Jeremy W. Peters opined this weekend in The New York Times that DC might be "The Gayest Place in America". It's worth a read, but mostly I'm just relieved that the "news" in the article is about how LGBT folk are drawn to politics, there have always been LGBT people in Washington, and now it's okay for them to be out about it. Not real news, especially to anyone who lives here, but just sort of a celebration of the fact. The Post, in usual Post fashion, responded with statistics, a chart, and complaints that DC should be compared to cities instead of states. (Don't get me wrong; I love this nerdy side of the Post. This article just seemed particularly Post-y.)
Less happy news this week came out of the Methodist Church. The Rev. Frank Schaefer was tried in ecclesiastical court for disobedience to church teachings and for presiding over the wedding of his gay son. Schaefer was found guilty, and will be sentenced by the church today. He could be defrocked. Both sides are in a furor about it.
The journey towards acceptance and openness, and even more, liturgical affirmation of the love between two same-gendered people, is a long one for institutions. I am acutely aware of this process in the Episcopal Church, for which this process is significantly further along (we have openly gay and partnered clergy and clergy leadership and a church-approved trial church service for blessing the relationships of same-gendered couples) and yet the wider Anglican church and even parts of our own church are resistant or even outright hostile. If I've learned anything, it's that the issue is a pastoral issue for both sides. Confusion, hurt, and anger rule for all parties unless they are met over and over again with love, patience, and kindness.
My prayer for the Methodists, especially for those who are gay and love their church (I'm looking at you, Chett Pritchett) is for patience and strength. It's a long walk, but you'll get there, and hopefully everyone can see what really matters, and that the communities of faith can stick together.
Hopefully someday soon for the Methodists, like it is in Washington, it will be more of a non-issue to be gay than it ever has been.