HRC Blog

MCC – 44 Years of Kisses

This guest post comes from the The Rev. Candy Holmes:

When our kiss made the list of “Top Ten Gay Kisses” on Huffington Post and was featured by HRC, our friends urged us to write about our journey. The collaborations with HRC and NBJC to bring legal marriage to Washington, D.C., and Maryland have been powerful. But it is the rich history of work for marriage equality through the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), where we both serve as ordained clergy,that grounds us.

More than four decades ago in 1969, Rev. Troy Perry, MCC founder, performed the first wedding for a gay couple in California. The next year, he blessed the marriage of two women and filed the first lawsuit for the right to legally marry. Since then, MCC leaders initiated nationwide annual Valentine’s Day events with protests at marriage bureaus. We have married hundreds of couples at each “March on Washington,” protested inequality on April 15 tax day, and performed thousands of Holy Unions in emerging congregations across the country.

In the dozens of cities and states across the country achieving or working toward marriage equality, MCC pastors consistently step up to help organize and be the faith voice to advocate for the legal right to marry the person you love.

MCC clergy and other faith leaders were at the forefront of the struggle to bring marriage for all loving couples in Washington, D.C. On that joyful day when equality became law, I married the love of my life, the Rev. Darlene Garner. We were deeply moved and honored to be the third couple to be legally married in Washington, D.C. 

Sadly, when we returned home to Maryland we were still considered strangers in the eyes of the law, so we organized again alongside a coalition of other faith leaders, organizations, and fair-minded citizens!  My wife and I testified before the Maryland legislature making it very clear that our families matter. So it is history in the making that Governor O’Malley has signed into law the Civil Marriage Protection Act – a bill that treats our love and our family with the same respect as every family in Maryland deserves.

We helped organize “Faithful Voices,” a celebratory gathering of faith communities in support of all our relationships, where Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, and Maryland’s Attorney General Doug Gansler, gave us hope for the future of full equality.

Our hope as MCC clergy comes from spiritual and civic commitment to equality, standing alongside thousands upon thousands of people who are encouraged to lift up what is just. Our hope emerges from the life-giving ministries of MCC with ministries in 40 countries, where we sometimes risk our lives to speak out for the respect our love and families deserve. It is a long road to freedom, but we are on the right side of history. Love wins!

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