I want to write a little bit about what the roller-coaster 24 hours of the day of decision were like here in San Francisco, but it’s taken awhile for me to pull my thoughts together. But I owe this to each of you, so here are my thoughts on supporting and valuing marriage as a civil right:The roller-coaster started on Monday night we went to a prayer service at Grace Cathedral, where it was my privilege to pray for marriage equality in the same room where my parents were married 35 years ago. We prayed, we cried, and we sang. A gay couple spoke about how one of them has a degenerative disability, and because he is not covered through his husband’s benefits he is slowly loosing the ability to walk. They talked about how, for them, marriage is not a illusive term, how the struggle for civil rights is his struggle for life, and how they don’t have time to wait. There were about 40 clergy present from a multitude of faiths, and most of them pledged that, should the worst happen, they would get arrested in peaceful civil disobedience the next day. Our rabbi was among them.Tuesday morning broke with grim news. I was shocked how painful it was, even though the decision was exactly what we expected. Proposition 8 was upheld, same-sex marriage was ruled illegal in California, but the 18,000 marriages performed over this spring and summer were allowed to stand. I was surprised to feel like my heart had been ripped out of my mouth, as I pondered all our friends and loved ones who no longer had the same basic civil rights that we are exercising this summer. The day wore on, and we received word that both our rabbi and our rabbinic intern had been arrested as part of a group of clergy that had committed peaceful civil disobedience. We were both grateful and worried at the same time.After work, we walked to San Francisco’s city hall, to be with the community in protest. It was there that the mood of the day started to change for me. We were sad, we were angry, but we were also happy to all be together. We were energized to know that the worst had happened, and we were still here, we were ready to fight. We marched and then headed to our synagogue to participate in a service of hope and healing. We sang a shehecheyanu blessing for our Rabbi in honor of her first arrest. We found out that the SFPD had done us proud, and were kind with each member of the clergy they arrested, with each protester. We talked about the pain of the day, we talked about the future, we talked about our gratitude for our community that is leading the struggle.
On Monday night we sang a song with the lyrics, “I will testify to love,” and that is a job for each of us. It is both a great privilege and a huge responsibility to be getting married in the middle of this fight for civil rights, this fight for marriage. We are doubly blessed to be married by someone who was arrested this week as she prayed peacefully for human rights. I will keep testifying to honoring the love in each of our hearts here and in my everyday life, I invite each of you to do the same. To those of you who were denied marriage rights on Tuesday, I hold you in my heart. We will be here together when Proposition 8 is overturned, once and for all.
First two pictures from the SF Gate, third courtesy of our temple