Letters to the Editor

Let the ritual of marriage be available to all | Letter to the Editor

When my mother died, it was my father’s wish that her body be cremated immediately. A friend of our family, a priest who had been close to my mother, convinced us to wait until after her funeral Mass. The presence of her body — honored, blessed and consecrated by the ritual of the Mass and the healing and solace for all who would attend — was important. “Let the ritual do its work,” the priest said and we agreed. When the Mass was over and still, years later, our family is truly glad we followed the priest’s advice.

Rituals allow us to remember ourselves to one another and to our communities. They transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. They remind us that we belong to something much greater than ourselves and link us to tradition. Most of all, rituals allow us to touch the mystery, out of which all things emerge and eventually return.

Opponents of Ref. 74 argue that lesbians and gays will not gain any more “rights” than those already guaranteed by the state domestic partnership law. Proponents claim the right to marry will bring equal recognition to committed same-sex relationships that heterosexual couples have long enjoyed. For me, approving Ref. 74 means that my partner and I, and

many of our friends, would have the opportunity to engage in one of the world’s most cherished rituals. The opportunity to marry is an opportunity to have a loving union witnessed and transformed into something truly blessed.

There is much divisiveness in our contemporary culture, divisiveness that tears at the social fabric in which we live. Although contrary to the current fearful rhetoric, by approving R-74 we might just knit ourselves closer together rather than further apart. By approving R-74 we could give the ritual a chance to do its work.

 

— Catherine Johnson

 

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