Today, along with fair-minded people of faith around the world, Metropolitan Community Churches celebrate Marriage Equality in the state of Idaho, USA. Every picture and video we see and every story we hear of committed same-sex couples and allies celebrating, fills our hearts with joy and gratitude.
On Tuesday evening, May 13, 2014, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale issued a ruling that struck down Idaho’s 2006 constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. Her ruling will take effect on Friday, May 16, 2014, at 9:00 AM. Although Idaho Governor Butch Otter has requested a stay of the order and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden plans to do the same today, no court action on those requests has occurred.
Marriage Equality is important to Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). The Rev. Elder Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, performed the first same-sex wedding ever in the United States in 1968, according to Time Magazine. Rev. Perry continued his marriage equality work throughout his ministry as Founder and Moderator of MCC. “MCC’s commitment to the work for Marriage Equality continues today, not only in the United States, but all over the world. We will not rest until full Marriage Equality is established,” says The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director for Marriage Equality and Relational Issues for the Global Justice Institute.
Marriage Equality is becoming the law of the land in many places. “We look forward to its full implementation in Idaho, all over the United States and around the world.” said MCC Moderator The Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, “When it comes to Marriage Equality, justice is raining down like water.”
Once again, hearty congratulations and blessings to the people of Idaho.
Prepared by The Moderator’s Public Policy Team and the Global Justice Institute
The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director
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
Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt
Global leaders of the historic Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) praised the decisions of the Supreme Court today as it ruled on California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“Freedom and equality won today as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the US Constitution and every family,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “Children in California now know their families will be treated equally. Today, every American is free to live in the assurance that their loved ones will receive all benefits the US gives to any other family. As the head of MCC, a global church founded on the belief that all people are created equal before God and the law, I am thrilled that the Supreme Court decided that the US Constitution applies to all of us, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“We are committed to full equality for all people, and we will work for the full implementation of today’s Supreme Court rulings and for marriage equality around the world,” said Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Marriage Equality Director for MCC’s Public Policy Team.
Metropolitan Community Church’s history of marriage equality began in 1968 when the Rev. Troy Perry, founder of MCC, conducted the first, public same-gender wedding ceremony in the US. In 1970, Rev. Perry brought a lawsuit for marriage equality in California. MCC worked for decades, sponsoring weddings at Pride marches, protesting on Valentine’s Day in Justices of the Peace offices, and performing thousands of Holy Unions in their churches.
MCC will celebrate these decisions and move forward at its 25th General Conference in Chicago, Illinois, July 1-5, 2013. After 45 years of ministry and advocacy, the church continues to be on the cutting edge of ministry around the world. Known as “The Human Rights Church” in many countries, MCC will host U.S. Ambassador Daniel Baer and present the MCC human rights award to Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda, where he has fought the infamous “kill the gays” bill. MCC leaders will also celebrate the founding of their “Global Justice Institute,” in partnership with The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. The Global Justice Institute is working with leaders in Asia, Africa and Latin America for equality for sexual minorities and all people who deserve justice.
(Click on the image below to read about MCC’s history of involvement with Marriage Equality)
Opening arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Prop 8 and DOMA were about to begin. MCC faith leaders arrived at the crack of dawn on Tuesday, 27 March 2013, dressed in red, inspired by HRC’s red equal sign, to join the prayer and praise from almost every major faith tradition.
More than three hundred of the faithful barely slept the night before so they could show up for the 7:30 a.m. sunrise witness for equality. All eyes were on the Rev. Candy Holmes as she led the choir in powerful songs, which awakened every soul. Rev. Holmes was vital to the success of the service in her role as co-planner.
Rev. Elder Darlene Garner and many other dignitaries from Metropolitan Community Churches graced the pulpit with their presence and words. Speakers, singers, and dancers — from Buddhist, Native American, Muslim, Christian and other traditions — expressed respect and spiritual depth in both words and action.
Take the time to click through the links below for the collections of photos from Kareem Murphy of the MCC Governing Board and Public Policy Team. Click through quickly in each collection and you will feel the action, the motion, and the emotion of the worship service and two days of demonstrations where MCC made its presence known.
The PBS News Hour covered the voices of faith present on the steps of the Supreme Court, representing both progressives and voices of exclusion. The Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, UCC head of the office for LGBT ministries and a key organizer for faith voices, urged SCOTUS to decide for our rights. Bishop Yvette Flunder, presiding bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM), inspired the thousands gathered for equality with the historic freedom song, Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.
