THE REV. HOLLY MCKISSICK, Peace Christian Church UCC, Overland Park: Mildred and Richard Loving were married in 1958 in Washington, D.C. Mildred, in her own words, was half Negro and half Indian; Richard was white.
Returning to their Virginia home, they were arrested and banned from the state for 25 years. The ACLU took their case, and in 1967 the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia.
From our nation’s birth, church and state have used marriage as an instrument of control. Before whites arrived, many Native Americans practiced a form of marriage that was egalitarian, with women and men enjoying similar sexual and property freedoms.
In an effort to control native people, whites imposed their own norms on everything from farming to family structure. This pattern was repeated on plantations, where slave owners destroyed families, separating husbands and wives. Like native people, slaves resisted and created their own customs to preserve marriage and family.
Marriage wars are not new in our country.
I’m thankful to be in the United Church of Christ, a progressive faith tradition — the first to call for the legalization of gay marriage, 30 years before the Supreme Court decision. Our faith proclaims that love is love; all have the gift to marry.
Mildred Loving, who died in 2008, issued a statement in 2007 (on the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia) supporting gay marriage. A woman of deep faith, Mildred had not taken this position originally, but she came to it after much reflection. In the end, her name said it all.
THE REV. JARIE NEWSOME, Center for Spiritual Living Crossroads, Shawnee: What an outstanding time to write about marriage!
Every Center for Spiritual Living and Science of Mind community around the globe has always embraced people from all faiths, walks of life, nationalities and sexual orientation. In fact, our overarching vision is to create a world that works for all.
So our belief in marriage equality for everyone was affirmed by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. We deeply appreciate the courage and wisdom of this monumental action. It ensures that each of us has the civil right to deepen committed love through marriage.
This decision also affirms what we believe, and that is … we’re all one in the mind of God.
When we are all treated as equals, we are all free. In a world in which gay and lesbian couples live openly as our neighbors, as parents raising children and as loving and spiritual beings that contribute to our local and global community, it is only right that they have equal participation in the institution of marriage.
Guided by spiritual laws and principles, we emphasize our oneness with spirit and one another while challenging ourselves to truly love unconditionally. It’s our joy to honor the inherent value, dignity and goodness within every human being. We stand for equality in every way, shape and form.
Truly, there is a chorus of love sweeping our nation, allowing all to live out loud in marriage with the love of their choosing.
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