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Shelter the Flame a lovely gathering for marriage equality | Letter to the Editor
On Sunday evening, Oct. 21, as the rain stopped and the crescent moon broke through dark, retreating clouds, the first of almost 300 attendees to the Shelter the Flame marriage equality event and candlelight vigil emerged from Vashon Theatre.
Standing on the side of love during the previous hour and 15 minutes were faith leaders from Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship, Vashon Episcopal Church, Burton Community Church, Havurat Ee Shalom, Vashon United Methodist Church, Vashon Lutheran Church, and Vashon Friends (Quakers). The flame of dignity and equality was kindled, sung over, and passed from speaker to speaker, including Sen. Sharon Nelson. By evening’s end, as vigil candles were distributed and lighted, an encompassing compassion was ignited and given shelter in the hearts of all those present.
Today, as you read these words, the voice of the people of Washington state will have spoken either for or against the most fundamental of all human rights: the right to love, commit to and cherish the person of one’s own choosing.
On Oct. 21, the hearts and souls of almost 300 hundred Islanders sang and flickered as one flame. No matter the result of yesterday’s vote, let it be known that Vashon Island is a welcoming Island — a place where human dignity and compassion come first, a sanctuary where all loving people and the relationships they forge and honor can find enduring acceptance and understanding.
This country must strive to be a society defined not by those who have the most or those who love the least, but by those who love, are determined to always love and who vow never to cease living in the image of a loving father, mother, sister and brother.
We vote with our ballots. We love with our hearts.
By which measure will we choose to live?
— Harmon McKendrie Arroyo, Shelter The Flame Coordinator