The 6-1 vote of the California Supreme Court revealed yesterday disappointed me and yet did not surprise me. I can see the judicial reasoning and I can also understand and share the sorrow of those for whom the decision was a great disappointment. Impartiality is not easy to take, sometimes, when it is a matter close to our hearts and when it affects human lives in negative ways.
Another vote is also on my mind, for I recently received my ballot for the election of our UUA president at this General Assembly. I'm not able to go to Salt Lake City for the meeting, but I can vote absentee. Ministers who serve a congregation at least half-time are given suffrage and I am taking advantage of that opportunity. I sent off my ballot a few days ago.
Here was my dilemma: I know both candidates, have spent time with them professionally and socially, have high regard for both, am personally grateful to each of them for services they have rendered my own friends and family members.
Laurel buried my much-loved brother-in-law Everett Gilmore, when he died a few years ago; Ev was a longtime member of First Dallas and had a strong relationship with that congregation and with Laurel. Peter brought Jefferson Unitarian Church from a plateau of 350 members to its current size of nearly 700 and has been minister to longtime friends since his arrival at JUC.
I expect that my JUC friends would assume that I'd vote for Peter. But I didn't; I have voted for Laurel Hallman for UUA president, considering her the steadier hand at the wheel, recognizing her long tenure as a UU minister and layperson, seeing her leadership as better-proven.
Though Peter has much to commend him as a candidate, I don't think he has what I'm looking for in a UUA president: greater maturity as a minister and layperson, a broad range of ideas for maintaining our social witness, and for taking Unitarian Universalism into the future.
Laurel Hallman has these qualities, I believe, and therefore my vote has been cast for her.