Faith Leaders Gather At Federal Courthouse Ahead of Same-sex Marriage Appeal
“What do we want?” asked Jay McNeal, a Baptist minister, through a megaphone as he and other people of all faiths marched down Main St. to the Federal Appeals Court in Downtown Richmond. “Marriage equality!” The inter-faith crowd chanted back. “When do we want it?” He asked in reply. “Now!” Shouted back the poster-wielding crowd.
People of Faith for Equality in Virginia hosted an evening vigil at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to protest the appeal of the Bostic V. Reiny case which aims to overturn Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“We’re just anticipating a great event in the history of Virginia,” said Jeanne Pupke, senior minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond.
“We’re here to celebrate what we anticipate will be a landmark day that will set us free. I think it’s very clear what the population wants to see, its very clear the direction that we’re moving, its very clear that the future is for all families,” she added.
The event began with inside St. Paul’s as an Interfaith Witness for Equality including sermons, prayers, singing and kind words from individuals representing a variety of different faith traditions. The group then marched from the church to the courthouse where the case will be heard tomorrow, beating drums and chanting along the way.
“One of the most used words in the torah is ‘justice’ and there’s a very famous phrase in Leviticus and it reads ‘justice justice you shall pursue’ and our founding fathers cited that often,” said David Perry, a member of the Temple Bethel synagogue in Richmond.
Supporters expressed a hopeful attitude toward the outcome of tomorrow’s case and reinforced the importance of peace and love.
“There’s such momentum right now. I’m so thrilled with these couples that have come forward and I really think Virginia’s going to be on the right side this time,” said Apryl Prentiss, a community organizer for People of Faith.
Prentiss stressed that the importance of faith was a big part of what propels the movement forward and that being gay and spiritual are not mutually exclusive entities. Her ideas were reinforced by McNeal, who comes from an opposite walk of life.
“I’m in the majority of folks in a lot of ways—straight middle class white guys with a lot of doors open for him and that’s not coherent with faith tradition,” McNeal said.
“The message that a lot of the LGBT community gets from many Christians which is that something is perverse or unnatural about them and having studied theology at three different seminaries, that hasn’t been my experience with the bible or god,” he added.
But even those with faith worried for what tomorrow might look like. Rev. Adrian Bouey, part of the Richmond Metropolitan Community Church, was concerned the demonstrations tomorrow could show Virginia in a negative light.
“I don’t expect a really peaceful morning,” she said along side her partner Rev. Carolyn Mobley. “I think those who oppose will be out their to express their feelings just as we will express ours. We want marriage equality now!”
The vigil not only drew supporters from different faith traditions, but also different parts of the state for this historic time in Virginia’s history.
Kate Kramer came down from Arlington, VA to be present for tomorrows hearing. Kramer called herself a proud virginian and said it was a chance to see history happen. “I wanted to be hear… I came down here for this.”
Although those in support agreed that tomorrow morning will likely be met with much unrest from those in opposition, the crowd was hopeful that Norfolk Federal District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen original statement that Virginia has, “arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect.”
Members of the RVA LGBTQ community joined People of Faith for Equality in Virginia(POFEV) in front of the Hanover County Courthouse this afternoon in support of marriage and tax equality. Rev. Robin Gorsline, Executive Director at POFEV, a group that seeks to achieve equal rights for LGBTQ Virginians, outlined the day’s agenda: prayer, blessing of [...]May 1, 2014
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