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Call for Celebration of Historic Moment in the Midst of Temporary Defeat

Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches
Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
Call for Celebration of Historic Moment
In the Midst of Temporary Defeat:
All People of Faith Must Continue the Good Fight!

 

Office of the Global Justice Institute
Metropolitan Community Churches
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries

For Immediate Release:  10 May 2012

Today Metropolitan Community Churches and congregations of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries around the globe can lift high the banner we were founded under:  God’s all inclusive love and the right of every human being, including God’s LGBTI children, to live in the fullness of that love.

While the state of North Carolina passed a referendum making good, decent,
law-abiding, tax-paying citizens from all walks of life, including children, less
than equal citizens under an amended state constitution, the President of the
United States declared his support for Marriage Equality.

“I have to tell you,” President Obama said in an interview given yesterday in the
Cabinet room of the White House, “that over the course of several years
as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about
members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous
relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I
think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there
fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t
Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in marriage,
at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for
me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to
get married.”

While the North Carolina vote was and remains an act of violence, designed not only to limit the rights and social acceptance of LGBTI people and our families, but to marginalize heterosexual partners in committed or civil unions, the affirmation by President Obama is an act of courage that says clearly to every American, no matter our sexual orientation or gender identity, no matter the type of commitments we have made, we are all full and equal citizens who should be treated as such.

We hope every child who heard a sermon advocating extreme violence against those who are different from the majority will find strength in the President’s heartfelt interview today, and be able to hold on for the day when difference is no longer vilified or condemned.  We hope every child who hears the President’s words will find hope for their futures.

And we hope every adult who felt that somehow being a person of faith conflicts with being an advocate for equality will take to heart the words of President Obama and find the courage to pray and reflect on the meaning of believing in a God who is defined as love.

“The North Carolina vote, while very disappointing,” said The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director for Marriage Equality and Adoptions for the Global Justice Institute and Public Policy Team, “must not be seen as the final word on Marriage Equality anywhere.  Coalitions of those committed to equality and justice for all people have been built and empowered in ways that will enable them to continue working in North Carolina and all over the country.  We will not give up until Marriage Equality is the law, not only in North Carolina, but all across the United States and even the globe.  President Obama’s evolution in thought and his courage in sharing his convictions give us all hope for the kind of changes globally that will guarantee freedom and equality for everyone.”

Six states in the United States as well as the District of Columbia and 10 nations currently guarantee marriage equality.   The Department of Justice in the United States has been ordered not to defend DOMA {Defense of Marriage Act} in the federal court system.

The day is coming, friends and colleagues, when marriage equality will be the rule of law, because it is the will of God.  We firmly believe this.  It is this conviction that gives us hope for a future where the world will live in peace with its God-given diversity.

Hold on!  Don’t ever give up!  The defeat in North Carolina is only temporary.   A better, more accepting and supportive world is before us.

Grace and Peace,

+Nancy                                                                        +Yvette

 

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator                     Bp. Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop
Metropolitan Community Churches                           The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries

 

This statement prepared in conjunction with The Global Justice Institute,
a partnership of Metropolitan Community Churches and
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries,
The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director,
The Rev. Joseph Tolton, Public Policy Specialist.

For more information about Metropolitan Community Churches, Marriage and Adoption Equality or the Global Justice Institute, contact The Rev. Dr.  Jim Merritt:  .

Office of the High Commissioner/United Nations on LGBT Rights

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-_kzl-_mrg&feature=youtu.be

A Call to Prayer and Action for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia {IDAHO}

  • A Call to Prayer and Action

for

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia {IDAHO}

May 17, 2012

 

Each year on May 17th people around the globe together lift their voices in calling for respect and equality for LGBTI people.

 

Initiated in 2004 by the French academic, Louis-Georges Tin, the date coincides with the 1990 removal of homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization, and has grown to include participants in over 70 nations.  The Parliament of the European Union and the governments of Spain, Belgium, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, France, Luxemburg and Brazil officially commemorate the day.

 

This year in the Philippines there will be a march to the Commission of Human Rights to present a list of those who have fallen victim to hate crimes, and MCC of Quezon City will sponsor the 3rd annual Flores de Mayo LGBT Pride March in Manila.

