I love Al Green. Absolutely. Positively. Love Al Green. One of his hit songs goes, “I’m so tired of being alone/I’m so tired of on-my-own/Won’t you help me girl/Just as soon as you can”. Replace “girl” with “church” and you get my thoughts on the question at hand. As someone who is in the thick of wedding planning, I had anticipated that there were two things that would be easy to check off our extremely long to do list. Those are finding an officiant and finding a church. Regrettably, those have been the two hardest pieces of the wedding puzzle.
Getting married in a state that is not your home is hard. I want things and people there that remind me of home. I asked my college Bible study teacher to be my officiant. She is from Georgia, a Clark Atlanta alum, and was one of the first people I came out to. Excitedly, I told her that I got engaged and wanted her to do the service. She said I would love to but… After she apologized, she stated that I would find somebody to do it and she wishes that she could. I don’t want “somebody”. I want her. You see she is UMC and therefore she can not do the service without taking risks that I am uncomfortable asking anyone to take.
My fiancé and I attend a Methodist Church when we can’t make it to a CC (DOC) church. We had bounced around getting married there and approached the pastor about it. Rather than just asking the date and quoting a price, we had to have a meeting. It was a meeting about risks. This was a meeting about the possible consequences and ramifications of us, two natural born females, getting married in that space, that sacred space. I left that meeting disgruntled, angry, and tired.
The church should care about LGBTQIA marriage because I’m tired. I am tired of feeling alone. I’m tired of having to ask a billion questions before I agree to visit a friend’s church. I’m tired of sitting through anti-LGBT sermons because I am at church with my Mom or future Mother-in-law. I’m tired of caring for an institution that doesn’t care for me. I’m tired of wondering, praying, and hoping we will get it right. I’m tired of being on “secret” listservs of churches and clergy that are welcoming and affirming.
I’m just tired. I’m tired of the angst. I’m tired of this being a thing. I could be living with my boyfriend and no one would bat an eye. I could have a child or two without having a significant other and no one would bat an eye. I could choose to not get married to a man for political reasons and, again, no one would bat an eye. But because I want to commit myself to someone that has the same anatomy as I do, people decide that they can dictate the course of my relationship. I’m tired of it.
You know who else I love? Kenny Rogers. In the Gambler, he said “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em/know when to fold ’em/know when to walk away/know when to run”. I don’t want to walk away, but you have to know when you’ve been beat. It is my hope the church will show its care before walking away becomes my most viable option.
Why do YOU think the church should care about marriage?