Father Geoffrey Farrow is a longtime Catholic priest who revealed recently that he is gay and opposed to Proposition 8, the November ballot initiative that would overturn the California Supreme Court's decision earlier this year allowing same-sex marriage. As a result, Farrow has been stripped of his job as a parish priest in Fresno, including his salary and health benefits*
November 17, 2008
Address to The Mayor, The City Council of West Hollywood, California
By Geoff Farrow, Roman Catholic Priest
¨On November 4th, we experienced a breakthrough in our history as a nation. We elected the first African American president of the United States of America. With this exceptional act, we turned a corner in our history as a nation and helped to realize the dream of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A dream in which a person would not be judged by the color of their skin but, by the content of their character.
As if this accomplishment was not enough, the character of President-elect Barack Obama and his vision for our nation have given birth to a new found spirit of hope and optimism. A spirit has been enkindled in our nation which we have not experienced since the election of the JFK.
We need to draw strength, inspiration and courage from this new spirit of hope and optimism because on that same night of November 4th, something unworthy of the spirit of America happened with the passage of Proposition 8: a hateful law. In the tradition of the Nuremberg laws and Jim Crow laws, a slim majority of the electorate of our state was manipulated by what is arguably one of the most deceptive and unethical election campaigns in recent memory.
And yet, something remarkable has happened in the wake of this attempt to enshrine discrimination in our state’s constitution. Across our communities, our state and our nation, people have poured out onto the streets, campuses, civic centers, and government centers to voice their support for equal rights. I was privileged to participate in Sabbath services at Kol Ami synagogue here in West Hollywood on Friday evening. After the services, a woman who had been at Stonewall came up to me and said: “This is a second Stonewall.’ The movement has begun.
The Spanish mystic, Theresa of Avila once observed that: “God writes straight with crooked lines.” I believe that what is happening now is an illustration of that wisdom. Perhaps, losing on this proposition initiative is precisely the catalyst that our community needed to energize us and give us a renewed strength and vision. Those who would strip us of our rights and human dignity are quick to invoke their idealized social order and the name of God. Whether racists of 40 years ago, or the bigots of today, they have unwittingly pushed us too far and have given life to a new movement. We will fight harder than ever before; we shall overcome.¨
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