During the two days that the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the discriminatory 'Defense of Marriage Act" and California's Proposition 8, people of faith gathered in DC and around the country to pray for the freedom to marry.
In the early morning hours of Tuesday morning, nearly 400 worshippers gathered at a church directly behind the US Supreme Court for "A Prayer for Love and Justice." The sunrise prayer service included prayers, blessings, songs and exhortations for our country to enact the freedom to marry for all couples.
Prayers abounded. Prayers against discrimination and judgment. Prayers to end persecution. Prayers to remember those who have passed before in the struggle. Prayers for liberation, love, and marriage equality. The crowd was washed in prayer, calling out names, standing with loved ones, evoking the spirit.
Those who blessed the congregation were themselves representing a wide tradition of faith traditions. Rabbi Eleanor Steinmann of California Faith for Equality reminded us that we are in Passover days, Reverend Selena Fox, the Senior Minister and High Priestess for Circle Sanctuary held a rope above her head and led the crowd to chant "tie the knot." Reverend Jill McCrory wanted the congregation to know that they were being blessed by a Baptist.
Bishop Yvette Flunder and Marvin Matthews, along with a host of singers, riled the crowd up, singing that God will speak to the hearts of all American people on the issue of LGBT equality and marriage equality.
And when it was time, those people of faith marched forth from the church to the Supreme Court to join with thousands of others at the United for Marriage rally.
Tuesday evening, one hundred faithful sat for "Parking the Waters: A Prop 8 Passover for Love, Liberation & Justice." The Seder was designed specifically to mark that the hearing for Prop 8 fell on the second night of Passover. As the faithful walked through the haggadah, each section called out parallel for the lives of LGBT people. We waited in expectation for marriage equality. We called out for employment protections for LGBT people. We lamented LGBT homeless youth. And we celebrated the victories we have achieved along this journey.
The Seder was led by Rabbi Denise Eger and Rabbi Ellie Steinman, with portions read by leaders in the LGBT religious movement.
Both these DC services were a part of the more than 170 events in every state around the country. GLAAD was on the ground in Washington DC, New York City and Los Angeles as a part of the United for Marriage coalition.