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Our History: Love is Love

I am filled with gratitude and joy as we commemorate a significant milestone in our journey toward equity and love. June 26 marks the 10th anniversary of marriage equality in California—a momentous occasion that reflects the progress we have made in embracing and affirming the diverse expressions of love within our faith community.

Fifteen years ago, in 2008, the California Supreme Court made a landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. This decision brought immense joy to many couples who had longed for recognition and rights as loving couples–a joy that did not last long.

Later that year, Proposition 8 took center stage across the state. This ballot measure aimed to amend the California Constitution to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman–effectively banning same-sex marriage in the state.

When the day of California’s general election arrived, the people of California cast their votes. Proposition 8 emerged triumphant, securing a slim majority of 52% in favor of the amendment. With its passage, the California Constitution was modified to restrict marriage solely to opposite-sex couples.

Thankfully, the story did not end there.

Many embarked on a legal journey to challenge Proposition 8. They argued that the amendment violated the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples, seeking justice and equality under the law.

Their legal battle took them to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in a case known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger. In 2010, Judge Vaughn R. Walker delivered a historic ruling, declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The judge found that it violated both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Joy and relief swept through the state as same-sex marriages immediately resumed in California.

But, the proponents of Proposition 8 were not ready to concede. Their continued efforts eventually led them to the highest court in the land—the United States Supreme Court. In 2013, the Supreme Court heard the case Hollingsworth v. Perry, which determined the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

Love had something to say that day. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court stated that the proponents of Proposition 8 did not possess the legal standing to appeal the lower court’s decision. In essence, the Supreme Court allowed the lower court’s ruling to stand, legalizing marriage for all same-sex couples in California.

The impact of the California cases reached far beyond the state’s borders. Momentum for marriage equality grew, shifting public opinion and a growing recognition of the rights and dignity of same-sex couples. It began transforming the nation.

Over the past decade, we have witnessed profound moments of celebration as couples joined together in holy matrimony, surrounded by the support and blessings of their families and friends. These sacred unions have enriched our diocese, reminding us that love knows no boundaries and that all relationships are worthy of recognition and affirmation.

I am so proud that the people of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego demonstrate our commitment to the Gospel message of love and inclusivity. We recognize that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, is a beloved child of God, created in God’s image and deserving of dignity and respect. By celebrating and supporting same-sex unions, we affirm the inherent worth and value of LGBTQ+ individuals and their relationships.

As we reflect on these ten years of progress, let us also acknowledge the work that remains. According to The Human Rights Campaign, a record number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills “have been introduced to state legislatures,” and 45 anti-LGBTQ+ laws have been passed. The LGBTQ+ community who are transgender, gender nonbinary and/or Black, Indigenous, or people of color, face increased discrimination and vulnerability. We must continue to advocate for equal rights and protections for all LGBTQ+ individuals, both within and outside of the church. We are called to stand alongside our LGBTQ+ siblings, affirming their identities and supporting them as they navigate a world that often marginalizes and discriminates against them.

In celebrating this milestone, we recognize that the journey toward full inclusion and equality is ongoing. We recommit ourselves to creating a community where all people feel welcomed, embraced, and empowered to fully participate in the life of the Church. Let us continue to engage in conversations, education, and advocacy that promote justice, compassion, and understanding.

To all those who have contributed to this journey of inclusivity and love, thank you. Your voices, your actions, and your unwavering commitment to justice have made a difference. Together, we are transforming the landscape of the Church and society, creating a more compassionate and inclusive world.

As we celebrate this milestone, let us renew our dedication to building a society where all are fully embraced and affirmed. May our courageous hearts be open, our actions be guided by love, and our voices be raised in support of justice and equality for all.

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Category: #Advocacy, #Communications

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6 replies to “Our History: Love is Love

  1. Tom Wilson | on June 21, 2023

    Thank you for this message of hope and support. John and I were married in Sept 2008 and experienced the emotional rollercoaster of the ensuing years. And now again we are called to witness in word and deed to God’s all-embracing love.

  2. Peter Sickels | on June 21, 2023

    Amazing coincidence that the US Supreme Court decided two Pro-LGBT cases on June 26; 2013 and 2015, and within a week of Juneteenth celebrating the delivery of delayed justice.

  3. Mary Lynn Coulson | on June 25, 2023

    Thank you for this beautiful reflection. So grateful for the witness of church leaders who use their power and voice to lift up the fight for justice.

  4. Rev. Dr. Alex Nagy | on June 26, 2023

    It is very reassuring when the Bishop of our Diocese speaks clearly and affirmingly the mind of Christ with regard to the dignity of every human person. Thank you, +Susan, for speaking for our Creator.

  5. Verdery Kassebaum | on June 29, 2023

    Thank you, Bishop Susan, for this post. Several years ago I found myself befriended by a young trans-man who started attending Good Samaritan. Having grown up in a neighborhood that called itself Christian (pardon my negativity), he had wanted nothing to do with Christianity, though he believed in God. When I got to know him a little better, he told me his story: that one day he found himself across the street from Good Sam and while he was waiting for the signal to turn green, he heard the voice of God telling him, “I want you to go to that church across the street.” I’m not exactly sure that Miles told God what God could do with that idea, but his story is that he tried going across when the light changed and simply couldn’t. Eventually, he gave in and started coming to Good Sam, where he found people who gave him bread and wine and hugs and love and eventually decided to be baptized and asked me to be… one of his sponsors, a request which I was proud and delighted to accept. For several years he was part of the Good Samaritan family, attending services, going to coffee hour, being welcomed with open arms by most, if not all, the Good Sam family. Several years later he moved back up to the Bay Area with a good friend and started attending St. Gregory of Nyssa Church in San Francisco. We keep in touch via Facebook and he seems to be doing well. I am so proud of the people of Good Sam for taking him under their wings.

  6. sandra bedard | on June 29, 2023

    I am so proud to be an Episcopalian. Having been one since age 6 I never thought much about tis until I got older and learned all that we do to make our world a better place.
    Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful speech!
    Returning from our Provence VIII retreat/meeting made me even prouder of our wonderful group of ECW. We are so lucky to have so many great women involved with the Episcopal Church!

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