On Sunday, Rev. Margie Allen of the will deliver the congregation's annual Valentine's Day service, which is open to the public.
But the service will hold a special significance for her as well: Allen and her partner, Rev. Dr. Linda Anderson, will be officially married during the service now that same-sex marriage is legal in New York. Tuesday is the first Valentine's Day since the law was enacted.
Allen and Anderson originally held a marriage ceremony in May of 2010 at the Kingston, NY, Unitarian Universalist organization, which is the congregation Anderson was serving at that time. Rev. Dr. Donald McKinney, the 84-year-old minister emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Brooklyn, will marry the couple.
"We get to get married over and over again as the laws change," Allen said in an interview Thursday. "We'll probably get married again when the federal law comes into being."
"There's a lovely symmetry for us," Allen continued. "... This congregation that I'm serving now works hard for marriage equality."
Members of the congregation last year traveled to Albany to .
The service is part of the Unitarian Universalist Association's "Standing on the Side of Love" initiative, which it describes as "a public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression." Its "Thirty Days of Love" celebration lasts from Martin Luther King Jr. Day to Valentine's Day.
The phrase "Standing on the Side of Love" originated with a shooting in 2008 at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, which was targeted because of the organization's stance on LGBT issues. It became a rallying cry for those in Massachusetts who were fighting for marriage equality in that state, and again in California during the debate over Proposition 8.
The main focus of Allen's service on Sunday will be on compassion, with reference to Karen Armstrong's book, "12 Steps to a Compassionate Life."