Whether- Who- And Why So Long?

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by Amalia Vagts, Executive Director

Vagts Family
Vagts Family Vacation 2015

I’m back from some time away on vacation with my family – a wondrously renewing time. And having now had a few weeks to let the June 26 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges sink in, I want to share a couple reflections.

Something that has always struck a deep chord with me from the majority opinion in the Massachusetts marriage equality case was these words from Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall: “…the decision whether and who to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.”

And I’ve never forgotten this line from a joint statement released by Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy the day that the Supreme Court in my adopted home state of Iowa ruled unanimously in favor of marriage equality, ““When all is said and done, we believe the only lasting question about today’s events will be why it took us so long.”

These questions – whether or not to marry; who to marry; and why change takes so long are at the heart of what I think about as I both celebrate the joyous news of June 26th and look down the long road of justice ahead – on so many, many issues. On this particular issue of marriage, it’s my hope that society and our church will someday fully honor the weight of the momentous decision of whether and who to marry. And when we finally get there, I imagine there will only be the lasting question of what took so long.

Lastly, our Presiding Bishop’s letter left many in the LGBTQ community wanting. Many of you have already read the powerful and important response from our partners in ministry, ReconcilingWorks. As I close, I want to again share it and express my thankfulness for their witness. Click here to read the full letter from Executive Director Aubrey Thonvold.

I hope this summer brings you together with your chosen family for some time of renewal! AJV Signature NEW0001




wedding Amalia Vagts, Executive Director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, made sure not only of whether and who she was marrying, but also that the pastor’s face was clean at her wedding on the steps of the Winneshiek County Courthouse in 2009. (And yes, that IS Rev. Erik Christensen, Pastor of St. Luke’s Logan Square!)