Rev. Bonnie J. Berger

Views & Voices

A monumental day for love in Maryland, my Marry-land…

REV. BONNIE J. BERGER [e]Interfaith Minister[m]

Maryland, my Marry-land.

Through the hard work of LGBT activists and allies, and by the understanding of its residents that love affirmed only betters society, you my beloved state, have now entered the small and growing ranks of those states that have legalized same-sex marriage.

It wasn’t so long ago, March 10, 2010, that I officiated the first same-sex ceremony the day it became legal in Washington, D.C.

In front of news cameras that broadcast that moment to places all over the world, I affirmed, lifted, and legalized the marriage of Robb and James. Since that day, I have presided over close to 300 same-sex ceremonies. Many of the couples came to me from Maryland.

While the state of Maryland recognized same sex marriages from out-of-state, couples could not be issued a marriage license from their home state.

I hated to be the bearer of bad news when same sex couples asked me to perform their ceremonies in Maryland. Many were incredulous that they had to go somewhere away from their families and friends in order to have a legal ceremony. It placed not only a logistical burden on them, but an emotional and financial one as well.

So on Tuesday night as I watched the election returns come in, I wondered, hoped, and prayed that the citizens of my home state would do the right thing.

Surrounded by friends, and with my beloved, “Question 6” on the Maryland ballot remained by two- to four-percentage points up the whole evening. Finally, close to midnight, Equality Maryland called it—our marriages were now legal!

The room filled with cheers, tears, laughter, and delight.

Some folks believe that the opposite of love is hate. Others say it is indifference.

As an Interfaith Minister, I believe that the opposite of love is fear. Love is the highest vibration we can experience. It truly is what connects us with and to one another and to the God of our understanding.

People fear what they don’t understand; they fear things that they have never had contact with; or what they have been told by authority figures to fear. Same sex marriage can easily fit into any of those three categories. I applaud and honor residents of Maryland from our Eastern Shore to our Western regions who took the risk to love and voted with their hearts.

Starting on January 1, 2013, loving couples in committed same sex relationships will now have an opportunity to get what any couple should get: legal protections, rights, and benefits that keeps each partner safe, taken care of, and affirmed.

And while the playing field won’t be level until all of these protections are guaranteed throughout the country and federally sanctioned, this is a monumental day for love in Maryland.

Let’s get to it — marriage in Marry-land!

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