Thursday, March 4, 2010
IT IS ALL ABOUT LOVE
We are Candy Holmes and Darlene Garner. On March 3, 2010, we were one of the first couples to submit our marriage license application in response to the new marriage equality law in Washington, DC. We are sure we slept the night before, but it was a restless sleep, interrupted by the fearful thought that we would sleep through the next day! But by 6 a.m., we were awake and walking through a chilling wind and rain into the Moultrie Courthouse for one of the most important moments of our lives with an application in hand and determined to exercise our right to love and to marry.
As we waited for the office doors to open, we felt the energy of anticipation rising as more and more couples arrived. We were the sixth couple in line and only feet away from the moments we have only dreamt about. While waiting in line, we saw the most amazing thing – the diversity of our glbtq community. There were African American, white, and Asian women and men from under 30 to over 60 years old, clergy persons, Federal government workers, couples with children, couples wanting children. We are sure there was probably even more diversity than this in the fullness of the line. And so it should be, for love is not bound by race, class, or gender. Hallelujah!
The doors opened at 8:30 a.m. and our hearts leapt. We could not stop smiling though nothing had actually happened yet. But the jubilation was too much to contain. Who would have thought that two African American, Lesbian, clergy and great grandmothers would be poised to declare and honor their love in this way? We were ready and the time was now. We stepped into history after a long journey speckled with dashed hopes and disappointments because of who we love. But no more. Though the sky was as gray as our hair, rain could not spoil our parade this day. No one could take or steal away our joy. Thank God for this moment and for such a time when the essence and importance of our love can be counted.
After we completed the painless application process, the African American applications process clerk congratulated us with the widest smile this side of the sun. Hand in hand and jaws wonderfully tired from smiling, we left through the same hallway we had entered to the applause, singing, and cheers of other waiting couples. It felt like the cheers at the Super Bowl for the underdog that won. We encouraged others as we moved toward our next destination – the press. The amazing HRC field staff gathered us with the first five couples and ushered us out of the courthouse. It was a rainy morning, but joy that comes from being free stopped the rain. We stood in front of the cameras, the reporters, the protestors, and most importantly God, and shared our collective stories of our lives and why marriage was important to us.
Many questions were about our being part of the African American community. We spoke from our hearts about why the right to marry is important to us as African Americans and to all African Americans for that matter. We are not unfamiliar with the struggles for freedom, what it feels to be treated as a second-class citizen, and the pain of promises of equality going unfulfilled. We know of the barriers and beliefs that historically and even now impact our families. Like our foreparents who fought for the freedom to be who they were and to be treated as full citizens, as contemporary African American lesbians we join our voices with the chorus of those who lived and died for this day. The page of history has turned. Today we began a new chapter in our lives that allows us to enjoy the joys of love and caring and to embrace without fear the responsibility for protecting our family.
Join us and our families as we rejoice in this historic day and all that it means for us as part of the African American community and the gbltq community as a whole. In words borrowed from President Obama’s Inaugural Address, “The time has come… to carry forward that precious gift; -- that noble idea; --passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”
Metropolitan Community Church, founded in 1968, is a human-rights movement and ministry operating as a Christian denomination in 25 countries around the world. MCC has often been and continues to be one of few leading advocates for vulnerable people in places where religious orthodoxy, sexism, and homophobia can result in violence and death. MCC's promise is stated in its tagline "Tearing Down Walls. Building Up Hope." For more information about MCC visit: http://www.mccchurch.org.