Why am I here?
· I directly faced the picketing of the Westboro Baptist Church for 15 years in Topeka - they even had a sign with my name on it - - that is only part of why I am here.
· My national movement, the Union for Reform Judaism, at its December 2011 convention, honored Attorneys Ted Olson and David Boise for arguing against Proposition 8 in Federal District court in California – but that is only part of why I am here.
· My Rabbi’s conference voted to acknowledge and assist rabbis performing same gender ceremonies 13 years ago - but that is only part of why I am here.
· I am here because this is the week of Passover on the Jewish calendar. The unleavened bread or MATZAH that members of my community eat this week is a symbol of a people hurriedly going out to freedom.
· I am here because of freedom - freedom from prejudice, freedom from discrimination, and freedom FOR people to encourage their neighbors to see the divine image in everyone, and to, once and for, understand the diversity within creation.
· I am here because of love. This Sabbath is when we read in our Temples and synagogues from the Song of Songs, a biblical book all about love - including these verses from Chapter 8: Let me be a seal upon your heart, like the seal upon your hand; vast floods cannot quench love, nor rivers drown it.
· Marriage equality would recognize the KDUSHAH- holiness and AHAVAH - love - in all committed relationships and familiese, all of them a part of creation, all of them blessed by a God who loves each of us and loves diversity.
· Finally, I am here because one of the highlights of my rabbinate was officiating three years ago at the marriage of two women in New Hampshire. That day we signed their legal state marriage certificate, which I mailed in the next day. That was a taste of freedom that I would want for any couple - and, I am here, because I, as a rabbi, want to see more people have that freedom to proudly, openly and joyfully celebrate their love and commitment.
May the vision we are espousing today be like a seal upon our hearts and a sign upon our hands, hands that are joined together in love and in a desire for freedom for everyone.