I have frequently written about how leaders go first. For three years I have been researching “paired leadership.” And this morning I offer a wonderful example of both.
Until yesterday, a gay marriage was essentially conceptual to me. But, I only realized that as I sat down for Fred and Jim’s service.
Jim and Fred are not young lovers. Fred declared his love to Jim 32 years ago (he did so with the first of nearly 2,000 love notes he would scribble on sugar packets over those decades).
Gay in 1984 made them leaders. Millions and millions would follow in living their truth as Jim and Fred have. But that wasn’t the most striking dimension of their leadership. They led their state, their country and their church. They never left the Catholic Church, because they felt 100% aligned to Jesus’ and the Church’s core values. And though they could have gone to another state to be wed, they loved Michigan and waited – patiently and persistently – for Michigan to get it right. They did not just wait! They spoke, debated, respectfully stating their loving views.
As my wife said in addressing the attendees, it was a “healing service,” for all of us. Jim and Fred’s integrity (from the Latin, integer, for “whole”) was clear. They were recognized by the officiating judge as united as one couple and whole-with-us, first class Michiganders. They are not yet whole with the Church, or perhaps more accurately, the Church is not whole with them. But they stand upon the deeply shared values of love and faith and respecting ALL of God’s resplendent creation. I honor them for this way in which they
Lead with their best self.