Selection Of Your Comments
October 11, 2004
We received the following press release (excerpt) from our new link partners:
David Kirk and Randy Stopher have launched www.GayRites.net, a new Web community devoted to the many rituals of lesbian and gay life. The site includes resources on subjects from coming out through travel to weddings, commitment ceremonies, adoption and building strong lesbian and gay relationship. The site features community forums in which experts moderate several of the ongoing discussions.
The site also features a wedding gift registry, regular columns, lesbian and gay news, shopping and travel resources. GayRites.net offers a large and growing library of available books, videos and other resources featuring subjects such as planning a wedding or commitment ceremony, legal and financial issues, strengthening relationships, adoption and child-rearing and many other subjects of use and interest to lesbian and gay people and their families.
Kirk, who is 52 today and Stopher, 43 are residents of Upper Providence Township (PA) near Philadelphia. They are long-term partners who met in 1989 in New Orleans while boarding an all-gay Caribbean cruise. They combined their Philadelphia and Chicago households four months later in a tiny row house in South Philadelphia. Two years later, they returned to the ship on which they met to have their first commitment ceremony. They will celebrate their fifteenth anniversary together in February 2005.
“We’ve had an extraordinary life together,” Kirk said. “We’ve learned countless lessons about making a relationship thrive and the practical aspects of building and maintaining a home. We want to be a part of bringing the possibility and experience of powerful, lasting relationships to other lesbian and gay people.”
Stopher added, “We’ve been working on the site for many months in our spare time and it already reflects the best aspects of a thriving community. We’ve had help and advice from California, Wisconsin, Korea, Pennsylvania and even Croatia, from gay and straight people alike, who have caught the spirit of what we’re trying to provide. We have high hopes that the forums at GayRites will become the centerpiece of a large community of people sharing and helping one another with all the rituals that are part of our lives.”
October 12, 2004
After reading the September 29th article on Audra and Mark, I just wanted to let you know that my partner and I traveled to Toronto from London, England, for our wedding. Even though we are a heterosexual couple who could have had our ceremony here in the UK, it was important to us to be married somewhere same-sex marriage was both legal and equal. Toronto was the natural choice, since it is the city in which my father and his male partner of 30 years have lived for most of my life.
Registering at City Hall for our marriage license, both the couple in front of us and the couple behind us were gay families excited, as we were, about this important step. Our garden ceremony two days later was hosted at the home of Jamie and Alan, a gay couple who run a Bed and Breakfast in Toronto. On a beautiful September day, our ceremony included this reading from Cater Heyward's essay "A Passion for Justice":
"To make love is to make justice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk. People working today on behalf of women, blacks, lesbians and gay men, the aging, the poor in this country and elsewhere know that making justice is not a warm, fuzzy experience."
Because most of our family and friends were not able to travel to Toronto with us, we will be having a second ceremony and reception next month, this time in Edinburgh, Scotland. That ceremony will include a reading from Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Health, the Massachusetts decision on gay marriage. Not to mention Hava Nagila played on the bagpipes!
I think that a lot of politically and socially conscious left-wing hetero couples contemplating marriage suffer with the guilt of hetero privilege. But I also think that if you're willing to put your plane fare where your politics are, or to at least publicly acknowledge and address the issue of your privilege without fear, and make an effort to choose gay-owned vendors and suppliers, you can take some very conscious, positive steps to deal with the guilt and the realities behind it.
Anyway, thanks for the article -- I just wanted to let you know that other hetero couples are contemplating the same issue in different ways, and doing what we can, too.
October 19, 2004
Dear Kevin and Joe,
A century ago, when Canada was still Dominion, it was called the Church of England in Canada - to go along with British subject domiciled in Canada...my official status at birth. Today, as then, the Anglican Church of Canada is also divided by " churchmanship " or theological emphasis that was either Catholic or Evangelical.Sometimes these orthodoxies converged to oppose supposed threats to communal belief systems.
It has always been about sex in some form. Patriarchalism was the first challenge. One by one, Anglican national churches chose to ordain women to first the diaconate, then the priesthood, and in some countries, the episcopate. Of course, the other issue is about us.
Anglicanism, like Orthodoxy, prided itself on maintaining autocephaly among churches. The Patriarch of Constantinople and the Archbishop of Canterbury were accorded primacies of honour, not jurisdiction. That was left to the Patriarch of the West, of Rome, commonly called " the Pope." Only that Christian body required uniformity and monarchical global rule. In 1869-70, at their Vatican I, the Roman Catholic hierarchy sealed this approach theologically with two pronouncements - namely papal infallibility and the universal episcopacy of the pope. The former made the Pope supreme arbiter of faith and morals on planet earth, and the second, in opposition to ancient canons, made every bishop in the world a surrogate for the man in Rome.
The Lambeth Conference and the concept of the Worldwide Anglican Communion was born at the same time as the Anglo-Catholic or Tractarian movement. The last "High Church" monarch was Edward VII, who was its patron. It is accurate to mention that Anglicanism in its strongest Evangelical form and its strongest numbers is in Anglophile sub-Saharan Africa. Combine a need to adopt the monarchical model, and to remain relevant in numbers of communicants, and you understand how the feelings of the African hierarchy informed the "Windsor Report."
The Roman Catholic Church is unique in world theological systems in that it has been accorded, either through the Papal States or the Vatican City state, unusual access to world councils, especially the United Nations. The British Empire provided Anglicanism with that opportunity, if it were not for our Eastern Christian understanding of the Church as local and autonomous. This latter statement was especially understood by the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, the last Anglo-Catholic Cantuaris and a close friend of Orthodoxy. The icons that I saw as recently as several months ago in Westminster Abbey are testament to that strong tie.
It is time for the American and Canadian Churches to say to the African Churches and their European supporters, that where the Bishop (in Westminster) is, so is the Church. It is time to admit that the Via Media has always allowed for theological diversity and diversity in polity. The American church ordains women bishops...England does not, and only recently ordaining them to priesthood. The Vicar of Digby is one of my favourite programmes from the UK. Anglicanism has always been in the vanguard of change, truly listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit as he educates us to a cosmology beyond the first century.
I equally understand the voice of the Holy Spirit in synod, and appreciate the fact that Christian compassion made our supportive Father in God apologize for offending his neighbour...and yet defending the theological merits of our blessing, even if it falls short of sacramental binding, but not civil approbation.
Anglicanism is still the via media..............between the Metropolitan Community Church and the United Church of Canada to the Anglican middle ground and the forces of Evangelical Fundamentalism and the Roman Catholic Church in its rekindled Inquisition covering its paedophile scandals by painting all with one colour and one brush.
And yet, with faith and hope, I know in my heart and soul that we shall overcome and prevail, if not in our lifetime, then in the lifetime of our children and grandchildren.
Raymond and Albert Sawyer-Smith