Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Stories Change Minds...and Hearts

Yesterday, a colleague on a list serv sent around an article on why it was that only 45 out of 150 MA legislators voted to put marriage equality on the chopping block again. The link to the article didn't work, and I'm not sure if it's from the Boston Globe or the NY Times.

But rarely does a news article remind me of a good sermon. This one does. It features interviews with legislators about why they voted for the rights of same sex couples and why they changed their mind.

Here is an excerpt:

Representative Geraldo Alicea, a Democrat from Charlton, is a freshman who once promised to vote in favor of the amendment. But after he was elected, he said, "I thought it was best to be open-minded." He spent many nights over the past five months meeting with gay and straight constituents. They included a couple who had been together for 28 years, and who, before they were married, had not been able to see each other at the hospital when one of them was seriously ill.

He also spoke to a young lesbian couple who had adopted 4-year-old twins, and he said he found it difficult to imagine casting a vote that could hurt that growing family.

Representative Paul Kujawski, a Catholic Polish-American who represents a conservative district in southern Worcester County, switched his vote after months of soul-searching. What changed his mind, he said, was meeting a lesbian couple from his district who helped him understand what it meant to them to get married after more than two decades together. "It was nothing more than that -- wanting people to live happily," he said.>> The couple came to the State House yesterday for the vote and found Kujawski in the crowd after it was over. "There were really no words," Kujawski said. "Just hugs and tears."

Candaras had voted for the amendment when she was a House member... Some constituents wrote saying that they had changed their minds, like the elderly woman who said she> previously asked Candaras to support the ban. "But since then, Gale," the woman wrote, as Candaras told it, "this lovely couple, these two men, moved in next door to me, and they have a couple of children and they're married, and they help me with my lawn. And if they can't be married in Massachusetts, they're going to leave -- and then who would help me with my lawn?" Candaras said that after living with gay marriage for three years, many Massachusetts residents have grown accustomed to it, even those who once had reservations.

God bless the elderly woman with the lawn that needs to be cut and the legislators for opening not only their minds but also their hearts.

Stories make a difference. I invite you to tell your's.


I'm off tomorrow for a long weekend of travel -- keynoting the AASECT meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina and then on to Portland, Oregon for the UU General Assembly. If you will be at either, I hope you'll take the time to introduce yourself. I probably won't again until I'm back on Tuesday, but I hope you take the time to browse through previous entries.

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