Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Religion and Politics

Church last Sunday was interesting.

There's a ballot measure here to change the state Constitution to say that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. Needless to say this is causing a bit of a foofaraw locally... We got married in March when Multnomah County was handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but it's been held up in court since then so we, along with the other 3000 couples, are in legal limbo.

Our church is a rather crunchy granola-y lefty Democraty social-justicey sort of church, and the pet project of late is to educate people around town about the dangers of amending a Constitution (once amended very difficult to un-amend, etc) and the discrimination it would cause, etc etc. Not just from the "it's a bad idea because it doesn't need to happen" angle but also the "it's a bad idea because same sex couples should be allowed to marry" angle for which I love, love, love them.

We would appear to be the only same-sex couple in the church. And we have this adorable infant. (I showed up without Julianna and Delia a couple of weeks ago and everyone looked eagerly past me, around me, behind me, and finally asked where they were in crestfallen tones...) We actually chose this church because when we got married, in the lobby of the Civic Auditorium, surrounded by officials of every denomination rapidly joining couple after couple in the (hopefully legal) bonds of holy matrimony etc etc, it was Pastor Dave of this particular church who performed the ceremony. So we thought, we'll start there. And despite initial fears that it was strictly a church for Old, Old, Old People, it became like home to us very quickly.

Anyway as the lone conspicuous lesbian couple, complete with adorable tangible evidence of commitment, we have become sort of the gay/lesbian mascot couple. Not that they kiss our shiny metal behinds or anything, but I think we just give a face to the formerly rather theoretical question of gay marriage.

Last Sunday was the second Sunday of the month which means instead of a sermon there is an invitation to the congregation to comment on whatever the topic is -- which this time it was Measure 36. And the lady in front of us made some comments, and some other guy did too, and then the lady in front of us had a little more to say, mainly all along the lines of it's discriminatory etc etc. And then I felt compelled to tell a little story. Pastor Dave comes around with a microphone so you have to be brave and not just try to hide from the mike. So I was brave.

"Well, I'm kind of biased," was how I started it, which actually got a laugh, and then I continued on with the harrowing tale of last Thanksgiving when on the Monday before, at 15 weeks pregnant I suddenly found myself bleeding heavily and couldn't reach Julianna at work. I couldn't reach anyone and was alone and afraid to drive and frankly was in a state of complete panic and despair. I ended up calling 911 and was taken away in an ambulance. The operator asked me who I wanted notified, and I told her, "My partner Julianna, I couldn't reach her at work," and she took the number.

And when Julianna got back to her desk, she got two terrible messages from me, and one from 911 asking her to call them. When she did (and I left this part out as it was not relevant to the topic at church) security came rushing to her cube as they are notified whenever anyone calls 911 so they can go help if needed. Then she spent twenty minutes trying to find out where I was taken because the operator who she reached, not the same one I had spoken to, would not divulge my whereabouts because Julianna is not next of kin.

So I sat alone, bleeding, crying, in a cold little exam room at the ER thinking I had miscarried (and that the baby was in the toilet at home, though I left this part out as well and it is still too horrible to think about so I'm not thinking about it), for an hour before Julianna could get to me. The 911 operator finally forwarded her call to the ambulance company whose rules about these things are not so stringent and they told her where I was.

The good news was that I had not miscarried, I spent a week on bed rest, took it pretty easy for the rest of the pregnancy, and Delia arrived robust and healthy and none the worse for wear.

Anyway after the service Pastor Dave thanked me for my testimony, and I answered that I'm not very political and I'm no good at arguing so testimony is all I have.

And I wasn't afraid of the microphone at all. I spent the whole time I was talking looking at Delia so I wouldn't falter.

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