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Archive for the ‘External Global Justice News’ Category

Global call to protest against Nigeria’s anti-gay laws

Nigerian LGBTI activists are calling on people around the world to hold protests against homophobic legislation

11 FEBRUARY 2014 | BY ANNA D’ALESSIO

goodluckGay people in Nigeria are calling on the world to help them protest against anti-gay laws.

Signed into law by Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in January this year, the Solitary Alliance is hoping international pressure could help repeal the legislation.

The law prescribes 14 years of imprisonment for LGBTI people in the country, and also criminalizes the witnessing or aiding of same-sex relationships.

Michael Ighodaro, gay rights activist and human rights advocate, said: ‘Aside from the fact that sections of this law are in direct violation of our fundamental human rights – freedom of expression and assembly, freedom to have a private and family life – and set back the provision of healthcare services, they effectively signify that it is open season to attack the LGBT community.’

Since the signing of this law, a number of people have been arrested.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex people, as well as their friends and family, are living in fear against state-sanctioned violence.

The Solitary Alliance, Nigeria calls on the rest of the world to join in a Global Day of Action on 7 March to stand against homophobia and the violation of human rights.

Ighodaro added: ‘The world has been silent on the passage of the bill, the silence is like saying Nigeria gays are not as important as gays in Uganda or Russia.’

‘That’s why we are calling on everyone to come out on [7 March] to show solidarity to Nigeria’s LGBT community, to show that the world has not neglected us.’

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/global-call-protest-against-nigerias-anti-gay-laws110214#sthash.dTRhsOnj.dpuf

World’s Largest Democracy Reverses Decision Upholding LGBT Equality

World’s Largest Democracy
Reverses Decision Upholding LGBT Equality
Activists Vow to Fight On

On Wednesday, December 11th, the Supreme Court of India hearing the case of Suresh Kumar Kaushal v. Naz Foundation overturned the historic 2009 Delhi High Court ruling decriminalizing the life of LGBT citizens in India and upholding the full equality of all India’s peoples.

The former February 2009 decision had been hailed as an historic victory for all nations plagued by the remnants of colonial era imposed legislation. Chief Justice Shah’s premise of “constitutional morality” and the principled belief of Dr. Ambed Kar that majorities have no right to discriminate against minorities simply because the former outnumber the latter served to embolden a decade of activism in India that changed the face of LGBT life and inspired Queer people throughout the region.

Today’s decision will, in effect, reinstate section 377 of the Penal Code dating back to 1860 and India’s days under British Imperial rule, imposing a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted of “sex against the order of nature.”

Though today’s decision represents a loss, it also serves as a reminder to all of us that laws come and go with political and social climates. We must not be defeated by the momentary defeats, nor be content with singular and isolated victories, but rather keep our eyes on the prize of universal and full human equality for all people everywhere.

We must hold to the conviction that human rights are not given or taken away by courts or legislators. Human rights belong to all the people of God by virtue of our common humanity. What we fight for is the recognition of the inherent truth that we are all the valued and beloved children of God, worthy of being treated equally and with dignity in all things.

Let us all commit to living our lives openly and with heads held high, and to praying for our brothers and sisters in India who must once again summon the resolve to battle both the external forces of hatred and violence that are fueled by decisions such as today’s, and the fear and temptation to hide that become the internal battles of those under siege. Let us together pray for the day when honesty is no longer criminalized, but rather recognized and lauded as the virtue of all people who know themselves to be fully human and absolutely created in the image of God.

This statement prepared in conjunction with the Global Justice Institute
and the Public Policy Team of Metropolitan Community Churches,
Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director, Mr. Kareem Murphy, Public Policy Team,
and Rev. Jim Merritt, Marriage and Relational Equality Liaison.

Who am I to judge?

Pope Francis asked a stunning question: “Who am I to judge?” This was in response to inquiries about whether or not there are gay priests in the Vatican — the now-renowned “gay lobby.”

In a 90-minute interview returning from his travels in Brazil, an affable, relaxed Pope Francis covered a range of topics, but the “who am I to judge?” response made the world do a double take.

Seriously?

“Who am I to judge?”

