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Marriage Equality: A New Heaven and a New Earth

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Investigative reporting can pull back the curtain on truths that are kept hidden. When Carlos Maza went "under cover" to a NOM (National Organization for Marriage) weekend event for college students, he listened, observed, and took notes on all the anti-gay rhetoric that was paraded out.

Toward the end of the event -- and the end of his rope -- Carlos took his place in the group photo. He wanted proof that he had made it to the end as a fly in the ointment. As he stood there, the photographer realigned everyone and warmed up the crowd with jokes. How about this one? "Two gay men walked into a mosque... They were never heard from again!" The group laughed, and Carlos flinched.

NOM has been campaigning against equality since the Prop 8 campaign in California. They are a conduit for Evangelical, Catholic, Mormon, and hardline conservative money from throughout the United States. As five states -- Washington, Maryland, Minnesota, Iowa, and Maine -- face ballot measures on marriage equality, NOM is telling loving couples that they should not exist.

They will spend millions and produce slick ads, but the words of Michelle Obama and dozens of other voices in Charlotte remind us that supporting full equality is not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do. The tide has turned. Whether the ballot measures go for us or against us, no matter how many millions NOM spends, you cannot turn back the clock.

At one time marriage for same-sex couples was viewed as futile, if not downright silly. Today, in heartland cities, activists are taking risks -- and winning city ordinances to implement domestic partnerships, to protect employment, and to share benefits.

Why? Because our families matter. The mother of Mike Schuennemeyer finally decided to attend her son's marriage to his beloved partner of many years, not because she was comfortable but because she saw the love between Mike and his husband.

As a church family, Metropolitan Community Churches has long known what it means to stand for marriage, even when there was little understanding of what we were doing. One of the first actions of the Rev. Troy Perry was a Holy Union. We knew that God was blessing our unions and our families. MCC members were the first to use the judicial system to work for marriage equality, in both Florida and California.

The Rev. Pat Bumgardner and two men walked into the office of the Justice of the Peace in New York City and performed their marriage before it was legal. As they were being led away by the police, they made one more vow: to perform their marriage together again once it became legal. This year, surrounded by friends, family, and the faithful, Rev. Pat officiated at their marriage in the middle of Times Square. What a celebration!

When the fullness of humanity is revealed, MCC will be recorded as pioneers in doing what everyone eventually figured out was the right thing. We are ahead of the curve, and there is a new wave coming, a wave of equality, dignity, respect, and justice. For us it's a biblical movement. For the world it's a wave of humanity, a wave of sanity, a wave of diversity that reveals who we are and who we are meant to be: a people who create community from the core of our being.

We have an alternative apocalyptic view of the world. The world really is ending -- but it's not ending in a wave of brimstone and fiery flows of lava; it's the end of ignorance, prejudice, hate and intolerance. And there will be a new heaven and a new earth.