Boston DOMA protest

Two of us from First Unitarian in New Bedford drove up to Boston today to attend the demonstration opposing the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” or DOMA (info about the demonstration here). It was cold — I saw one thermometer over a bank that read sixteen degrees. The cold kept a lot of people away — I would estimate that less than a thousand people showed up for this demonstration.

There may only have been a thousand of us, but we were enthusiastic, not least because you stay wormer when you’re enthusiastic. Just a few politicians braved the cold: Barney Frank, congressman from our district; Tom Menino, mayor of Boston; Denise Simmons, mayor of Cambridge. After Barney Frank spoke, the two of us from New Bedford made sure to say hello to him, and tell him we voted for him. He even posed for a picture:

Jean Kellaway and Barney Frank at the DOMA protest

That’s Jean K. posing with Barney Frank. Frank and several of the other speakers reminded us that now is a good time to start writing to your representatives and senators, telling them that we want DOMA repealed (heck, even the conservative legislator who wrote DOMA now wants it repealed). With a new president and a new congress, we have a much better chance of getting equal marriage rights over the next two years, but they do need to hear from you, their constituents.

Here’s one more photo, showing us walking through downtown Boston past King’s Chapel, one of the Unitarian Universalist churches in Boston:

Boston DOMA protest walking by King's Chapel

Finally, I note the following: I didn’t see any other Unitarian Universalist ministers or laypeople at this demonstration, but there was someone from the Boston Metropolitan Community Church handing out refrigerator magnets advertising their church.

2 thoughts on “Boston DOMA protest

  1. Bill Baar

    What is a UU Marriage? When UU’s speak of Marriage do we mean the same thing as a Christian, or Muslim, Jew, or Hindu?

    Is the marriage we seek to make equal the same kind of marriage others perform?

    Curious, because I think what we call marriage is unlike anything performed elsewhere…civil or otherwise.

  2. Dan

    Bill — Really good questions. And I only have ambiguous answers.

    Traditionally, marriage in a UU context is a covenant (not a sacrament). So I’m willing to bet that we do not mean the same thing by marriage as do most Christians, to say nothing of Hindus. But I’m not sure about Jews and Muslims.

    The real issue for me is that when I sign a marriage license as a UU minister, the government treats some of my marriages differently — as an officiant, it’s sorta like I have different rights than right wing Christian ministers.

    My real, heartfelt, answer to all this is simple and selfish — while I believe that clergy should not be allowed to solemnize legal/civil marriages, they should only be allowed to solemnize religious ceremonies, the political reality is that the government is not going to take away the right of clergy to solemnize legal/civil marriages. That being the case, I feel compelled to fight for my rights as a clergyperson, so that all the marriages I solemnize are equally legal.

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