By The Rev. Dr. Douglas D. Gerdts
The Rev. Dr. Douglas D. Gerdts serves as Pastor/Head of Staff at First & Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware, a welcoming and affirming More Light church. On Monday, July 1st, Delaware’s same gender marriage law took effect.
At 7:50 in the morning in Wilmington, 19 First and Central Presbyterian Church folks, along with Hazel the dog, were out in force to counter the hate speech of Westboro Baptist “Church”. It was an orderly protest/counter protest with a substantial line of police and metal fencing dividing the two groups. For the most part, the 6 of them held up their signs, and the 200 of us held up our signs and both groups watched the other. There’d be an occasional outburst from one group or the other which we would be quickly countered or covered with singing, laughter, or jeers. The high point was the appearance of Sen. Karen Peterson and her wife, Vikki Bandy, as they became the first New Castle County couple to convert their Civil Union to a Marriage. As they waved their bouquets and greeting the crowds to enthusiastic cheers, other couples entered the Clerk of the Peace’s office, including our own David and Jeffrey Sytsma-Sherman (see photo above), and did the same.
At 6:00 that same evening, my wife Walle, our daughter Madison, her girlfriend Meg, and I attended the wedding of Joseph Daigle and Dan Cole in the Gibraltar gardens. Madison was a classmate of Joe and Dan at UD and they were all involved in the Equality Delaware organization. After the clutter and cacophony of the morning it was the perfect end of the day. Two young men, college sweethearts, got married surrounded by their families and friends (OK…and few more news reporters than most) and simply proclaimed their love and commitment for and to each other, just like couples have been doing for generations. It felt good and right to be present and see the end result of the quest to bring marriage equality to Delaware.
Monday, July 1st was a day to witness in Delaware!
“Gay matrimony stirs history, passions in Delaware,” The News Journal, July 2, 2013