 

  • In Morocco, Gay Maroc, an LGBT organization, will launch a national campaign to repeal Article 489, which criminalizes same sex relationships.
  • In New South Wales PFLAG will host a day commemorating the families of LGBT people.
  • In China, Hong Kong and Taiwan an IDAHO lesson kit will be distributed and a SAFE ZONE program to create friendly campuses for LGBT students will be initiated.
  • In Kenya, Women Working with Women will host a sports tournament between LGBT teams and allies.

 

Many will march, demonstrate and speak out for an end to violence and in promotion of peaceful coexistence among diverse populations, calling for unity and equality.

 

This year the Global Justice Institute, a joint ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches and The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, is calling all our churches and communities of faith to observe IDAHO by hosting a Prayer Vigil that day or designating the Sunday before or after May 17th as IDAHO SUNDAY.

 

Together MCC and TFAM have congregations and groups in over 40 countries and we can be a powerful and prayerful voice for ending criminalization laws and promoting social, political and religious policies that guarantee equality for  God’s LGBTI children.

 

An on-line video about IDAHO, suitable for educational purposes is available in English {http://player.vimeo.com/video/41191271}, in Spanish {http://vimeo.com/41429156} and in French {http://player.vimeo.com/video/41191281}. — In addition to the video, a resources for liturgical use follow this letter.

 

Together, we can make May 17th and the Sundays surrounding it days when the voices of LGBT people and our allies around the globe are lifted in praise for the gift of our lives and in petition for the day when the earth will be at peace with its own diversity.

 

In solidarity,

The Rev. Pat Bumgardner                                                               The Rev. Joseph Tolton
Executive Director                                                                             Director of African Affairs
Global Justice Institute                                                                     Global Justice Institute
Metropolitan Community Churches                                              The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries

 

 

RESOURCES FOR PRAYER VIGILS AND SUNDAY SERVICES

 

Scriptural Texts:                                                                   Isaiah 56: 1-8    A House of Prayer for All People
                                                                                                        Micah 6:8          What does God ask of us?  Only this….
                                                                                                        Joel 2:12-14      Come back to me with all your heart….
                                                                                                       Amos 5:24         Let justice flow like a mighty stream….
                                                                                                       Esther 4:12-14  For such a time as this….
                                                                                                       Psalm 89:14      Righteousness and justice support your throne
                                                                                                       Matthew 8:5-13  Healing of the gay soldier’s lover
                                                                                                       Matthew 10:1-15  Jesus commission’s the disciples; it will go better for 
                                                                                                                                      Sodom and Gomorrah than for those who did not receive you.

 

Hymns:                                                                                    Caridad y Comprension                                      Let There be Peace on Earth
                                                                                                     Coming to Our Own                                             Lift Every Voice and Sing
                                                                                                     Come Let Us Dream                                             O Freedom
                                                                                                     Bring Many Names                                              Once to Every One and Nation
                                                                                                     Go Ye Therefore                                                    Pueblo Libre
                                                                                                     Dona Nobis Pacem                                              The Voice of God is Calling
                                                                                                     Every Time I Feel the Spirit                               This Little Light of Mine
                                                                                                     For the Healing of the Nations                          We Shall Overcome
                                                                                                     God Make Me a Means of Your Peace             We’ve Come This Far by Faith
                                                                                                     I Have Decided to Follow Jesus                        When Israel was in Egypt Land
                                                                                                    In Christ there is no East or West                      You’ve Got the Whole World

 

Prayer:                                 O God,
                                                Today we join our voices with those of LGBT people and our allies
                                                around the globe
                                                in both thanking you for the diversity of creation
                                                and praying for the safety and protection of all life.
                                                You know the many Pharoahs we face as a people ~
                                                                LGBT people in Russia dare not speak a word of affirmation without fear
                                                                of imprisonment;
                                                                our people in Uganda live under the pending threat of a law that would
                                                                put them to death.
                                                                {Here in …. *insert your local situation.}
                                                Long ago, You spoke to Oppressors everywhere with the call to “Let my people go.”
                                                Help us today to find ways to make that call ring in the ears of religious and social and
                                                political leaders everywhere.
                                                Help us to take that call to heart ourselves, so that every word we speak, every deed
                                                we do might be of use to You and Your plan for all creation coming to know
                                                the glorious freedom of the Children of God.
                                                We make this prayer trusting in the name and the vision of Jesus the Christ.  +Amen                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Violence Against Women

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

 Issue Update:  LGBTQ Provisions  of S. 1925 Myths v.   Facts

 VAWA is at the   center of a national discussion and will soon move through Congress.  In   fact, S. 1925, the real VAWA has been filed as a “motion to proceed” in the   Senate and is likely to be heard on the Senate floor within days or weeks.     While every politician has expressed their support for VAWA, some   have not committed to support S. 1925, the real VAWA, which has been   introduced into the Senate with key provisions that will protect all   victims.  Some Senate Republicans will be offering their own version of   VAWA when the Senate takes up the bill and it guts the bipartisan S. 1925.    We have to save S. 1925’s  important provisions that provide better   access to law enforcement for women in Indian country, better access for   immigrant women who fear deportation if they report violence, and better   access for  LGBT victims who are finding doors to shelters and programs   closed to them.

