Panel Should OK Gay Ceremonies

We are pleased to note that the Board of Ministry is establishing a task force to explore the possibility of allowing same-sex blessing ceremonies in Memorial Church. The formation of this new committee is a good first step for the Board to confront its tacit allowance of homosexual commitments at the house of worship over which it presides--the church of Harvard University.

When the task force reports its conclusions to Minister in the Memorial Church Peter J. Gomes and Associate Minister Janet Hatfield Legro at the Board's meeting in May, we hope its members are inspired by three things: First, the non-discrimination policy of the University as it applies to sexual orientation; this policy must be applied to all Harvard institutions. Second, it should keep in mind the moral character of the student protest in favor of gay ceremonies. Students advocating the introduction of such ceremonies do so out of a sense of fairness, not simply self-interest.

Finally, the task force should understand the national significance of allowing same-sex commitments at Harvard. Though setting an example should not be a primary rationale, it should cause members to think about exclusionary state and national policies on same-sex ceremonies, and understand the positive role a precedent at Harvard would play.

Of course, homosexual couples who do decide to take vows of loyalty will not be legally wed since gay marriage is outlawed in Massachusetts. Even if, as in the ambitious plan of Governor William F. Weld '66, homosexual marriages performed in other states are recognized here, homosexual weddings in Memorial Church will not receive the sanction of the law. So, as we encourage the Ministry's task force to embrace homosexual commitment ceremonies, we also encourage Governor Weld and state legislators to move forward with the legalization of gay marriage.