Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Boston Marriage

It would be remiss of me not to comment on the recent joyful wedding between The Very Rev. Katherine Ragsdale (Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School) and The Rev Mally Lloyd (Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of MA), whose marriage was performed by Massachusetts Bishop Thomas Shaw at the Cathedral Church of St Paul in Boston.

From the EDS press release
At the marriage attended by close to 400 guests, Bishop Shaw commented: “God always rejoices when two people who love each other make a life long commitment in marriage to go deeper into the heart of God through each other. It’s a profound pleasure for me to celebrate with God and my friends, the marriage of Katherine and Mally.”
From the Bridgewater Patriot-Ledger:
The Rev. Lloyd said Monday night she hopes fellow Episcopalians and others won’t focus on her marriage as a gay ceremony, but instead see it as “a commitment and marriage like any other.”

“We are asking God’s blessing, and asking the community and our friends to bless our marriage,” she said.
Exactly: bless a marriage, not a "lesbian marriage". As Susan Russell puts it in her post about the event,
I believe the values that make up a marriage transcend the sexual orientation of the partners who vow to love, honor and cherish each other until death do they part. My partner and I don't pay lesbian taxes, take out lesbian trash, make a lesbian tithe to our church or fold lesbian laundry. Marriage is marriage. Period.
Meanwhile, the Bridgewater Patriot-Ledger also quotes other sensible voices,
“Same-sex marriages are not new in Massachusetts, and the marriage between two members of the clergy in the Episcopal Church also has a history,” … said [the dean of the Episcopal Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif., the Rev. Mark Richardson].

“I am grateful that their life together can have this public recognition…."
Yes. Isn't that what a wedding is? Claiming the blessing, if you will, and the support of the public? I know we found that an amazing part of our wedding.

A lot of the gay-themed blogs picked it up too, although they may miss some of the nuance of church politics. Still, the fact that The Episcopal Church has The Gay Bishop(s) and performs same sex marriages, is making a great witness to a community historically hurt by Christian faithful. What they do gets noticed, and provides tremendous evangelism.

Of course, not everyone is happy. AmericaBlog Gay, approving of this wedding of "high level Episcopal Priests", quoted a "Catholic response" from "Catholic Online;" I clicked over for the predictable outrage only to find that it was written by a known Anglican schismatic, not a Roman Catholic. Not surprisingly, it drips with snide remarks, but given that his audience of Roman Catholics doesn't even consider Episcopal marriages to be marriages, I'm not sure what the point is of writing there.

Marriage in Massachusetts between same sex partners has been legal for more than 6 years. Several Episcopal Dioceses have been performing marriages, where legal. Others are blessing unions and previously performed civil marriages. These aren't even the first gay priests to marry. There really is nothing new here.

Meanwhile, we needn't be bothered by him. Instead, let's focus on the good news in this high-profile witness to inclusion. We send many hearty congratulations to the new brides, who have far more joyful things to think about. Fresh days of love accompany thy hearts!

As Susan Russell concludes,
Marriage equality is an increasing reality in this country and in this church and the significance of Saturday's wedding is in offering yet-another icon to the church, the communion and the world of the affirmation of the Good News of God's inclusive love made available to all. It is an opportunity for both celebration and evangelism.... it's good news for the diocese and for the church as we all work together to move beyond the "inclusion wars" and forward into God's future of love, justice and compassion.
Sing it!

Photo from here. You DID get the joke about Boston Marriage, right?


Anonymous said...

"Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done."

IT said...

We're not talking about that. It's not relevant to the conversation. There are plenty of places you can complain about Dean Ragsdale's views, but that's not germane. here, we are simply congratulating her on her marriage.

JCF said...

As that's David Virtue's "quote" (using scare-quotes the way he does!), I doubt its accuracy anyway.

Mazel Tov to the brides!