I’m still a little shocked about what happened on Tuesday. I’ll admit it. I was really nervous. I wasn’t sure what would happen. This cautionary hope is still so embedded in my flesh that it seeped into my sermon this morning. Because I remember standing in that party in Portland, Maine two years ago truly believing that my former blue state would win marriage equality. They didn’t. We lost.
So, when I arrived in Washington to support the efforts of the marriage equality task force in my new church, I led with my nervous energy. I shared with those faithful volunteers what happened the next day — the day after we lost. I got email after email from church members that felt they were no longer safe in their community. I heard from gays and lesbians that didn’t know if they could call the beautiful state of Maine home anymore because of the awful things that had been said about them in the other side’s campaign. It was awful. There weren’t enough hugs or compassionate sighs. There was nothing to be said. It was just awful. And so, I was really nervous on Tuesday. My new home state and my former home state were voting on marriage equality — and I just didn’t know what to think.
On Tuesday, while gathered with new friends in Washington, I was frantically texting friends in Maine gathered in the same room as we were two years ago. And then, I got the text: We just called it. Marriage equality passed. It was hard to believe. Harder still was the text that followed: And you are a part of this win.
It’s one of the harder things about moving to a new place. You never stop caring about the people that you’ve left behind. You never quite give up that it’s still your home. So, it feels a little bit like my win. Not entirely. I don’t feel like I did enough in this campaign. I hesitate to claim that fully. But, then again, when I open my browser to The New York Times the very next day to see my dear friend Katy, I could only remember the work that we did to talk about love — what it means and why it matters especially to faith communities. Teary eyed in that picture, embraced by her beloved whom she married this summer in a wedding I couldn’t attend because I was packing to move, that’s my friend Katy. The same woman that organized my clergy self into this advocacy work for lesbians and gays to win marriage so many years ago. The same woman that challenged me to speak more about love because the people of Maine needed to hear it. It might be my win — but only because I love these people so much.