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Most weekdays, I join San Francisco Zen Center's morning meditation. Perhps "most" is pushing it. I INTEND to join it Monday through Friday. I frequently do. There is always a service of chanting and bowing after sitting. During the service, we see the Abbot in the Buddha Hall and follow along with his actions, while Kodo, a monk announces what comes next.
Yesterday, Kodo announced that we would be having a memorial service that would be led by Tova, one of the senior members instead of the usual service. One of Tova's very close friends had just died. She showed a photo of her friend (I think her name was Jamie, can't remember) and described her joyful and productive life. She said, "Jamie was very devoted to her wife and children."
Tova, a lesbian herself, did not emphasize the words "her wife." She didn't express pride that her friend was legally married to a woman or celebrate that fact in any way. Tova was merely DESCRIBING Jamie's life. She spoke as if two women getting married was a normal, even common, thing to do.
It was wonderful. It was healing for me.
I just want to acknowledge the enormous amount of suffering that has been alleviated by the victories of gay rights, culminating with the barriers to marriage falling away.
I know that there is still so much to do, in the world and in this country. I don't deny that. But when Tova said those words "her wife," she healed me a little.