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.
“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:
The resources below can help you make the most of your observance of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia:
Today at 10 AM EDT, C-SPAN will broadcast an important briefing on the situation at Guantanamo and how the President can move forward with closing the prison there. We encourage you to watch it. The briefing is hosted by Rep. Jim Moran and is sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, The Constitution Project, and the New America Foundation.
The situation at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center continues to deteriorate. Eleven years after it first opened, and more than 4 years after President Obama mandated its closure, there are still 166 men being held at Guantanamo – 86 of whom have already been cleared for transfer or release. At the moment 100 of the detainees, responding to a growing sense of hopelessness and despair over their continued detention, in most cases without charge or trial, are engaged in a prolonged hunger strike.
Last week, 38 religious leaders sent a letter to President Obama and to Congress calling for the closing of the detention center. Please add your name to theirs by also signing the letter. The letter states, “As people of faith, we oppose torture and indefinite detention without trial because they are contrary to the inherent dignity of the human person. As the nation’s most visible and painful symbol of torture and indefinite detention, Guantanamo Bay is a constant reminder of a deep moral wound that will heal only when it is permanently closed.”
Help us build support for closing Guantanamo within your community. Here are two ways you can get involved:
Join in the 100th Day Weekend of Action
May 17th will mark the 100th day of the hunger strike. We invite you and your congregation to mark this day with a “100th Day Weekend of Action.” Please find a time during the weekend of May 17-19 to include mention of Guantanamo in your worship service or prayers. We also invite you to hold a prayer vigil, fast in solidarity, or organize educational and advocacy activities in your congregation. To assist you we have prepared a Guantanamo Fact Sheet, Sermon Talking Points and a Bulletin Insert with an Interfaith Prayer. Go to www.nrcat/closegitmo for more information.
Add your name to the religious leaders letter
You can add your voice to the growing chorus demanding that Guantanamo be closed by signing the religious leaders’ letter. Also, please download a petition version of the letter and circulate it in your congregation, campus or community.
If we can help you or you wish to let us know of your plans, please contact Paz Artaza-Regan .
Thank you for lifting up the importance of closing Guantanamo.
Linda Gustitus, President
Rev. Richard Killmer, Executive Director
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The R.I. House of Representatives Thursday approved matching same-sex marriage bills after their unanimous approval by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday night. Governor Chafee signed them into law shortly afterward.
Take a look back at a timeline of events in gay and lesbian history, here and Rhode Island and across the country:
In Case Watch reports, lawyers at the Open Society Justice Initiative provide analysis of notable court decisions and cases that relate to their work to advance human rights law around the world. Read more
from U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
The pages that follow document the often difficult march forward of human freedom around the world. Significant progress is being made in some places, but in far too many others governments fall short of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ vision of a world where people live “free and equal in dignity and rights.”
A week after the European Union called for proposals from organisations in Zambia working on human rights, including the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals, the Minister of Home Affairs, Edgar Lungu, stated in an interview that the EU was promoting same-sex marriages in Zambia – sparking a storm of homophobic bigotry and hate-speech.
Read full article http://www.osisa.org/lgbti/blog/sowing-poisonous-seeds-zambia
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, which has ministries in over 40 countries. Dr. Wilson was part of the first religious LGBT delegation to meet with a U.S. sitting president in 1979. She is currently a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The White House announced a forum to review progress on the fight against human trafficking, a cause to which President Barack Obama proclaimed his commitment in his groundbreaking speech in September of 2012. One partner group is the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which released a report called, “Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern-day Slavery” on 10 April 2013. (Full Report)
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) and member of the Council, said, “Today, we stand against the sexual or economic enslavement of any human being. We are abolitionists from all religions because we share the belief that each human being is a creation of God.”
The report states:
There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 21 million in bondage across the globe. … Victims of modern-day slavery include U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, children and adults, who are trapped in forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation, with little hope of escape.
Trafficking in persons is estimated to be one of the top-grossing criminal industries in the world, with traffickers profiting an estimated $32 billion every year. The extraordinary reach of this crime is shocking—with cases reported in virtually every country in the world…
“With over 77% of victims being persons of color and the targeting of homeless youth, 40% of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, our mandate is clear,” said Dr. Wilson. “Prejudice makes people vulnerable to hate, to violence and to being enslaved so we must challenge prejudice wherever it is.”
The report made 10 recommendations ranging from scaling up the fight against slavery throughout the world, minimizing purchase of slave-produced goods, anti-trafficking work by government agencies, ad campaign, hotline, national summit, call to action and “tool kit” for religious groups on what to do.
“All MCC congregations and faith leaders understand that it is our stories that change hearts and minds. We are walking a path toward freedom and must bring others with us. When anyone is enslaved, we are all enslaved,” said Dr. Wilson. “When a child or worker cannot tell their story, we must tell it for them and work for their freedom.”
The report highlighted the stories of:
Pope Francis! Pope Francisco! When I heard his name, I thought, “What an auspicious beginning!” His name alludes to St. Francis Xavier, founding Jesuit scholar, but it is St. Francis of Assisi, renowned for service to the poor and his love for all God’s creatures, that Pope Francis is claiming. We pray that ministry to and with the poor become the hallmark of his legacy.
Read the full article on the Huffington Post
[Rev. Victor Bracuto is MCC’s Coordinator for South America and the Dean for Students in the Garner Institute.]
Argentina’s leading LGBT rights advocate on Wednesday criticized Pope Francis’ strong opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Esteban Paulón, president of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Federation (FALGBT,) noted during an interview with the Washington Blade hours after the College of Cardinals elected Francis that he was among the most vocal critics of a same-sex marriage bill that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner signed in 2010. The new pontiff, who was the-then archbishop of Buenos Aires, described the measure in a letter he wrote to four Argentine monasteries before the country’s Senate approved it as a “machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
read full article at the Washington Blade