On December 6, 2010, I had the opportunity to speak at a rally held on the steps of the California 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, just prior to the arguments being heard on Proposition 8 appeals. I kept my remarks brief, and was joined by many noteworthy activists in the cause: Kate Kendell from NCLR; Ryan Kendall from Marriage Equality Colorado; Jenny Pizer from Lambda Legal; and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Below are my words from the rally. I’ve attached a brief video of the opening, even though we lost the rest of the speech, it still gives a good flavor of the energy level of the crowd and the passion of the event.
What a great opportunity it was to be part of this event—and, I hope, part of helping shape freedom to marry for everyone.
My name is Mitch Mayne. I am an openly gay, active Latter-Day Saint. I am a gay Mormon. And I am your ally in our quest for marriage equality.
Like many of you, I felt first-hand the sorrow around Proposition 8. But unlike many of you, I felt it from my very own spiritual family. Watching my Mormon brothers and sisters advocate for an issue that would keep me from marrying the man I loved, tore at my heart and afflicted my conscience. It was difficult to maintain my personal integrity and, at the same time, stay close to the home where I found my Savior.
Often, I feel like a man with a foot in two worlds that belongs in neither. But as I have grown in my testimony and my understanding of myself, I have come to realize that I am indeed a man with a foot in two worlds—and I belong in both.
Being honest about who I am has seldom led to a positive outcome. Nonetheless, I have reached the point where I can no longer be silent. I have not mastered my fear of what might happen to me as a result—I have just come to believe that something else is more important than my fear—equality.
I now know there are many inside the church like me—both gay and straight—who envision marriage equality for all. And while I have faced—and will face—some hard-heartedness within the church, I have also been blessed to find much unconditional love and support.
As an openly gay, active Mormon man who is willing to stand up as such, I have the opportunity to give a human face to the issue of marriage equality, both within my church and within my community. Through my continued faithfulness, I have the opportunity to demonstrate that, at our core, we are all very much the same: simply children of our Father, who are striving day to day to understand how to best do his will, and how to return to him. Through my continued faithfulness, I have the opportunity to demonstrate that this sameness weighs more than all the differences in his universe.
Therefore, my strength and my honesty are needed in the Mormon Church. And all of our collective strength and honesty are needed here, today. Each of us has a role to play here, and each of us has work to do on behalf of ourselves and those we love.
Together we shall persevere as we seek to have the same benefits and recognition in the eyes of the law, that we already know we have in the eyes of our God.