A Letter to Facebook

Over the weekend, Facebook locked me out of my Sister account due to their naming policy. Here is my response:

Dear Jesse, or whoever, at Facebook:

I am a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence. If you haven’t heard of them, look them up. It’s a volunteer non-profit organization that primarily serves the LGBT community.

Obviously, Ann Wenita Morelove is not the name I go by in other areas of my life. However, it will be a name I, and others, will miss on Facebook if it is not reinstated.

Years ago, I tried using a page instead of a profile. This did not suit my needs.¬† Sister Roma of San Francisco argued all of this, and more, with employees at Facebook, and I thought Facebook had altered it’s naming policy as a result. Apparently I was mistaken.

I would like to have my profile reinstated. But if not, I spend too much time on Facebook as it is, on both my accounts. Working without Facebook will be a pain, but life will go on.

If you can reinstate Ann Wenita Morelove on Facebook, awesome! But if not, it was fun (and sometimes useful) while it lasted.

Be love,

Ann Wenita Morelove
The Valentine Nun

CC: My Personal Facebook Account

Belmont Blvd

It’s difficult¬†to distill a story down to three minutes, but WSMV Channel 4’s Jennifer Johnson did her best today as she reported for the Nashville NBC affiliate. The story aired this evening: “Pastor suspended 90 days for marrying same-sex couple“.

There are two pieces “the husband” and I wish could have made it through the editorial process.

The first is how much we need people to know how supportive Belmont UMC has been to the two of us, not just in regard to our wedding, but also throughout these fifteen years of church membership.

Through the years we have taught children, youth, and adult Sunday school classes, Disciple Bible Study, served as youth group leaders, chaperoned youth trips, and sung in the choir.

We do not list our involvement at Belmont in a boastful way. Rather, we are grateful to our church for accepting us and loving us. And not only Frank and me, but our four children (now adults) aslo grew up learning about the limitless love of God from Belmont’s faithful members and staff.

God through Belmont has blessed us beyond measure, so yes, we wish that could have been communicated in the news segment.

The second thing we wish hadn’t been cut was when I turned to the camera during the interview and said, “Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup.”


Related links on icanhasgrace:
Extravagant Grace
Resolved: Pastor Charged for Officiating at Our Wedding
A Wedding and Two Sisters (video short by Anthony Scanio)
Just Married

Married, with Options

I called Farm Bureau of Tennessee this afternoon and asked them if they recognize same-sex marriage. The answer was “no,” but I’m sticking with them anyway, for now.

Farm Bureau has insured my vehicles since I started driving over thirty-five years ago. In addition to the three cars they currently cover, our homeowner’s insurance policy is also managed by the company. Farm Bureau insures my husband’s SUV, and lastly, we pay for a little coverage on a small travel trailer. All of that represents a whole lot of premiums.

We have options. I called an acquaintance who works for Nationwide and he told me not only will they combine our policies and give us a marriage discount, but also if we’re members of the Human Rights Campaign they will add an additional seven-percent discount.

Farm Bureau, you have some catching up to do.

So given this information, why am I staying with this company? Here’s why: When I called and explained that I was  married to my partner of fifteen years a month ago today, the woman who took my call replied, “That’s wonderful! Congratulations!” she put me on hold because she didn’t know if the company recognized same-sex marriage. I could tell she’d never been asked the question. She came back on the line and said, “I’m so sorry, but we do not offer a discount for same-sex couples because your marriage isn’t yet legal in the state of Tennessee. I really am sorry.”

I thanked her and said I was hopeful that would change over the summer, as the Supreme Court will hear a case in just a few weeks that just might make same-sex marriage legal not only in Tennessee, but maybe even in all fifty states. I also told her that her responses meant a great deal to me. I said that every time I refer to my partner, now my husband, in situations like this, there’s always a moment of risk involved. I never know how the person with whom I’m revealing the information will react. Will I get awkward silence? Will he or she become flustered? Will she or he launch into a rant about how my “lifestyle” isn’t compatible with Christian teaching?

In this case the representative at Farm Bureau sounded surprised, happy, and truly sorrowful over the course of our conversation. I told her how much I appreciated that. She thanked me for saying so, and said she had taken a moment to compose herself before returning with the answer because the answer had made her cry.

Anytime you call customer service like this you’re warned that the conversation may be recorded. I hope this one was. I hope a lot of people at Farm Bureau, people who make policy decisions, listen to it.

I’ll stay with Farm Bureau until the mid-summer when we hear the results of this Supreme Court case. If it doesn’t end favorably, I’m grateful that I already have options.

Hurry Up and Wait

My wedding has been postponed one week due to winter weather. I followed storm reports out of Buncombe County on Twitter through the day yesterday, and it was difficult to know what to do. When the governor of North Carolina declared a state of emergency, we called it. Having finally made the decision to wait was a relief. 

I’ve been in this relationship for almost 15 years. It hasn’t been until recently that I ever thought we’d get married. Now that we can, I’m more and more irritated, even angry, that we cannot perform the ceremony in Tennessee. Because we can’t, a fifteen minute drive to the county court clerk’s office has become a ten hour round trip, overnight stay in another state. I’ll need to take two days off from work to make it happen.

The Supreme Court will likely resolve all of this come June. That’s all well and good. But we need to get married now. It makes no difference why and it’s no one’s business. The fact remains that I am denied a right that people who live in 38 other states are given.

This will all be settled in about a week for us, but I don’t feel right not drawing attention to the injustice of it. Years ago, Tennesseans voted to constitutionally prohibit same sex marriages. More recently, a judge on the sixth circuit court upheld that law when it was tried. I feel like the people who voted for this constitutional ban, the judge who upheld it, or perhaps the State of Tennessee need to reimburse me to cover expenses accrued for this forced destination wedding. I’ll throw in compensation for pain and suffering, too, now that we’ve had to change the date because we could not travel.

As I said, this will be resolved and eventually be a fascinating story I can share with my grandchildren. But I wonder: what other group is suffering because of injustice? How am I blindly contributing to their pain? What am I doing to not only support them, but to work for change?

The 6th Circuit Court Can Kiss My Gay-Marrying Tennessee Ass

Doug and Frank Tennessean Interview

Just before we started getting ready for Sister Night last night, Frank and I were video interviewed by a reporter from The Tennessean. The resulting article is the lead story today on the newspaper’s web site. You can watch the video and read the report here:

Tennessee gay couples’ hopes now rest with Supreme Court