27 May 2009

Won't Back Down!

Thanks for posting this video on your blog, Sarah!

One More Reason Why I LOVE my Church:

PSR faculty and staff arrested following Prop. 8 decision

Written by Wire Reports
May 27, 2009
Four clergy members on the faculty and staff of the UCC related Pacific School of Religion (PSR) were arrested near City Hall in San Francisco in acts of civil disobedience following the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold a constitutional amendment that denies the full equality of same-sex couples under the law.

Those arrested were the Rev. Jeffrey Kuan, associate professor of Old Testament at PSR; the Rev. Deborah Lee, program director of PSR's PANA Institute (Institute for Leadership Development and Study of Pacific and Asian North American Religion); the Rev. Nicole Naffaa, director of recruitment and admission for the multidenominational Christian seminary; and the Rev. Roland Stringfellow, who serves as a program coordinator at PSR's Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS).

The four, along with other PSR faculty, staff, students and alums, had marched behind a banner stating "Faith demands justice! Marriage Equality Now!" at a rally held in advance of the court ruling.

"Just over a year ago, the California Supreme Court ruled that the right to marry the person of one's choosing, regardless of gender, is one of the fundamental rights embodied in the California Constitution," said Bill McKinney, president of PSR. "Now the court has declared that this fundamental right can be overturned by a simple majority vote. This has grave consequences for all Californians, who must now wonder if their fundamental rights can be voided at the ballot box. This is a situation that cries out for justice to be restored."

Mary A. Tolbert, executive director of CLGS, said, "The court has done a grave injustice not just to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people but to all the people of California. We continue to pray for the prophetically predicted day when 'justice rolls down like water, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.' "

PSR encourages clergy and worship leaders to address the theological, social and emotional effects of the court decision during upcoming worship services, and encourages all faith communities to continue to work to affirm the civil rights of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

"There's a critical difference between marriage as a civil contract and marriage as a religious covenant," Tolbert said. "Every faith community, regardless of stance on religious recognition of same-sex relationships, has a stake in securing equal access to the benefits of this civil contract. California should not tolerate second-class status for any of its citizens. Neither should people of faith. Ultimately, it's a question of equal rights, not religion."

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at PSR provides training and education to help faith communities that work for full inclusion of same-sex couples in religious celebrations of marriage.

A number of faith traditions currently bless same-sex relationships, including Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Church of Christ, the Metropolitan Community Churches, some congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), some Episcopal churches and some Baptist churches. The web-based CLGS Marriage Project is designed to assist religious communities in these efforts.

05 May 2009

Maine and Washington, D.C.

Today, Maine's House passed the Marriage Equality Bill by a vote of 89-56. It's now on it's way back to the Senate (who voted to pass it once already) for a quick review and vote. After that it heads to the Governor's desk. He hasn't indicated whether or not he will sign it, but he does apparently have a strong history of LGBT support.

Also, the Council in Washington, D.C. voted today 12-1 to recognized ALL marriages performed in other states, including states who practice marriage equality. It now moves to the LGBT friendly Mayor's desk for approval, and will be presented to Congress, as D.C.'s laws are subject to a 30 day congressional review period. The lone dissenting vote? Former Mayor Marion Berry. You know, the one who has been married four times, caught on camera with a prostitute while smoking crack, evades his taxes and spent some quality time behind bars for his crimes? He has now come out and called himself a 'moral leader' at a recent anti-marriage equality rally. Nice.

04 May 2009

Where is the shock, moral condemnation and outrage?

Dear EmailNation Subscriber,

Forced child marriage is a pervasive human rights violation that puts young girls around the world at terrible risk. To combat this our friends at CARE are sponsoring a campaign to ensure passage of the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act. Please follow the links below for more information and to implore your elected reps to support this bill.

All best,
Peter Rothberg
The Nation

This came to my email today. It got me thinking...I see all those groups who claim to want to 'protect marriage and families' by demanding that we deny same gender couples the right to marry based on 'tradition' and 'biblical values.' But tell me this - where is the outrage when we hear things like this? Where was the moral condemnation and activist actions when the courts in another country denied an 8-year-old girl's petition to have her arranged marriage annulled? Where was the outspoken condemnation when a group with a certain religious affiliation was found to be practicing polygamy and 'marrying' off multiple teen girls to one 'husband' in the name of God? Where was the complete and utter freak out when the catholic church actively sought to cover up the repeated sexual abuse of young children? In fact, where was this outrage when the Pope actually ADMITTED this, and apologized for it? Sure, they may make statements about it, maybe mention what a shame it is that this is happening in the world and even in our own country, but do you see them actively working to change these atrocities with the same ferocity that they use while focusing their attention on enacting marriage bans and such?

Imagine what would happen if these groups who say their goal is only to 'protect marriage' and 'strengthen families' actually DID want to protect it...wouldn't the focus be on things that actually DAMAGE marriage and HURT children, like divorce, domestic violence, or the abuse of young people in a variety of ways while hiding behind the name of God, and not on two people who love each other and just happen to be the same gender wanting to marry?

Maybe these groups should put just HALF of the energy they spend trying to deny the right of a qualified, ordinary, tax paying American citizen to be married to the qualified, ordinary, tax paying American citizen of their choice into combating these problems. Wouldn't that really be protecting marriage and supporting families?

It baffles me. Truly.

Just have to share this graphic from Pam's House Blend

How can a religion who claims to have the most followers in America turn around and claim they are being oppressed?  It makes no sense, and makes people like Stephen Baldwin, who has designated himself the poster child for biblical correctness, look like a total idiot. 

01 May 2009

From GA Equality: Hate Crimes Passes Congress- How GA Lawmakers Voted

Hate Crimes Passes Congress- How GA Lawmakers Voted-

This week, an historic Pro-LGBT Hate Crimes bill passed in the
US House of Representatives by a vote of 249 to 175. It now
moves to the Senate and then to President Obama, who has stated
that he fully supports it. If passed, this bill would create the
first federal protections for LGBT Americans by adding sexual
orientation, gender identity, gender and disability to existing
federal hate crimes law.

Here is a list of how Georgia Representatives voted - please
thank those who voted Yes on this important legislation.

Yes Representative Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D - 02)

Yes Representative Hank Johnson (D - 04)

Yes Representative John Lewis (D - 05)

Yes Representative Jim Marshall (D - 08)

Yes Representative John Barrow (D - 12)

Yes Representative David Scott (D - 13)

No Representative Jack Kingston (R - 01)

No Representative Phil Gingrey (R - 11)

No Representative Paul C. Broun (R - 10)

No Representative Nathan Deal (R - 09)

No Representative John Linder (R - 07)

No Representative Tom Price (R - 06)

No Representative Lynn Westmoreland (R - 03)