Well, the pope! You are the pope who inherited two millennia of, well, pontificating about what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s moral and what’s immoral.

I am sure the Vatican leaders are wringing their collective hands over a pope who may be viewed as a security and PR nightmare. He may seem out of their control, dispensing mercy and off-the-cuff pastoral kindness that blurs the lines of official church policy and pronouncements. We could almost feel the winds of Vatican II blowing.

My hope is that this is not just the kind of rock-star popularity that masked the sometimes-kind conservatism of John Paul II. He gave “warm fuzzies” to big crowds but became increasingly dogmatic as a corrupt system of financial and sexual exploitation lurked beneath the surface.

Pope Francis’ step toward humility was stunning, but few are naïve enough to think that everything has changed. Gay priests must still be celibate, and Pope Francis declared that “the door is closed” on the ordination of women. But what the pope did in that interview was to begin to live up to the Catholic Church’s own teachings about humankind.

Honestly, if all Christian denominations and traditions lived up to their own teachings about humanity, there would be a great revolution of respect. But that respect must include women as full human beings, worthy of greatness — worthy of ordination — and it must include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.

I sincerely hope this pope really does want to shake up things. Celibacy should be optional. Catholic women need the church to move into the 20th, not to mention the 21st, century and recognize their full eligibility for the priesthood. Sexual assaults on children must be eliminated. Decisions about contraception, reproductive health and choice should be in the hands of women, not by unaffected men who like to dictate policy. The use of condoms to save lives through prevention of HIV/AIDS must be commonplace. A revolution of respect can happen!

Virtually every faith tradition has a core belief that human beings have inherent worth as creations of God. The inherent worth of each human being means that Christians should be aghast at the brutal murders of gay men in RussiaCameroonYemen and even in theUnited States.

In South Africa, where so-called “corrective rape” is used mostly against lesbians but also against transgender people and gay men, the brutality is shocking and too often endorsed by family members. Duduzile Zozo was raped with a toilette brush and left to die in early July. Bishop Tutu presided at her memorial service and famously said that he “would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven.”

Most anti-LGBTQ rapes, beatings, tortures and murders happen with little comment because it is too dangerous to report the assault or murder of a gay friend or family member for fear of police reprisal. Even with high publicity, the Cameroon police do not seem to be pursuing the person(s) who murdered gay rights advocate Eric Lembembe. Instead, Cameroon police arrested three organizers who have been critiquing the lack of action by Cameroon officials!

Where are the faith voices? Pope Francis, we urge you not to be silent! Use your moral weight to stop vicious attacks and cruel persecution. Promote a campaign for tolerance. We do not have to punish people for being different!

Why are Christians silent when Eric Lemembe is tortured with a hot iron in his own home? Why are Christians silent when lesbians are raped — even raped to death? Why are Christians silent as Russia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and so many other countries pass laws that make talking about the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people punishable by prison or fine?

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe recently condemned LGBTQ people and promised to cut off our heads. Pronouncements like these are de facto endorsements of street violence, mob attacks, family rejection and official persecution against anyone who is perceived to be LGBTQ — as well as against their families. Mugabe is a Catholic who should hear from his new pope that violent homophobia is unacceptable for Catholic leaders.

Although the pope did not suddenly change the church’s view that LGBTQ people should remain celibate, whether as priests or as lay people, he did tell Christians around the world that it’s time to live up to the highest values of the faith rather than descend to base disrespect for human beings.

Pope Francis modeled a more tolerant approach to LGBTQ people. He is the first pope to use the word “gay.” Tolerance is a humble platform from which people across the world can be speaking out for mutual respect. It is not a perfect platform, but it appears that it might suit a pope who doesn’t think of himself as infallible but as a human being who respects God’s good diversity. How refreshing!

As the head of Metropolitan Community Churches, which has ministries in 40 countries, I know that it is time that Christians step up and strive to fulfill the basic teachings of Jesus: Feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit prisoners — and, like the pope, judge not.

