Sometimes I will use this space to help us mourn and wrestle with some of the tragedies that have occurred in recent years in the public sphere, both here and in Israel. And it sure seems like we’ve had more than our fair share of those: shootings, acts of terrorism, environmental catastrophes.
So it is a pleasure this week to use this space to unabashedly and joyfully celebrate the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. We now have marriage equality in this country. There is obviously still much work to do to counter discrimination, to be sure, but it is important to really receive historic moments like this one, and to bask in the glow for a little while.
I know some of you – gay and straight – have been on a journey for decades, helping work towards this day. Some of you have shared with me that this day brought tears of joy, and that you never expected to see this in your lifetime. Others this week shared stories of past marginalization and prejudice. No doubt, this is a landmark moment for civil rights in this country. A victory for love. A victory for dignity.
I am proud that I am a product of the Reconstructionist movement for many reasons; one of them is how our movement has a history of clearly and strongly modeling a religious voice of justice and fairness for many marginalized groups. In rabbinical school, we were trained to see LGBT advocacy, education, and creation of new ritual as an unfolding expression of Torah. In 2009, as a rabbi in Bennington, I was among the religious voices who testified at the courthouse in Montpelier in support of recognizing same-sex marriage when legislators and representatives in Vermont were weighing this decision.
In our Rabbi’s Manual, first published in 1997, there is language we were given when officiating at gay and lesbian weddings: “For so long in our people’s history, the love of two men or two women was not a cause for rejoicing. Today we rejoice – we thank the source of life for giving us life and for enabling us to reach this joyous moment.”
Often when the glass is broken at the conclusion of a wedding, I will share that we do this in part to recognize the pain that not all who wish to become married are able to do so, and that we pray we live to see the day when this will change. It’s amazing that this day has arrived.