Unitarian Universalism is in my blood. I am here today because my parents met at the UU church in Birmingham, Alabama many years ago when they were seeking spiritual community in young adulthood. Despite growing up within UUism, I feel like my faith is very deliberate and was truly formed by my involvement in my home church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina throughout high school. One day my minister mentioned to me a program for youth involved in social justice in Boston. This would turn out to be the inaugural Activate Justice Training of the UU College of Social Justice. So, I went to Boston and was exposed to this faith organization on a national level for the first time while I solidified my commitment to social justice. Also, I met an intern they were hosting and I made a note in the back of my head to remember that as an option when I became a college student. Three years later, after my first year studying religion and political science at UNC Asheville, it seemed like the perfect fit, so I applied and was placed with our Standing on the Side of Love campaign in the UUA’s Washington DC office.
As I traveled from my home in Richmond, Virginia to Portland, Oregon, I entered Kentucky with a feeling of trepidation. For the next 1300 miles, I would be driving in and out of states where my wife and I would no longer be considered married. Before I left home, Wendy made sure I had our paperwork with me – medical and legal powers of attorney, advanced directive, even my will – because that’s what we had to do to protect our rights in places where our marriage wasn’t recognized.
Within days of our arrival in Portland, on June 28th, the Supreme Court announced its decision that same-sex couples had the constitutional right to marry. Wendy and I were so overwhelmed by emotion that there was nothing we could do but hug each other and cry. But we couldn’t cry for long. We were at General Assembly, and in just ninety minutes, UUs would be gathering for the morning’s general session. There was a celebration to plan.