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Dear Reader

I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Same Sex Marriage

Now for a personal word. I first wrote to the Standard in defense of
same sex marriage. Now I’ve been given the privilege to write this
Faith column. The opportunity is now to offer a more personal
reflection than I would normally want to do.

I left home at 14 to go to the seminary and begin the 11 years of
preparation to be a Roman Catholic priest. I actually played priest
with the help of my grandmother in first grade. I never dreamt of any
other course for my life. I was ordained a priest at 25 serving for
the next 31 years around the country and in Morocco as well as Israel.
The ad in Catholic Youth magazine said “be a Salvatorian and see the
world” – and some of this great world I saw.

When people would ask why I wanted to be a priest and give up family
or the possibility of making a family, I would respond: “I had no
choice, it is what I MUST do”. I would eventually discover that this
was a good cover for being gay and not having any choice to find love.
The priesthood was and is the greatest privilege of my life. But it
also served to mask my inner self. I knew God’s love intimately but I
was not to know the fullness of human love. This was expected for a
Roman Catholic priest.

Sadly, but proudly, in 2005 I had to make a very painful but very
important decision of integrity. In 1999 I met the man I wanted to
spend the rest of my life with. I could not do both, but I tried. This
led to a double life that was unfair to the Church and to myself as
well as the man I love. I do not regret for a moment that decision. I
am also most grateful to Hospice and in particular Barbara who gave me
a job as a chaplain. The staff, and surprisingly the people of Kingman
I have come to know, were tremendously supportive and encouraging.

Now at the age of 66 I have what I never could of imagined at 14 let
alone at 50, I have the opportunity to marry the man I love and have
the blessing of a faith community who accepts us as equal in love. At
66 the need for the basic rights and privilege of marriage are all the
more important. Aging means lots of doctor appointments and lots of
legal questions to face with end of life and protection of property
which only comes with marriage. Filling out all the forms over and
over again inserting “domestic partner” without much legal protection
are over. Evading questions of who is your wife, over.

Love is wonderful. Especially when it is new and romance fills the
air. But after 15 years, love is also practical. When you’ve been able
to navigate all the differences in a relationship and been able to
prove you can work through any problem and still want to enjoy the
person you have made a life with, well, that is marriage.

I feel truly grateful for all those couples and allies who have fought
the fight to make this possible. After years of being condemned,
shamed or made little of, the time has come when people like me can
proudly say “my spouse, my husband is..” Nothing to hide, nothing to
be ashamed of. Now let me limp along the fortunate task of aging and
give me reason to feel more secure, more loved than at any time in my
life. Having faith has carried me thus far.

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