So our job,   though it seems complicated, is really simple at the grassroots and community   level.  Tell your Senators and Representatives: “We won’t go back to   the tragic days before VAWA passed in 1994.  We won’t abandon girls and   women, boys and men, just because they have special needs and special   circumstances that have not been addressed previously.  There are no   ‘bad’ victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, only humans who need   and deserve our embrace and help.  Pass S.   1925.”

You may have heard concerns raised   about the VAWA provisions protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and   queer (LGBTQ) victims and survivors in your meetings and discussions with   senators who haven’t yet signed on in full support of S. 1925 and perhaps in   the media. It is crucial that all advocates understand and fully support these   critically important provisions in VAWA. For that reason, the National   Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a member of the National Task Force, has   compiled the following responses to misinformation being circulated about the   LGBTQ provisions. Please incorporate factual information about the LGBTQ    provisions in your VAWA advocacy and use and distribute these facts to respond   to any concerns raised.

The Violence   Against Women Act Reauthorization—S.1925

The Truth   About LGBTQ Provision

Myth: Domestic violence,   sexual violence, stalking and dating violence does not affect the LGBTQ   community.

Fact: The LGBTQ community   experiences these types of violence as the approximately the same rate as   non-LGBTQ victims– 25-33% of relationships — however, they often face unique   barriers to receiving services.

  • LGBT victims are   denied services. For example, 45 percent of LGBT victims were turned away   when they sought help from a domestic violence shelter, according to a 2010   survey, and nearly 55 percent of those who sought protection orders were   denied them.2
  • Service providers   lack cultural competency. A 2010 study found that many victim services   providers lack services specific to the needs of LGBT victims and have not   received training in how to assist with the unique needs of these victims.   Specialized services are particularly important for this population because   reporting rates and prosecution rates are very low.3

Myth: Provisions addressing   the LGBTQ community in VAWA are expanding services to a whole new population   not previously covered and/or mandating LGBTQ specific programs in every   state.

Fact: LGBTQ survivors of   domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and dating violence are already   receiving services under VAWA. However, LGBTQ survivors face additional   barriers when accessing services. The proposed changes help make clear to STOP   state administrators and others the LGBTQ individual and programs can be   served and funded under VAWA.

  •  These provisions   reflect a comprehensive needs assessment. Thousands of service providers,   law enforcement, court personnel, victims and family of victims were consulted   over a two year nationwide assessment of what is working and where   improvements are needed in the response to domestic violence, dating violence,   sexual assault and stalking. Those efforts consistently revealed the desperate   need for more training and targeted services to effectively address the needs   of LGBTQ victims.
  •  There are no   mandated LGBTQ programs. There is nothing in VAWA that mandates that a   state fund an LGBTQ specific program. The modest changes to VAWA simply   clarify that LGBTQ programs are eligible for funding.

Myth: Including   non-discrimination provisions protecting the LGBTQ community will expose   service providers to litigation hurting all survivors.

Fact: Enforcement   authority for this provision lies with the Department of Justice. If DOJ finds   that a service provider receiving federal funding is violating the   non-discrimination provision, they must give the provider notice and a chance   to stop discriminating. Otherwise the Department is able to stop the funds   going to the service provider discriminating against victims.

  •  No danger of   litigation. There is no private right of action in the VAWA.
  •  All victims   deserve services. No program being funded by federal VAWA dollars should   be allowed to turn away a domestic violence victim because of his or her   sexual orientation or gender identity.

Thank you for all your great   work!!

www.4vawa.org has   nearly 25,000 visits!  Check our website for fact sheets,   press coverage, support letters and updates: www.4vawa.org

Our Facebook   page has more than 1,000 “likes”!  Check out and “like” our Facebook   page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information   items: http://on.fb.me/NTF_Facebook_page

Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using   the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.

If you aren’t on one of the VAWA email   lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our   grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including   email to Sean Black, .