07 November 2013

An Unexpected Prayer Surprises Me

Sometimes, and this seems to be one of those weeks, I find myself stunned.

I and many believers have been praying that the Illinois General Assembly would at long last, take a vote, and pass marriage equality. Finally, two nights ago, they did.

In Illinois, yesterday or, last week for that matter, we had binding civil unions available to lesbian and gay couples. As we told the legislators when that passed, ( I must have written a dozen letters or emails ) it is inadequate, but far far better than nothing. Yesterday, both houses of the Assembly voted on a full marriage equality bill. In both the law passed. Governor Quinn has been a supporter and has promised to sign the act.

So there it is: free representatives of a free people, voted to change the law, and recognize that everyone, conservative, liberal, straight, lesbian or gay, religious or skeptic, everyone has a right to access the State's marriage laws.  I think that is how it is supposed to work. No court ordered the vote, it was the product of a republic, acting like a republic.

The moment in Illinois did feature something new. While 14 other States have either by legislative or judicial action, come to the same point, Illinois came to it at least in part, because over 300 clerics from  a wide variety of denominations, actively lobbied for the bill. No one doubts that clerics have a right to an opinion, and a right to express it. Before Illinois however, there had not been a multi-denominational, and yes, bi-partisan lobbying effort in support of marriage equality. Similar efforts in opposition have become routine. Ah, but here in Illinois, we do things a bit differently.

So, there I was, at our tiny mid-week mass, responding to the Prayers of the People's call for thanksgiving prayers, giving thanks "for the discernment of the Illinois General Assembly." I have to say I never saw that one coming!

At 67, I can still be surprised.  Sometimes that is a very good thing.

1 comment:

Christal said...

What a delightful thing to give thanks for! It's about time Illinois makes this change for the better.

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