Public Statement by World’s Largest Predominantly Gay Church Group Metropolitan Community Churches on the Passage of Marriage Equality in England and Wales

Metropolitan Community Churches worldwide join in the celebration of Marriage Equality in England and Wales.  After passing in the British House of Commons yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II has given her assent to the bill.  Although the monarch’s assent is a formality in the United Kingdom, it makes the measure official.  Marriages could be held in England and Wales as early as next summer.

This measure in England and Wales marks another watershed accomplishment on the long road to full equality under the law for LGBT residents. “On behalf of the friends and members of Metropolitan Community Churches, I salute all those who stood up for full equality, including marriage equality of all citizens of England and Wales,” said The Reverend Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches worldwide.

Marriage Equality supporter Sarah Jane Ramage said, “I am very happy that this legislation has passed. Many people have campaigned for many years. The Rev. Sharon Ferguson of MCC North London and LGCM was part of the equal love campaign that three years ago sought to raise the profile of the differences between civil partnerships and marriage. It is great to be celebrating the success of that and other initiatives.  I look forward to seeing the remaining inequalities affecting same sex couples and trans people removed.”

MCC’s Global Justice Chair, The Reverend Pat Bumgardner said, “We won this battle for Marriage Equality because of hard work — because of people like Rev. Sharon Ferguson, Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of North London. We won, because though ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice,’ and Marriage Equality is the just, the right thing to do AND — don’t ever let anyone tell you differently: it is the MORAL thing to do. The angels and saints of heaven are rejoicing tonight.”

“For 42 years, the denomination of Metropolitan Community Churches has been at the forefront of the marriage equality movement. Today, along with people of goodwill everywhere, we’re celebrating the marriage equality victory in England and Wales,” said The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director for Marriage Equality of The Global Justice Institute.

This Statement prepared by The Global Justice Institute of Metropolitan Community Churches and The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.  Rev. Pat Bumgarnder, Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director for Marriage Equality and Relational Issues

Contact

Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt

Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches Calls for Prayer and Personal Discernment as Zimmerman Trial Verdict is Released

Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches

Calls for Prayer and Personal Discernment

as Zimmerman Trial Verdict is Released

 

Earlier this evening, a jury of six women found George Zimmerman, a now 26-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer, not guilty in the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

 

Trayvon Martin was 17 years old when, walking to his father’s home through a residential area in Sanford, Florida on a rainy evening , he was shot in the heart after an altercation with Zimmerman.   Wearing a hoodie and talking on his cell phone, having just purchased a package of Skittles and a can of iced tea, Martin became a symbol of young people of color across the United States who are often targeted by law enforcement, shop owners and other citizens as “suspicious.”

 

Approached and followed by Mr. Zimmerman for this reason, a physical fight ensued that would end in the death of a child, and come to symbolize our nation’s on-again/off-again struggle to accept and value its diverse citizenry.

 

As a community of largely LGBTI people of many religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, many of us know what it is like to be viewed with suspicion simply because of who we are.  Many of us still live in parts of the world where our sexual orientations or gender identities are sufficient to endanger our lives.

 

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s parents, appealed for peace in the wake of a verdict and said that they could finally see “the end of the tunnel.”

 

The real end of the tunnel for all of us will be on that day when we stand face to face with the Creator God who made us all and pronounced all life good.  In the end, we will be invited to share one table together.  The Gospel of Matthew says people will come to that table from East and West, North and South, meaning from many directions.

 

I know the members and friends of Metropolitan Community Churches may be coming from many directions with regard to this case and all the issues it has raised, from racially motivated animosity to the use of firearms.   People around the globe suffer and struggle daily with the loss of children’s lives to violence — violence that is often times fueled by the failure to value the diversity of God’s creation.

 

Yesterday at the United Nations, another child targeted by violence, a 16 year old girl from Pakistan named Malala, spoke to the world saying that education is the key to a future of peace and good will for all of us.  Shot because she was a girl wanting to go to school in a culture devaluing its female children, she said, “They thought that the bullet would silence us,” but what really happened was that “weakness and fear died…and courage was born.’

