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  • Waiting for Marriage Equality: A Prayer

    Posted on April 18th, 2013 Ruth Abusch-Magder 1 comment

    Waiting for Marriage Equality

    The judicial system in our country works on its own timeline. While I am used to the cycle of the Jewish calendar, I find myself awaiting a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States with all my fellow justice and equality supporting Americans on Prop 8 an DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). The Supreme Court of the United States heard the Prop 8 and DOMA cases on March 26th and 27th coinciding with the first two days of Passover. While we count the Omer at the end of the second Seder knowing that 49 days later our people will arrive at Sinai for revelation, with the Supreme Court there is no known decision date.


    Sort of.


    Author: Rabbi Eleanor Steinman

    We anticipate the Supreme Court will issue decisions on Prop 8 and DOMA before the summer recess, which it typically does in late June. One attorney shared that the rulings typically come on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday or the days that are colored red or blue on this calendar. Or, though it happens rarely, the Court could kick the case to the next term as they did with Citizens United setting the cases for further briefing and argument in the fall. And in case that wasn’t enough uncertainty in the case of Prop 8, the court could dismiss the writ as improvidently granted, i.e. the Court decides they never should have heard the case and the ruling of the 9th Circuit will stand (Prop 8 is unconstitutional) and the freedom to marry will return to California. (Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. The above is my understanding of some of the options before the Supreme Court).


    To start the process and have no concrete decision day challenges me to take comfort in the unknown. I wrote this interpretive psalm.


    A Waiting Psalm

    (An Interpretation of Psalm 118)


    Rabbi Eleanor Steinman


    In the narrowness of waiting  I called upon the Source of Life; the Source answered me, and set me free.

    God is on my side, the side of equality and justice; I will not fear; what can another human being do to me?

    God takes my part with those who help me; therefore I shall gaze upon those who disagree with me.

    For it is better to take refuge in the Eternal than to put confidence in human beings.

    It is better to take refuge in God than to put confidence in those sitting upon thrones.

    All naysayers surround me; but in the name of God I will not allow their rhetoric to enter my consciousness.

    They surround me; indeed, they surround me; but in the name of God I will pay them no heed.

    They surround me like bees; they are quenched like a fire of thorns; for in the name of the Holy One I will hold fast to my belief in equality for all

    You, the one I disagree with, pushed me hard that I might fall; but God helped me.

    The Eternal One is my strength and song, and my faith has become my salvation.

    The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of God does bravely.

    The right hand of God is exalted; the right hand of God fortifies me in this time of waiting.

    You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, I will exalt you.

    O give thanks to the Eternal One; for God is good; God’s loving kindness endures forever.

    Amen. Selah.

    In my role as executive director of California Faith for Equality, I am privileged to work at the intersection of faith and LGBT equality. One campaign that CF4E is working on is called Breakthrough 2 Love. On the site you will find sermon resources, social media memes, and other information about how you and your congregation can make a bold statement that your community is open and affirming as we await a decision from the Supreme Court. Remember June is Pride Month, an ideal time to give a sermon. Please be in touch with me (steinman AT cafaithforequality DOT org or @rabbisteinman) if I can be of assistance to you or your congregation.

    Rabbi Eleanor Steinman is the Director of California Faith for Equality. You can follow them on twitter at @faith4equality.


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