A Philosophical Commentary on this Day
When we are children, we play dreams; when we are young, we dream dreams; when we are adults, we work dreams; when we are mature-of-years, we remember dreams.
For a mature-of-years gay man, it is amazing to see how the torch has been passed. I have much admiration for those who are living the future. What is yet to come is always just over the next hill, and it is the young that will lead us toward the Beloved Community. It becomes our task to encourage, lift up, and support those dreams that the dreamer’s dream. As we mature and must pass the torch, often we tend to be critical of what those who come after us have done or will do. It behooves us to let go and let God, for if we do not have faith in what the young do, we are doomed to remember dreams that never mature.
I remember the dreams I had that one day we would see freedoms beyond our imagination. As the Patriot Act tightens around all our necks, the dreamers and the workers of dreams in the LGBTQ faithfully pushed forward. It is those who hold a youthful vitality to go forth and those of us who push the envelope, which will speak to the dreams we lived. Those who have played, dreamed, worked, and remembered dreams shall truly have achieved the Beloved Community.
This day is the living history that will lead us to new victories. May it be so.
Blessed is and blessed it shall be.
What This Day Means To Me Personally
In the 1980s, in Los Angeles, when our people were dying of AIDS, we were denied so many rights and we thought that our persecution would continue unmercifully. I buried more people than I should where the families had disowned and rejected their children due to their homo-orientation life-way. I moved to the Deep South in the 90s and it was like going through all the discrimination again and even more defined. The lives that were lost, the brave people that stepped into the streets for gay rights, those troopers that went on before us–what a great reward this day is, however late it may be.
This decision was too late for those who had no rights in their loving relationships; for those who were sick and denied entrance to visit their ill partners; for those who were barred from attending the funerals of their spouses; for those who, upon their spouse’s death, were stripped of all the goods and treasures from their lifetime relationships.
I’ve been marrying people, however illegal, since 1980. I’ve defied the States of California, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana. I’ve married, however illegal, anyone who came to my church’s door or whoever asked to be married. I was the first minister to stand in downtown Birmingham in 1989 and perform a “blessing on relationships” for 20 couples, which was really a marriage, but for the sake of not being arrested, we had to call it such.
In 1992, in the State of Mississippi, I was the first openly gay minister to be publicly ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches at a district-wide conference for the denomination.
We have been justified this day that we are also equal in the United States of America. This is a monumental day for those of us who fought the battles to protect the LGBTQ community. This is validation for the young people who will carry a new torch into a bright future for gay rights in this country.
The next frontier will be the many laws and state constitutions that have been written and passed to keep the LGBTQ community as second class citizens. It is enough today to celebrate who we are and what we have accomplished. Why is this day different from other days? Let me count the ways and may the force continue to be with us!
James H Becker
Communications Director, Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson
Pastor Emeritus, Safe Harbor Family Church (a UCC affiliate)
Ordained Minister, Metropolitan Community Churches