Presiding over the marriage were lay minister Scott Imler, no stranger to hubbub in his roles as director of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Cooperative and co-author of the Proposition 215 medical-marijuana initiative, and his partner of 12 years, George Leddy. Imler held up the Methodist Book of Discipline (“It sounds more fun than it is,” he quipped) and read aloud the section, “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.” He then compounded his open defiance by performing communion (a no-no for lay preachers).
Meanwhile, Crescent Heights United’s official pastor, the Rev. John Griffin, was at the Methodists’ General Conference in Cleveland, poised to join mass arrests protesting the gay-wedding ban. Leading the demonstrations will be former Jerry Falwell adviser the Rev. Mel White, joined by Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Yolanda, and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun. While the Methodists have mustered the courage to condemn the U.S. military’s bombing of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, and confessed to the sin of racism against African-Americans, they’re not expected to locate the guts or vision to permit humans to pair off with the mate of their choice.
The Rev. Robert L. Kuyper, founder of the gay-unfriendly Transforming Congregations movement, who was on hand for the nuptials, said nothing would be gained. “I don’t think it’ll be any more effective than blessing the drink of an alcoholic in a bar. You’re still gonna get drunk from it.”
But the happy couple felt progress had been made. “To have stood onstage and had our relationship blessed in front of friends, family and strangers . . . what more could you ask for?” said Fritz.
“Except for a real wedding,” a smiling Hayes added.
City Council Member Jackie Goldberg’s call for an investigation into the length of time she was jailed in support of striking janitors has set off a furor. Goldberg protested that eight hours was too long to spend in the pokey for an act of civil disobedience, even if she sought the arrest herself. An L.A. Times editorial accused her of treating her incarceration as a “star turn”; Goldberg responded that she was trying to get to the bottom of an overly “punitive” police response.
Now, the flap got OffBeat curious about the jail time endured by other leaders in causes of freedom and justice. Herewith, a comparison chart:
Great Moments in the History of Civil Disobedience
Jackie Goldberg W.L.A./Twin Towers April 14 8 hours