Day 1 of demonstrations at the Supreme Court: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/114951740149313587032/albums/5859684625775738145
Day 2 of demonstrations at the Supreme Court: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/114951740149313587032/albums/5860057207576347441
Some of the MCC leaders present were:
Rev. Candy Holmes, Co-coordinator of the Interfaith Service and Choir Director
Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Speaker
Rev. David North, Soloist
Rev. Cathy Alexander, Choir
Rev. Y’Lon Dozier, Choir
Bishop Yvette Flunder, Soloist and Speaker at the Rally
Rev. Dwayne Johnson, Participant in the Opening Ritual
Shannon Young, Assistant to Rev. Elder Garner and Rev. Holmes
Rev. Harry Knox
Rev. Cindi Love
Rev. DeWayne Davis
Rev. Onetta Brooks
Rev. Robin Gorsline
From the Office of the Moderator’s Public Policy Team
Metropolitan Community Churches
For Immediate Release: 27 March 2013
HISTORIC SUPREME COURT HEARINGS
ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY
IN THE UNITED STATES
History was made on March 26th and 27th as the Supreme Court of the United States held its first hearings on Marriage Equality. Metropolitan Community Church clergy, congregations and leadership were there providing a meaningful witness in support of Equality and Justice for all people. The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches worldwide said, “I am so proud of MCC’s witness at the Supreme Court, with so many others! I am proud of our Public Policy Team and all our churches, pastors, and members who participated in so many rallies and prayer vigils both in our nation’s capital and around the country! We will win this fight.”
On Tuesday, March 26, 2013, the Court heard arguments both for and against California’s controversial Proposition 8, which stripped away marriage rights for same gender couples in that state. Justice Sonia Sotomayor challenged those who sought to deny same gender couples marriage rights on the basis of procreation with the question, “Suppose a state said that because we think that the focus of marriage really should be on procreation, we are not going to give marriage licenses anymore to any couple where both people are over the age of 55. Would that be constitutional?” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg picked up on the theme, asking whether someone serving a life sentence in prison should be prevented from marrying because there is no possibility of them becoming a parent. Another part of the hearing focused on whether the four private individuals seeking to uphold Proposition 8 – originally five before one pulled out – had the authority to bring the case to the Supreme Court after the California state government decided not to defend the measure.
“What I heard today made me optimistic that we soon will see further progress. The questioning strongly suggested that the justices either will rule that the proponents of Prop 8 did not have the right to appeal the trial court’s ruling that the initiative is unconstitutional – which should again permit same-sex couples to marry in California – or will outright find Proposition 8 unconstitutional. While it is always hard to know for sure, there did not seem to be five votes to uphold the measure,” wrote Jon W. Davidson, Legal Director for Lambda Legal.
Wednesday’s hearing focused on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which deprives same gender couples of more than 1,100 federal rights that come with legal marriage. At the close of the hearing, most analysts agreed that the court appeared ready to strike down DOMA. Under the law, federal tax, Social Security, pension and bankruptcy benefits, along with family medical leave protections and other provisions do not apply to gay and lesbian couples legally married in states that recognize such unions. A decision is expected within the next three months.
“The founding principle of MCC ~ that we are all who we are by the grace and design of God ~ has become the rallying cry for people across the land seeking marriage equality and, perhaps equally important, seeing the connection between marriage equality and every other movement for equal access and equal treatment under the law. The victory of this moment is that a wide spectrum of humanity came together to stand for our common human dignity and rights. That victory will lead ultimately to the justice marriage equality represents,” said The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair of MCC’s Public Policy Team.
“Regardless of the outcome, what we have witnessed during these two days cannot be put back into a closet or a box. Love wins today and every day,” said Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Marriage Equality Director for MCC’s Public Policy Team. “We will continue to be vigilant in the days pending the high court’s decision, and we will not lose an opportunity to move this fight for equality forward at every level with every opportunity we have.”
“MCC started this battle over 40 years ago,” concluded The Rev. Elder Wilson. “We offered the first public weddings for same gender loving couples in the United States and our Founder filed the first lawst seeking legal recognition of our relationships. We have demonstrated on courthouse steps and marched through the streets, celebrated our victories and mourned our losses and kept moving forward. No one knows what the outcome of the Supreme Court hearings will be, but this I trust: Justice will prevail! And whether it’s today or next June or many Junes from now, we will win the right to Marriage Equality for the sake of God’s people everywhere.”
