage in some states, and adjective marriage in others. We are, whether we are all thrilled by it or not, one country. And that is why incidentally, governments need to stop waving the flag of succession.


JCF said...

"26 June 2015 An Historic Day"

Am truly sorry to nitpick in these (glorious! joyous!) circumstances, but it's "A Historic Day" (you use "an" only when, in the following word, the "h" is *silent*, which in "historic", it isn't. Ergo, "an honorary degree" but "a historic day").

Shutting up now. Yay, Marriage Equality! Now a grammar nerd can marry another grammar nerd of the same sex! ;-)

JimB said...

You know, this may be generational. I was taught by Miss Pecourse, that words beginning with "h" always require, "an." Of course, she was teaching so long ago that some of us were what is now called, "ESL" students. The students whose milk tongue was German were not "mainstreamed" as we did not have that word. So, this may have gotten lost in the confusion that two sets of phoenix often caused.

I cannot recall having this particular item called to my attention in high school, or my very writing oriented college. I did, however, attend high school only shortly after they stopped using horn books. Which thought brings us back to generational change.

I shall change it. As one grammar nerd to another, I assure you I meant no offense. I do want to offend homophobes, but that is another matter entire.


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