UU Congregation Celebrates a Year of Marriage Equality for 10 Same-Sex Couples
When my long-awaited sabbatical began, a year ago, the first thing I did was come ‘back to work’ to perform 10 same-sex weddings on the first day they were legal in Washington, DC.
The attorney general of Maryland had just issued an opinion that such weddings would be legally recognized in Maryland, home to my congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring. I thought of all the same-sex couples in our church who deserved this and who had been denied this and I was darned if I was miss out on being there to officiate and celebrate with them all, their marriages at long last. It wasn’t hard to come back – it would have been hard, no impossible, to stay away.
I don’t think words can describe the anticipation, the joy, the pride, the sense of unity that filled us all on that extraordinary, long, fantastic day. Our founding congregation, Universalist National Memorial Church, hosted the ceremonies in the District. I feel I should say that I don’t recommend doing 10 ceremonies back-to-back over the course of 5 hours. But I do. The whole time the weddings were going on, one long, evolving reception was also going on one floor below, as each couple was married and came down for their own ‘first dance’ song, and refreshments and celebration. Many people came for one wedding’s reception and stayed the whole time, renewed in joy as each new couple came to put their own mark on the party. It was unforgettable. It was historic. And it was defining moment for all of us at the UU Church of Silver Spring.
Now a year later, we are about to celebrate the one-year anniversary of those weddings. This Sunday, February 27, members who were married that day will share with us what the day was like, what it meant to them, what it changed for them or preserved for them. And incredibly, for this congregation that has made Marriage Equality one of its primary social justice commitments, even as we celebrate this historic anniversary, our own state’s representatives are voting in the next few days whether to pass Marriage Equality in our state. We have fought so long and hard for this. Last week on Valentine’s Day, our church sent 89 people to the capital to lobby for this. We host a phone bank each Wednesday night. Now, perhaps by the time of our anniversary service just a few days from now, we will have won this long legislative struggle.
I am more proud than I can say of this congregation’s love and commitment. And I am just as proud to be a Unitarian Universalist and part of a faith that stands and works so powerfully for love. Never think we can’t make a difference. Never think we can’t move mountains. Look at what we do, what we mean, together.
In gratitude and pride,
Liz Lerner Maclay
Senior Minister, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring
Silver Spring, MD
On Feb. 26th, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring will celebrate a year of marriage equality for 10 same-sex couples who live in Maryland and were married in Washington, D.C. in 2010.
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay and members of the congregation organized the weddings after the Maryland’s Attorney General issued an opinion that the state would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. The weddings were performed at the Universalist National Memorial Church, with the support of Rev. Lillie Mae Henley and that congregation, on the very first day such weddings were legal in the district.
On Sunday, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring’s morning worship services will commemorate those weddings including reflections from some of the people who were married a year ago. Though this congregation is working strongly for Marriage Equality, and some Maryland legislators are expected to attend, this service will not be a political action but instead a spiritual reflection and celebration of love.
Services are at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at the church, located at 10309 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20903. For more information call Rev. Maclay at 202-253-0053.