Dawn

Good day ladies and gentlemen. I’m on my soapbox this morning, and I’d appreciate your vocal support. I have a friend named Dawn – she’s my step-sister-in-law, in fact – who is getting flak for being an outspoken straight ally for same-sex marriage. She deserves support from every corner of the globe, and I’m asking my friends here to chime in on Facebook and my blog comments on her behalf.

OK, let me back up, because this gets complicated. First, let me explain who this person even is. My husband’s parents divorced some years back, and his Dad has since remarried. This created a family of blended adults, because Scott’s stepmother has a son of her own, named Andy. Andy went on to marry Dawn, and Scott went on to marry me. So. Dawn is my step-sister-in-law. If there’s even technically such a thing. That’s the short version. We don’t see nearly enough of Andy and Dawn, who are awesome people with a couple of amazing daughters, but I’ve connected with them on Facebook.

More back story. Scott comes from a Presbyterian family. So, for that matter, do I, but I’m pretty agnostic when nuts come down to bolts. Andy and Dawn are also Presbyterians, and they are, in fact, both attending Louisville Seminary.  (There are two branches of Presbyterianism, and Dawn and Andy are PCUSA, for anyone interested.) Dawn has been in seminary for what must feel like the last thousand years or so, and she is heading into the final days as a student and on to her first days as a confirmed minister.

Last year, or maybe the year before (I’m not up on my all-things-Presbyterian lore here like I ought to be), Dawn attended the church’s General Assembly and stood up to tell the entire body why PCUSA ought to support same-sex marriage. That alone is brave. There are certainly other straight allies in the church. Many others. But not so many willing to face down a room full of heated opposition from Leviticus-wielding right wingers and milquetoast un-support from allies who thought the time wasn’t right to bring the issue up for debate. She faced immediate backlash, in the form of dirty looks and mutters for the rest of the convention, though she certainly also received rallying support from friends and interested others.

Fast forward to now. Last year, the General Assembly had some important vote that allowed partnered homosexual ministers to be ordained. I’m not exactly certain on the technicalities here, but it wasn’t full equality. Yesterday, that full equality in ordination came about. I know there’s a ratification period when a certain number of churches have to favor an Assembly decision before it becomes church practice. So I don’t know if that voting period came due yesterday, or if the General Assembly did something different yesterday, but the upshot is that sexual orientation is no longer a bar to ordination in the PCUSA, and openly gay pastors can now be ordained. Some right wing feathers are majorly ruffled.

And oh, by the way, Dawn’s candidacy meeting was yesterday, too.  Yeah. Talk about timing.

She endured a shouting match that derailed what should have been a routine procedure. She should have left that meeting with her committee’s full support. She should have been recommended and sent to the floor of the presbytery for full confirmation. Instead, right wingers attacked every aspect of her life, and her instructors shouted around her while she sat and listened. She left the meeting in tears.

It wasn’t a total loss. She is being recommended. But to protect her from further attacks, her committee decided to wait before sending her to the floor for confirmation. She is pretty sure the whole thing boils down to her standing up at that General Assembly. And she’s right, no question. But it also very clearly boils down to timing. The right-wingers lost a major battle yesterday, and they lashed out at a convenient target in Dawn. This is a woman who embodies everything good about that church. I’m no big fan of organized religion, but what Dawn has is something special, and it’s not something to be ignored. Her gift is being delayed for absurd political reasons, and I’m outraged on her behalf.

Which brings me to my own friends and supporters. It sounds like justice will eventually prevail here, in the long run, but  Dawn still deserves a rallying cry. Can I see a huge show of support for her here and in my Facebook comments? I’m not tagging because she’s kept her own Facebook page tactfully vague, but Dawn, you know who you are. You’re one of the fighters, whose heart and mind are filled with beauty and purpose. You keep right on rocking their Presbyterian boat.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.

Comments

Dawn — 12 Comments

  1. It's great that you are writing about this. Bigots count on shouting loud enough that they silence everyone else. Hang in there, Dawn! There are many who support you.

  2. Good for Dawn speaking out! It's never easy, but a worthwhile cause since there is so much hate and intolerance perpetuated through organized religion against LGBTQ. Jessie, if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend For The Bible Tells Me So. Great documentary on parents with gay and lesbian children struggling with the negative teachings of the church and their own faiths. It may also reference some good materials for Dawn in support of what she's standing up for.

  3. It is so important for those in the straight community to speak up loudly. It's the only way meaningful change will happen! The amount of courage it took to stand up in front of all the people who did not agree with you, to sit still while they yelled and argued around you is incredibly inspiring. I am in awe! What you did demonstrates a real depth of soul, strength of character, and indomitable integrity. I am sure that you inspired others that day with your actions, and again today through Jessie's blog, to stand up in defiance against bigotry and intolerance.
    You Rock Dawn!!

  4. As a life-long Presbyterian married to a retired Presbyterian minister, I watched with interest as the Cincinnati Presbytery voted in favor of tolerance in February and the last required vote came in to affirm gay and lesbian ministers. Blessings to Dawn as she faces the delays that her support has stirred up. Sue

  5. Dawn, my hat's off to you. You are taking the high road amidst those who reacted quite childishly, IMO. It is also quite admirable that you support the rights of all God's people. That is our responsibility, and yours too as a prospective minister. Best of luck to you. The strength of faith, and of character, that you have shown here will serve you well.

  6. Dawn you are very brave, and being brave is not an easy task. I admire you. Everyone deserves to be loved ""If you have no intention of loving or being loved, the whole journey is pointless."
    — Kate DiCamillo
    … and isn't this what it is all about?

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