The diocesan convention voted on many resolutions today. Most passed or failed by overwhelming majorities. But on a few ballots, the minorities were large, and when in the majority, I took no pleasure in the victory. I was haunted by the map of the election results of Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban. The specter brought to mind another time, when majorities passed Jim Crow Laws, stripping minority rights all over the nation, not just in the South.
One resolution at convention gave me hope. Originally, Integrity had proposed Resolution D, authorizing gay marriage in our diocese. After Tuesday’s election results, I dreaded voting for it. Our diocese being along the coast, I expected to relive Proposition 8, in the reverse. A heated debate, with both sides passionate in their certitude, would be followed by the majority voting down a minority.
Miraculously, when I arrived at the convention, the original measure had been withdrawn. A new measure requested a national committee be formed, to examine the theological dimensions of Christan marriage and its evolution over the centuries — inviting dialogue on the issue, rather than a simple winner-take-all. Few speakers came to the microphone. One who had come prepared to debate against the marriage measure spoke in favor of the new one – he wasn’t sure about the premise that marriage actually had evolved, but he was willing to accept the invitation to dialog. The resolution passed unanimously.
Proposition 8 goes to the courts now. The judges will be informed by our nation’s long legal struggle to stop discrimination against minorities. The news media’s coverage of the legal battle will keep the public dialog going. And in time, hopefully sooner rather than later, I pray America will see bans of gay marriage as misguided as Jim Crow Laws were.
But I believe it will take time. Voting is fast and easy. Winner and loser. But dialog takes time. And dialog over time, winning the hearts and minds of an overwhelming majority, is what it will take to keep this sort of measure off of the ballot, for good.