We take to the streets for marriage equality
Unitarian Universalists took their values into the street Saturday holding a noon rally at Loring Park, swarming the Twin Cities Pride Festival with their yellow Standing on the Side of Love shirts and their messages about marriage equality.
The visual high point might have been the chariot, drawn by four roosters, carrying a newly joined lesbian couple from Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul. The chariot made an appearance in the plenary hall, then led UUs from the convention center to the park, about a half-mile, where the pride festival was in full sway. The roosters, actually giant puppet figures, came from the local Heart of the Beast theater.
The Rev. Kendyl Gibbons, senior minister of First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, welcomed the crowd, estimated at 1,500, saying “We are here to remind ourselves and each other that we who stand on the side of love do not stand alone.
Representatives from at least nine other faiths were also present.
The Rev. Justin Schroeder, senior minister at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, introduced a gay man, Tim Reardon, who shared the story of his partner’s death and his (Tim’s) struggle with having no rights as a partner. “This should not happen to any Minnesotan,” he said.
Amy Carol Webb, a singer-songwriter from Oklahoma, invited all of the same-gender couples to come up in front of the stage. Dozens did and she gave them a “song blessing,” singing “Be the change we want to see . . .”
Other speakers included the Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs, the Rev. Meg Riley, Director of Advocacy and Witness for the UUA; the Rev. Mark Belletini of the First UU Church of Columbus, Ohio; the Rev. Dr. Holly Horn and the Rev. Benjamin Maucere, of the UU Society of Iowa City, who married several busloads of couples from outside Iowa last year, and the Rev. Peter Morales, UUA president.
Morales told the crowd, “The religious point of view has too often been ceded to those who use religion to shut people out, but American history would not have progressed on any social issues without people of faith who struggled for justice and who continue to do so. The time has come for incremental steps towards equality to grow into giant strides.”
The Rev. Fred Small, senior minister of First Parish in Cambridge, Mass. (Unitarian Universalist) closed the gathering with a song benediction, “Ain’t you got a right to the tree of life . . .” He urged ministers to refuse to sign marriage licenses for heterosexual couples until laws are changed permitting all people to marry.