 

I urge all of us on this night when many of us may be reacting with shock, disbelief and anger and others with support for a legally rendered verdict, to really search our hearts and minds and spirits for the ways prejudice and fear have weakened our commitment to the prophetic vision of a world where lions lay down with lambs, and little children play safely over adder’s dens.   I urge all of us as people of faith to recommit to the Biblical injunction against taking a life for any reason.   The legal standard for “self defense” can never replace Scripture’s call to love others as God loves all of us.

 

Pray with me this night for the family of Trayvon Martin who, regardless of a verdict, lost a child to fear and violence.  Pray for the day when all of us are at ease in the presence of difference and see only in each other’s faces a brother or sister in Christ.

 

+Nancy

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator

Metropolitan Community Churches

 

This statement prepared in conjunction with the Moderator’s Public Policy Team,

The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.  For more information or to arrange further comment

contact The Rev. Jim Merritt, Public Policy Team Communications, at

.

Faith-Based Council Members sign-on to letter re ending human trafficking – Senate and House leadership

Dear Congressman/Senator:

 

We are writing to express our strong support for legislation that would enhance the United States anti-trafficking policy by upgrading the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a State Department Bureau. We represent members of both the current and previous President Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. As members of the current President’s Advisory Council, we studied the issue of domestic and international trafficking for most of the past year and issued a report with recommendations to President Obama.  One of the recommendations was to upgrade the Office to a Bureau.

Our April 2013 Report states: “The Council appreciates and acknowledges not only the diplomacy and monitoring carried out by J/TIP, but the level of expertise and innovation the Office brings to the anti-trafficking movement.  This Council believes that it is vitally important that the State Department’s J/TIP be elevated to a State Department Bureau, on equal footing with the Regional Bureaus and other priority issues for this Administration. Making J/TIP a Bureau would improve collaboration with the Regional Bureaus, Embassies, and international interlocutors.”

We are grateful that legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to upgrade the Office to a State Department Bureau headed by an Assistant Secretary of State.  This simple redesignation, which does not involve additional bureaucracy or expense, will give J/TIP and its leadership access to the Secretary of State and parity with regional Assistant Secretaries. This upgrade is required for the issue of slavery eradication to receive the attention it requires.

As leaders of faith based and community organizations, we respectfully urge you to support this legislation, which sharpens the United States’ most precious diplomatic tool.  The men and women who staff and lead the J/TIP Office are the nation’s leading experts on modern day slavery.  While we understand that anti-trafficking concerns will sometimes be preempted by other U.S. interests, we believe that it is essential that J/TIP’s leadership have a seat at the table where key decisions on diplomacy and strategy are being developed and implemented.

We respectfully urge you to support H.R. 2283, “The Human Trafficking Prioritization Act,” sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith in the House and S._____, companion legislation in the Senate that is sponsored by Senator Richard Blumenthal.

For information, please contact Allison Hollobaugh, and Joel Cohen, .

Sincerely,

 

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals

Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, Policy Link

Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in American

Lynne Hybels, Co-founder, Willow Creek Community Church

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church

Miaohong Hsiangju Liu, Buddha’s Light International Association

Maria Nagorski, Executive Director, Fair Chance DC

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice-President, Rabbinical Assembly

Barbara Williams Skinner, President, Skinner Leadership Institute

Elder Steven Snow, First Quorum of the Seventy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Susan K. Stern, Chair, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, Past President, Leadership Council of Women Religious

Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches

Rev. Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)

Dr. Arturo Chavez, President, Mexican American Catholic College

The Reverend Canon Peg Chemberlin, Immediate Past President, National Council of Churches of Christ-USA

Fred Davie, Executive Vice President, Union Theological Seminary

Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church

Nancy Ratzan, Immediate Past President, National Council of Jewish Women

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners

The Reverend Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

*Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only

Faith-Based Council Members sign-on to letter re ending human trafficking – Secretary of State Kerry

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington DC

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to express our strong support for current legislation that would enhance the United States anti-trafficking policy by upgrading the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a State Department Bureau headed by an Assistant Secretary of State.

We represent members of both the current and previous President’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. As members of the current President’s Advisory Council, we studied the issue of domestic and international trafficking for the past year and issued a report with recommendations to President Obama.  One of the recommendations was to upgrade the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a Bureau.

