Anglican pages
software for writers

Queer Eye for the Lectionary

current calendar

Louie Crew
377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


LGBT Christian
General Links

Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


Louie Crew's Natter [BLOG]

Louie Crew's Natter [BLOG]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

How is a 'union' to be determined in the absence of marriage or another 'recognized ceremony'?

  • Subject: How is a 'union' to be determined in the absence of marriage or another 'recognized ceremony'?
  • From: Louie Crew <>
  • Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2008 12:15:01 -0400

> From: ***********
> Sent: Sunday, June 15, 2008 3:38 AM
> To: Louie Crew
> Subject: RE: Happy Anniversary!

> How very thoughtful, Louie; thank you, and the same to you and Ernest.
> I know you've been together for a very long time, but, if I may ask, are
> you "married" or domestic partners?  Are California and Massachusetts
> the only states that allow same-sex marriage now?  I've lost track.  I
> must admit, as a straight L5 who wants to over-turn B033, it's still not
> perfectly clear to me how a "union" is determined to be
> "committed/perfected," in the absence of marriage or another "recognized
> ceremony." I'd truly appreciate enlightenment on this subject. Many
> thanks in advance.

Thanks for asking.

Ernest and I used the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (the only one available on
2/2/1974).   Only 3 were present:  ourselves and the Holy Spirit.  There was
nothing imaginary or tentative about the vows that we took.  We understand
that marriage is always something that the couple do themselves; the church
may bless or not bless as it chooses.  The state may license or not license
as it chooses.  Even for heterosexuals, both the church and the state
recognize that marriage is null (that is, not a marriage) if the couple
themselves have not really bonded.

In 1999, after 25 years together, Ernest renewed our vows in the presence of
many gathered in our parish, Grace in Newark.  We were quite clear that this
was not a new commitment, but the restatement of the original one.  It is
the church, not we, who are living in sin in our marriage.

Probably we will renew our vows again in February, to be our 35th.   Maybe
NJ by then will allow marriage, in which case will will have a civil service
for that and take whatever leavings our diocese (one of the more generous
and supportive) will throw towards lgbts.   We registered our domestic
partnership when that became available in 2006: we did so at the local city
hall in East Orange, so that we have the much increased legal protections
afforded us.  (For example, otherwise, whoever who survived the other would
have to pay full inheritance on the other's half of our home and all other
properties! What bunch of stingy thieves heterosexualists are!  Even if NJ
marries us, the US will deny spousal social security benefits, tax
status......).   We have not yet availed ourselves of the new law for civil
union here, since full marriage seems so near in this state.

My friend Kevin Jones told me:  "I asked Aaron Henry, long-time Mississippi
civil rights activist, whether the church had been a light during the
struggle for justice... `The church a light?' he said, and paused for a long
beat to fix me with a stare from his bulging, famously jaundiced eyes and
then answered: `Yeah, a tail light.'

I do not understand marriage as something two people have to be good enough
to deserve.  That would leave out most of the human race.  I understand
marriage to be a commitment before God and the community that is an outward
and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.   I am enormously
grateful to God who, when the people say no, exercises God's power to have
the very stones cry out "Yes!"

Things are topsy turvy indeed when one seems sassy, even revolutionary -- as
I admit to seeming -- merely to stand on God's promises to love the whole

I hope some of this is helpful.

Joy to you and to all whom you love.


Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12d, East Orange, NJ 07018.  973-395-1068


See an account of our marriage at 
https://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/2grooms.html and and account of our
25th anniversary at rci/joyanyway/joy16.html