Introducing The #MarriageMilitia Project

NOTE: the project listed here is now live and has its own website. Thank you!

My readers either went to bed last night or woke up to news about the transition of government in my country. We have a new president-elect and Congress that are all from the same party for the first time in decades. Some statements made during the campaign, the GOP’s formal platform, and media of all sorts over the last ugly year have resulted in anything from wild cheering to mass panic.

Last night, I ended up talking people out of nightmare scenarios. I had to convince children (!!) and grown adults, with all seriousness, that suicide is not the answer. I had to offer support to decent human beings now faced with a very real possibility for further discrimination, for legislative action that erodes or removes their existing rights, and even for actual violence against them and their families. They came from all walks of life and ethnicities and orientations. I talked to immigrants, black people, queers, women, you name it.

I never believed in my lifetime that I would witness an election where people would be so afraid of the results that they were contemplating their deaths. I’ve lived through huge transitions in U.S. government. This one stands as something all on its own. This one is also a question mark: while we can imagine all sorts of outcomes, we don’t really know what will happen. True to the president-elect’s last debate comments, he’ll “keep us in suspense.” In today’s world, that kind of uncertainty can be devastating.

So what can I do to help, being one person who isn’t rich or powerful or from the right side of the tracks on almost every indicator? Not doing anything is not an option. What I can do may be small, but it’s a reaction to a specific concern in the communities I interface with, and it’s a small way I can offer my help one person (or actually two people!) at a time.

A few months ago, I came out of the closet. I also said I was going to make up for lost time by offering help and advocacy for the LGBT+ community to the best of my ability. This is what I’m going to do:

If you are an LGBT+ couple in the United States and would like to be married, and you’re worried that you won’t be able to do so after the government transitions, I am willing to solemnize your marriage license, in my capacity as a legally ordained minister. If you want to be married religiously and don’t care about legal recognition, I will help you do that too.

And if I can’t do it myself (you’re too far away, you want a service in a religion I can’t help with, etc.) I pledge to connect you with someone who can.

To help with my pledge, this is where you come in!
I am canvassing for a Marriage Militia (#MarriageMilitia if it makes your social media hearts happy), of clergy from ALL religions, legally recognized in the United States, who are willing to join me in this effort. I will post a list of clergy who can be contacted – if you want to use a pseudonym or be anonymous except to the couples who contact you, that’s okay. If you’d like to join the Marriage Militia, check out the website that just went up here. I do not discriminate – I don’t care what your religion or politics are here, only that you want to join me in helping US citizens achieve legal marriage if that is their wish.

I’ve already had a couple of clergy join me (Thank you!). Let’s marry as many people as we can! Love is love and if people want to get married, there shouldn’t be any reason why they can’t do that in a country that supposedly believes we’re all equal and free.

“But you’re being ridiculous,” you might be saying. “It’s just post-election hysteria. Nobody’s really going to take away anybody’s rights or invalidate legal marriages.” You know what? It doesn’t matter if it’s ridiculous or not. We don’t know what will happen, and offering to help those who believe that they need to do this now doesn’t hurt anybody at all. If what I’m pledging here bothers you, if you don’t support it – that’s fine. This pledge isn’t for you, then. It’s for those who need it, set here as my small attempt to reach out and reaffirm that I do continue to believe in freedom, and in helping others, and in affirming and celebrating love.


6 responses to “Introducing The #MarriageMilitia Project”

  1. Rev. Doug Hagler Avatar

    Add me to your #marriagemilitia

    1. tsiuda Avatar

      Thank you so much, Rev. Doug! Could you hit us up at the main website? – there’s an “about” page there that lists what I need for a listing. Please also feel free to share that information around with other clergy.

  2. James Bartko Avatar
    James Bartko

    This is such an awesome way to show others that some of us still care.

    1. tsiuda Avatar

      I needed to do something. It was the only thing I could think of, after having one of those painful conversations with someone who got married and was fearing that would be taken away, and then another with someone else who was planning a wedding for later next year and now concerned it might not be able to happen.

  3. Kirk Avatar

    I love that your doing this for your community. I’m not LGBTQ but respect the rights of others to live their lives as they see fit, free of repression, fear and discrimination. Although I’m not a part of the LGBTQ community, the fight, as I’ve seen it, has always been about the rights of the survivor in the event of the death of their spouse. I’m also Atheist but understand and respect that others don’t share my views and may want the comfort of a religious ceremony. I am curious about this statement though, I guess in light of the issues surrounding gay marriage I don’t understand what your saying here. “If you want to be married religiously and don’t care about legal recognition, I will help you do that too”.
    As the Supreme Court has upheld the right of Gay’s to be married, once married the legal recognition is a given I would think?
    In any case I wouldn’t be surprised at anything that happens now. Conservatives, led by an LGBTQ hating VP may very well soon have not only both houses of Congress and the White House but the SCOTUS as well. Anything is possible. I look for an all out push by them to overturn Roe v Wade, Gay Marriage, Obamacare and other laws we’ve come to depend on to insure equality and justice.
    As a citizen who strongly believes in equal rights, I promise I will stand with your community in whatever way necessary to insure you do not lose the ground you have gained over the last few yrs.
    In Solidarity.

    1. tsiuda Avatar

      Thank you, Kirk. I’m in a place where I just feel like I need to do what I can, and this is a thing I can do. The comment you’re confused about, where we’re offering non-legal ceremonies too, is that I’ve already had a couple of inquiries from people who would like to marry, but are now concerned that if they do go to get a marriage license, even if it is legal right now, any change in that law will then put them in jeopardy because they’re on public record as an official same-sex couple. It breaks my heart to think that’s actually a concern for people but there you go. I don’t know that the wider American community realizes that the potential changes to our culture that could come in with our new government are that serious. There are people who either are already (such as the VP elect) or are being considered for positions in the Cabinet, etc., who are on record as saying that not only do they want to make certain things not legal anymore, they would like to criminally prosecute people for doing them. This affects not only same-sex couples, too. Governor Pence wanted to force women who had miscarriages to have funerals and have them investigated and potentially jailed. For miscarriages. Some of the people of our country are facing a future where they could be jailed for things that happen naturally in life. That should not be dismissed as disappointment that one’s chosen electoral candidates lost, but a concern for every citizen of this country regardless of how they voted. What affects one group ultimately will have consequences for all groups. It’s not a democracy if it’s only a democracy for the people we approve of, and that’s got nothing at all to do with religion.

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