The Fight for Marriage is told from the perspective of two faithful United Methodist lay leaders from Nashville, Tennessee who are also lawyers—Phillip F. Cramer and William L. Harbison. It chronicles how they have worked for marriage equality within the two overlapping worlds of the church and the state—worlds which function in partnership to further the purposes and social benefits of marriage. Within their own congregation they helped LGBTQ persons as they sought acceptance within the eyes of The United Methodist Church. In their professional lives, they represented same-gender couples in their legal battles for recognition of their marriages, including bringing one of the cases to the Supreme Court which resulted in the landmark 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage. But this book is more than a first-hand courtroom drama or a saga about Christianity’s involvement in marriage rights (which, incidentally, did not begin until the 12th century). The heart of the book belongs to the personal narratives of the gay and lesbian couples whom Cramer and Harbison met. Not only did these stories affect them personally, they became the motivating factors behind their work for justice…deeply rooted in their faith. In the words of Justice Kennedy, marriage itself “always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons, without regard to their station in life.” If we follow Cramer and Harbison’s guiding principle of placing the focus on listening to each other, accepting every individual’s right to human dignity, and following the example of Christ, we can find common ground.
From the Faultlines collection, resources intended to inform conversations around human sexuality and the church.