Our April 2013 Report states: “The Council appreciates and acknowledges not only the diplomacy and monitoring carried out by J/TIP, but the level of expertise and innovation the Office brings to the anti-trafficking movement.  This Council believes that it is vitally important that the State Department’s J/TIP be elevated to a State Department Bureau, on equal footing with the Regional Bureaus and other priority issues for this Administration. Making J/TIP a Bureau would improve collaboration with the Regional Bureaus, Embassies, and international interlocutors.”

We are grateful that legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate entitled, “The Human Trafficking Prioritization Act,” to upgrade the Office to a State Department Bureau headed by an Assistant Secretary of State.  This simple redesignation, which does not involve additional bureaucracy or expense, will give J/TIP and its leadership access to the Secretary of State and parity with regional Assistant Secretaries. This upgrade is required for the issue of slavery eradication to receive the attention it requires.

As leaders of faith based and community organizations, we respectfully urge you to support this legislation, which sharpens the United States’ most precious diplomatic tool.  The men and women who staff and lead the J/TIP Office are the nation’s leading experts on modern day slavery.  While we understand that anti-trafficking concerns may sometimes be preempted by other U.S. interests, we believe that it is essential that J/TIP’s leadership have a seat at the table where key decisions on diplomacy and strategy are being developed and implemented.

We respectfully urge you to take any action in your authority to elevate the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a State Department Bureau.

Sincerely,

 

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals

Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, Policy Link

Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in American

Lynne Hybels, Co-founder, Willow Creek Community Church

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church

Miaohong Hsiangju Liu, Buddha’s Light International Association

Maria Nagorski, Executive Director, Fair Chance DC

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice-President, Rabbinical Assembly

Barbara Williams Skinner, President, Skinner Leadership Institute

Elder Steven Snow, First Quorum of the Seventy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Susan K. Stern, Chair, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, Past President, Leadership Council of Women Religious

Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches

Rev. Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)

Dr. Arturo Chavez, President, Mexican American Catholic College

The Reverend Canon Peg Chemberlin, Immediate Past President, National Council of Churches of Christ-USA

Fred Davie, Executive Vice President, Union Theological Seminary

Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church

Nancy Ratzan, Immediate Past President, National Council of Jewish Women

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners

The Reverend Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

*Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only

Supreme Court Defends First Amendment Rights Engaged in the Fight Against AIDS For U.S. Organizations

Today, six justices of the Supreme Court of the United States issued the majority  decision in Agency for International Development, et al. –v- Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. et al., finding that federal agencies mandating that organizations receiving government funding for the global fight against AIDS must hold the same opinion as the United States government to qualify for funding.

Responding  to the escalating pandemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, the Congress of the United States passed the “United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003,” allocating billions of dollars to fund non-governmental organizations around the globe in multi-faceted efforts to increase access to treatment, offer supportive care, train health care workers, accelerate research and reduce at-risk behaviors.   As part of efforts designed to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, at that time the fourth highest cause of death in the world,  legislators recognized sex trafficking as a factor in the escalation of the disease.

Congress charged the Department of Health and Human Services {HHS} and the United States Agency for International Development {USAID} with responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the 2003 funding Act.  The agencies then developed protocol that required recipient agencies, in effect, to adopt the United States government’s position opposing prostitution and sex trafficking as a policy statement in order to qualify for funding.   Agencies of the United Nations, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the World Health Organization were exempted from the regulation.

The Alliance for an Open Society and others  challenged that requirement based on the first amendment right in the United States guaranteeing freedom of speech and the right to hold opinions and policies at odds with those favored by the government.

“The Supreme Court decision today,” said The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, “represents a victory for all those engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  The issue is not whether any of us who have long worked in this battle are promoting particular behaviors,  but rather our ability to reach those most in need of safe space and compassionate care. “

“The decision today prevents the U.S. government from telling people what they must say in cases where being judgmental may well determine whether individuals most at risk get the help they need in either remaining HIV-negative or managing their health status in a life-affirming way,” added The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair of the Moderator’s Public Policy Team.  “We serve in a movement of faith founded on the teachings of a man who cautioned against judgment,” she added, “and who proclaimed that prostitutes and tax collectors would enter heaven before many others.  Today, at least, they will be free to enter the offices of agencies around the globe who can offer them the information and health care access critical to saving their lives now.”

