Marge Ballack – Spirituality and Religion

“I hope you win your lawsuit.”

I would consider myself a Christian. I was raised Presbyterian; my mother was raised Seven Day Adventist. So, there’s always been proverbs, or whatever they wanted to call them. If we needed to be scolded, there was something about “the Lord” in there. I wouldn’t say I was raised religiously, but I was raised Presbyterian and went to church. When we reached 13 we could go to church, but we were tired of it. [My folks] were tired of making me go, and I didn’t go every weekend.

You know, the thing is, you have the ones who are religious say, “Yes, you’re wonderful,” meaning “We’re God’s children. He’s created everyone, so you must be okay too—but not in my house.” That sort of thing will be around forever. What they don’t understand is we are being accepting of them being straight. It’s an acceptance on both sides. If you want to draw a line down the middle, we both have to accept being just fine, even though we disagree with a whole bunch of stuff they do. And the things we disagree with have nothing to do with sex or sexuality. You know, “Let’s keep our minds on something else.” I never once look at a straight couple, I never once in my mind [think,] “Gee. I wonder how they make love.” Never once. It’s not important. It doesn’t factor into anything. That’s a personal, private thing for everyone. Why would I want to know?

[Once] we were invited to [speak at] a small church out at Deer Park. Well, that was a trip. It was for Lent. The funny thing was, the congregation was just a nervous as we were. They didn’t know what to expect, and neither did we. It really was an affirming event. By the time we were done, the people had moved forward [in their thinking]. The guys that were sitting in the back were all like, “Heck, I wouldn’t even know where my marriage license is! Would you, Willy?” They were doing that sort of thing. We started from the beginning: when we met, our kids, and how our family felt about it. We just went from point “A” to point “Z” and everything in between. To let them know as much about ourselves, who we are—not just that we are gay or lesbian—but who we are as human beings. “We’re not that different from you.” Yeah, it was fun. They were very loving at the end. They thanked us. One gal was 68; she got up and she said, “I just have to say one thing to you and the congregation. I walked in here not being for gay marriage. I’ve never been for gay marriage but, after meeting the two of you, I hope you win your lawsuit.” She was talking to us and her congregation. She stood sideways so she could look in the eyes of all of us.


Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson in December 2006, held at the Northwest Museum for Arts and Culture.