This statement prepared in conjunction with the Public Policy Team of Metropolitan Community Churches,
The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair, and The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Public Policy Team Member
and Director of Marriage and Relational Equality Issues.
Contact: The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Public Policy Team Director for Marriage Equality
[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
Lift Your Voice for Marriage Equality
United for Marriage Rally
March 26, 2013
On March 26-27, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider landmark cases that will determine if LGBT Americans will enjoy the freedom and equality under the law that is every American’s birthright. These deliberations are coming amid a dramatic change in public opinion about marriage equality for LGBT people with more than half of Americans favoring marriage rights for same-sex couples according to a December poll by Gallup. The United States of America is ready for marriage equality.
As the nation’s highest court begins its deliberations of these cases, Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute are joining LGBT and allied organizations, faith and grassroots leaders, and social justice and religious associations from across the country in rallying at the steps of the Supreme Court to tell our stories and make our voices heard about the fundamental right and freedom to marry.
Please join us for this historical moment by helping us demonstrate our strong support for marriage equality for all Americans, whether in Washington, DC or in your own community. In addition to the rally at the U.S. Supreme Court, more than 100 local leaders and organizations are organizing rallies, vigils, observances, and prayer services in their local areas to highlight their support for marriage equality for LGBT people.
Can we count you in? There are three ways you can get involved:
Come rally with us outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on March 26th and 27th: http://bit.ly/UnitedForMarriageRally
Join or organize a community event in your area: http://bit.ly/UnitedForMarriageLocalEvents
Tweet from your event using #united4marriage
Whether you attend the rally in Washington, DC or in your local area, wear red to show your support for freedom and equality.
Every action and every event we organize in support of marriage equality will bring us a step closer in making freedom and equality a reality for all people. Several MCC’s have already committed to lifting their voices on behalf of marriage equality within their own communities:
*MCC Hartford, Hartford, CT
*MCC New Haven, New Haven, CT
*Sunshine Cathedral, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
*Trinity MCC, Gainesville, FL
If your congregation is planning an event in observance of the marriage equality court hearings, please let us know at .
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — After Election Day, when Maryland, Maine and Washington became the first three states to approve same-sex marriage at the ballot box, advocates of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples are eyeing Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island and New Jersey as the next battlegrounds on the matter.
Read full article at the Washington Blade
Post-Election Panel Discussion
The Next Chapter in LGBT Justice:
A Faith Perspective
Thursday, November 15, 2012, 7pm
U.S. Capitol Visitors Center
The panel will examine the 2012 Elections for lessons learned about the future of LGBT justice and opportunities to collaborate with faith leaders and to integrate faith groups. The panel seeks to offer a more viable alternative to the familiar media frame that has conservative religious denominations and organizations on one side and the secular gay rights activists and organizations on the other side. “Gays vs God.” That frame assumes that there are no progressive people of faith committed to the full equality and inclusion of LGBTQ people or that LGBT rights groups place no value on communities of faith. Progressive people of faith, who have been active in the push for human rights for LGBT people, bring a wealth of experience to the cause of justice and an affirming religious message of radical inclusion and beloved community. A more robust partnership between these progressive religious voices and the LGBT rights community can serve as a powerful rejection of the “gays vs. God” frame and broaden the dialogue about civil rights for LGBT people beyond the current assumption that all religious voices are anti-gay. We hope for a lively discussion that, though rooted in the work that led up to Tuesday’s election, will serve as guidepost for the future.
Opening Remarks by The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton (Delegate-Washington, DC)
Rev. Cedric Harmon (Co-Director, Many Voices)
Bishop Yvette Flunder (Fellowship of Affirming Ministries)
Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson (Metropolitan Community Churches)
David Stacy (Deputy Legislative Director, Human Rights Campaign)
Sarah Dreier (International Affairs Director, Episcopal Church USA and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)
Rev. Dennis Wiley (Co-Pastor, Covenant Baptist UCC Church)
Sharon Lettman Hicks (Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition)
Rachel Laser (Deputy Director, Religious Action Center for Reformed Judaism)
Please do come and join us, invite a friend, and forward to your networks. This important conversation should be witnessed by all.