This statement prepared in conjunction with the Moderator’s Public Policy Team of

Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute.

For more information, contact The Rev. Pat Bumgardner .

Senate abandons LGBT couples in U.S. with failure to pass inclusive immigration reform

May 22, 2013 – Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee chose to exclude same-sex bi-national couples from legislation reforming the U.S. immigration system.  Due to lack of support and threatened opposition, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) withdrew his amendment that would have allowed LGBT American citizens to sponsor their foreign-born legal spouses for citizenship, a benefit long afforded to opposite-sex married couples.  It would have corrected a wrong that needlessly divides American families and tears husbands, wives, and parents away from their loved ones each day.  Rev. Pat Bumgardner, the Executive Director of the Global Justice Institute, issued the following statement:

 

“There, indeed, is room for all.  Whether we were brought here forcefully, of our own free will, or otherwise, we all call this country home.  As people of faith, we see the innate humanity in all immigrants.  We stand with them as members of our human family.  We will not accept any system of power that seeks to divide us from one another, especially our most vulnerable.  For these reasons, we express our grave disappointment in our elected leaders in the U.S. Senate for willfully excluding same-sex bi-national families from immigration reform efforts they have underway.  As a nation, we are always stronger together.  Those who would divide us, those who would leave anyone behind should be ashamed for not living up to the ideals our nation professes.  Senators who promised to undermine attempts to pass truly comprehensive immigration reform and those who bowed to their vows are simply wrong and subject themselves to the wrong set of values.”

 

“We will continue to work with the broad coalition of immigration reform partners, grassroots activists, and our elected officials to ensure that bi-national same-sex couples, along with all other immigrants (regardless of their legal status) are included in the bill as it heads to the full Senate.  We call on all our allies in the Senate to join us.”

 

For more information on the work of the Global Justice Institute and Metropolitan Community Churches and comprehensive immigration reform, see “No Strangers to God:  A Call for Sensible Immigration Reform that Supports and Reunites Families.” http://mccchurch.org/no-strangers-to-god-a-call-for-sensible-immigration-reform-that-supports-and-reunites-families/

 

 

For more information, contact Rev. DeWayne Davis at

 

This statement prepared by Kareem Murphy on behalf of the Public Policy Team,

Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute.

Observe International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17th

MCC Resources

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IDAHO_Logo[1]Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity — or because of their sexual orientation.” -Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Washington Post, March 12, 2010

 

Since 2005, millions of concerned people world-wide have joined together each year for a day of action against anti-gay prejudice and discrimination, highlighting personal stories and direct action to bring equal rights to LGBTI persons in every corner of the world.  Now understood to be the “international LGBT solidarity day,” International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) has inspired more than 100 countries to engage their citizens and institutions in intentional conversations around the rights and quality of life issues for sexual minorities within their borders.  As a result, a global movement for civil and human rights for LGBTI people is fomenting unprecedented momentum for change.  But more needs to be done.

 

On May 17th, join others from all over the world in raising your voice in your church, school, and/or community against homophobia and transphobia.  This is our opportunity to bring a message of equal rights and non-discrimination to regions and countries where civil and human rights have been stifled and to build alliances with those who are willing and able to mobilize for action in a comprehensive campaign for equal rights.  Further, all of our actions against homophobia and transphobia forecast to political leaders and social and religious institutions that the demand for civil and human rights for LGBTI people will not be silenced.

 

The Global Justice Institute and MCC’s Public Policy Team join in solidarity with LGBTI persons and allies in observance of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and urge all members of MCC to raise their voices against anti-gay prejudice and discrimination.

 

There are many ways that you can participate:

  • Change your Facebook profile picture to the logo for IDAHO on May 17th
  • Tweet about the event and your local action using the hash tag #may17IDAHO
  • Publicize IDAHO in your church bulletin
  • Organize an event in your church, school, or community.

The resources below can help you make the most of your observance of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia: