Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm still listening, a bit at a time, to the interview Katharine Jefferts Schori did with Diane Rehm. Toward the end, a caller mentioned that Katharine had talked about authorizing a rite for blessing same sex unions--that one hadn't yet been authorized, but that she thought one should be. He asked, essentially, if you're standing in as proxy for God in a sacrament, how do you know God would approve of this the way He approves of a marriage between a man and a woman?

I liked that she compared it to any "traditional" marriage a priest might officiate, saying that the priest has to use his or her best judgement in knowing whether that couple is capable of a sacramental marriage, and that the priest prays that they are.

She went on to say something I remember the Roman Catholic priest who was the celebrant at my own wedding explaining--in a wedding, it is the couple who administers the sacrament to each other, and the priest is just there to bless it. I liked that she brought the question away from the "kind" of couple that asks to be blessed to the specific couple that comes to the priest to ask for a blessing.

Demetrius and I, when we went to the priest to begin our preparation for marriage were not only an interracial couple, but an interfaith couple, and both barely into our twenties. I can imagine someone asking "How do you know God would bless that?" of any of those demographic descriptors. Thankfully, the priest didn't treat us as demographics, but as two people making an important commitment.

I was happy that the Pre-Cana preparation process was in place so that there were steps for a couple to follow, requiring them to really think and talk about what it meant to get married. And even before we came to that place, we had to be pretty sure ourselves, because we faced more questioning of our decision than more "traditional" couples do.

But to be legally married in the eyes of the state, if you're the "right" kind of couple--which, at this point in time, does include interracial couples--requires much less. And I guess that's a good thing, because we don't really want the government intruding into such deeply personal decisions any more than necessary. But, just because marriage *can* be entered into lightly, doesn't mean that it should. And when a couple is willing to stand before God and before their church community to make those promises to each other, as +KJS has said, that's something the church should be blessing.

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