After 8 Years, Spokane Pastor Will Perform Marriages, Gay And Straight
Reverend Todd Eklof made a vow in 2004 -- the year 11 states, including Oregon and Kentucky -- passed constitutional amendments against gay marriage. He stopped performing any marriages. But starting Dec. 9 same-sex couples can get married legally in Washington. And that day will also marks a turning point for the Spokane minister. Eklof discussed his vow with Northwest News Network's Jessica Robinson.
"My name is Todd Eklof. I am the minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane. In 2004 I was living in Louisville, Kentucky. It was just days after the general election and this state law was passed in Kentucky. Quite honestly, it made me angry. I was angry. That following Sunday, I knew I had to address the issue to my congregation and I got up and said, 'Look, I can't marry anyone until I'm free to marry everyone equally including gays and lesbians, including gays and lesbians.
"At the time I was actually working two jobs, meaning that I largely supported my own ministry. And about a week about this stance made the local news headlines, both the supervisor and the CEO of the company called me into a meeting and effectively reprimanded and demoted me and within two months I was fired.
"I have to say, I've stuck through this decision through thick and thin. I have missed performing weddings during the past decade ˆ for a lot of reasons. It's a joy to be able to participate in a ritual that is so meaningful for a couple. It's very special.
"Now, since the state law was passed in Washington, I can perform weddings again. That's what it means to me is that I can, I'm now free to practice my faith, in my church, in my community."
Eklof adds: a couple in his congregation has already asked him to officiate their wedding after Washington's law takes effect Dec. 9. He says from now on, he knows he won't always be saying "I now pronounce you husband and wife."