Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Flying TN priest to participate in marriage of two CA men

According to the Los Angeles Times, the cost of flying one of the men's priest from Tennessee to California is part of the bill.

Mike Standifer and Marc Hammer were already planning a commitment ceremony for October, but when the court ruling came out, they decided to throw an even bigger bash and get married.

They plan on spending about $25,000, which includes renovations on their Hollywood home so they can have the party in their backyard. The new price tag includes rings, their suits and those of their wedding party, and the cost of flying in Standifer's priest from Tennessee -- all costs they wouldn't have incurred if they were just having a party.

It's not clear whether we're talking about an Orthodox, a Catholic, or an Episcopal priest. My bet is on the third option. It's also not clear what role the priest will have--to officiate, to bless the union, or simply to be a groomsman or guest. Regardless, it shows that despite the framing of the issue as one of civil vs. religious marriage, some gays and lesbians also want to acknowledge the sacred character of marriage.

So far, this is the most direct impact of the California marriage ruling I've found on someone from Tennessee--a gay man with roots in the state and a member of the clergy still ministering here.

Congratulations, Mike and Marc!


Jonathan in Memphis said...

If it's an Episcopal priest who is canonically resident in one of the three dioceses in TN, I worry about the priest's standing in their diocese. While many Episcopal bishops have taken progressive stances on marriage and blessing unions, I think any of the three TN bishops would consider take disciplinary action against the priest. My own bishop in West Tennessee would probably do so.

Chris Sanders said...

Yeah, it's definitely a risk. I wonder whether the priest in question is retired.

Julia said...

Becca Stevens is an episcopalian priest here in TN and I dont think she's blink at marrying a gay couple.