I’m still unpacking it all. The public, the personal, the private.
The public was the experience of standing outside the Supreme Court waiting for the marriage equality rulings. I was so nervous and hopeful. “Wow.” That was all I could say for hours after we heard the wonderful news. Literally, just, “Wow.” I was full of joy and numb at the same time!
The personal hit. Here I am with my clergy collar on, open and gay, wondering how this will affect my partner Barb and me. We need to read, study, and understand the legal aspects of it all. Marry? When and where? We just don’t yet, but the highest court in the land rules that we are equal.
The private was the singing of our national anthem with the crowd. The Washington Gay Men’s Chorus, all in red shirts, started softly singing the “Star Spangled Banner.” How many times in my life have I sung that, in uniform, while hiding who I am? Someone waived a large American flag. Land of the free and home of the brave! It was like I heard it for the first time. Being open, gay, and a Navy veteran somehow doesn’t all quite mix for me yet. We’ve had to hide for so long. But this… was beautiful.
My 56 years of life all went before my eyes. What a ride it has been with 20 years of service in the Navy. What a ride to be a minister. What a ride to stand there and think about being legally married. Open and free.
I didn’t know if I wanted to explode or implode!
Mary Oliver writes, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Like it hasn’t been wild already.
I honor our faith, Unitarian Universalism, for we have worked for years to help make marriage equality a reality. Whoever you are and whomever you love, you are welcome here.
This post was written by Rev. Kären Rasmussen, assistant minister at the UU Congregation of Columbia, Maryland, and minister for social justice at the UU Congregation of Fairfax, Virginia, and cross-posted from UUCF’s “Faith Matters” blog. Kären and her partner Barb Brehm are both retired Navy veterans and have been together for 27 years. They have 46 and a half years of service between them.