Standing by the side of love in Maryland
March 8, 2011 by Marty Rouse, National Field Director
A recently launched campaign by the Unitarian Universalist Association, called Standing on the Side of Love, brought tears to my eyes this weekend.
I, like a lot of people, am an infrequent churchgoer. In the effort to collect hand-written letters from constituents to their elected officials in order to pass marriage equality I attended the Unitarian Universalist Church in Hagerstown on Sunday. The Unitarian Unitarian Association recently launched "Standing on the Side of Love," a multi-issue campaign that could be used for many issues, including, first and foremost, winning marriage equality.
I drove 75 miles in the pouring rain to reach this quaint house of worship near the border of Pennsylvania, not far from the Cumberland Gap and Antietam National Park. While the churchgoers were eager to pen letters to their own member of the House of Delegates, I felt that renewed spirit of love for all, and commitment to social justice that make up the tenets of this faith.
Sure, I'll remember with joy, the caring faces and sweet singing voices of these Maryland congregants, but I was moved to tears when I read their hand-written letters from their hearts urging their House member to support the freedom to marry for all Marylanders. How can an elected official not be moved by reading this from a middle-aged mother and constituent: "When I was 16 years-old, my best friend went into his back yard and shot himself in the head. Why? Because he was afraid to grow up gay in America."
There is so much at stake in this week's upcoming vote on marriage equality in the Maryland House of Delegates. Not only the right to marry the one you love, but, sadly for many, life itself. Note: National Field Director Marty Rouse is a member of the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland.