May 19, 2011

A testimony for marriage equality; a day in the struggle

    When has anyone ever voted on YOUR life?
It's after 11:00 pm on Wednesday night. Here's how I spent my day:

1. Up before 7:00 am (I usually wake around 8:00).

2. Carpool to the Minnesota capitol at 8:00 am.

3. 8:30-10:30 am, listen to Minnesota House of Representatives' Committee on House Rules: Shall the proposed constitutional amendment to define [restrict] marriage be advanced to the full House for a vote, the outcome of which, if it passes there, will be to let the people vote in 2012? Vote is 13-12 in favor. There are many tears, sobs, and shouts. One woman stands and says, "I shall not be moved. This is not my Minnesota." Bailiffs ask her to be silent and calm down. She does not. She sits on the floor and says "I shall not be moved." She is picked up and carried out of the room. More tears and sobs.

4. 10:45-11:30 am. Two GLBTQ advocacy groups tell those of us gathered what our next steps are: Call legislators in the House who are wavering. Prepare for a House vote as early as Thursday. Come to the office to make phone calls to Minnesotans.

5. 12:00-1:00 pm. Send emails and messages to friends throughout Minnesota, asking them to call legislators. Clear my schedule for Thursday.

6. 1:00-2:00 pm. Lunch break.

7. 2:00-3:45 pm More emails and calls; break up the monotony by looking at Facebook.

8. 3:45 pm Head to office for phone calling.

9. 4:30-7:00 pm Phone calls.

10. 8:00-9:15 pm. Conference call about Quaker event planning, unrelated to the amendment. None of us on the call identify as straight.

11. 8:45 pm Jeanne interrupts my call: The House has announced it will vote on the bill on Thursday; rally to begin at 10:00 am; expect the debate to go on all day. [UPDATE: Early on Thursday morning, the news goes out that the rally and House session is pushed back until the afternoon. Stop jerking our chain!]

12. 9:15-10:15 pm Call who I can to tell them about the vote.

13. 11:00 pm Write my family.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

As I got ready for bed, I felt rise up in me so many emotions. A great sadness that my life is something that someone else can vote on. A great hurt that so few of my friends--my straight allies--will cancel their plans in order to stand with us at the capitol. A great hole and deep sorrow...

...And at last I understand why women suffragists and laborers and Gandhi go on hunger strikes:
    No one but myself can control my life, MY life, and I will use it or lose it as *I* choose.
Am I ready to go on a hunger strike for the sake of freedom to marry? I don't think so.

But my bones, my heart aches.

They ache for justice.



Daniel Wilcox said...

Hi Liz,

Words are inadequate...I will hold you and your cause in God. And here's a virtual hug:-)

And take comfort in these words by Zinn, as inadequate as they are:"...if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

John Woolman began the witness against slavery in the early 1730's. And each day he made a difference for some people, even though it took an exceedingly long, excruciating 130 years before the government finally came around to making the truth legal.

Live in the Light especially when outer circumstances are wrong.

Daniel Wilcox

Liz Opp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marshall Massey (Iowa YM [C]) said...

Hi, Liz! I think the really important thing here is that, this year, for the very first time, a majority of U.S. citizens believe same-sex marriage should be legal.

When we have this kind of situation — a law that attempts to force morality in one direction, while a majority of the populace believes it should go in the opposite direction — all we have to do is keep showing the public concrete illustrations of the injustice of the law, because every time we do, we gain more ground.

Alice Y. said...

Thanks for writing this Liz. I am struggling to find any words to write but I am hearing you and I am giving thanks for your ability to speak out about what is happening.
Maybe these pains can still be the birth pains of God's reign breaking out further into our hurting world. I hear your grief at how few will go when the call is 'right now'. How difficult we humans find it to hear and love one another and to act for what is right.
Also, I know God is working here! I know the Holy Spirit causes justice to rain down like water, and brings forth joy in the morning from the darkest of nights. I am praying for you and Jeanne to be kept strong in the joy and peace of God's movement for freedom and reconciliation on earth. God bless.

Liz Opp said...

Thanks to each of you for reaching out to me this way, for affirming what we know, experimentally, to be True:

There is one Law that is higher than the written word.

Here are some suggestions to follow events in Minnesota from now through November 2012:

1. Look for the Facebook page of Minnesotans United for All Families or go to its website.

2. If you use Twitter, follow tweets from @outfrontmn, @MN4allfamilies, and #noh8mn.

Jeanne and I have also begun tweeting and feel as though we are being called to be more than "public Friends on QuakerQuaker." Follow Jeanne @writeousness; I'm tweeting under @Two_Cranes.

Thanks again for your support.