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.
Contacts: Jason O’Neill, MCC Communications,
Pastor Joseph Tolton, TFAM Communications646-765-6960
“Fairness Wins!” say Pro-LGBT Denominational Leaders
“The re-election of President Obama means fairness is still a core American value”
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, oversees ministries in over 40 countries. Dr. Wilson was in the first LGBT delegation to meet with a sitting president in 1979 and is now on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Bishop Yvette Flunder is the presiding bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational fellowship of 110 primarily African American Christian leaders from all parts of the United States Mexico and Africa.
Heads of the historicMetropolitanCommunityChurchesand The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries celebrate today and claimed a victory for a fair society in the re-election of Barack Obama, the election of Tammy Baldwin—the first openly lesbian Senator—along with the first ever wins on ALL four marriage equality ballot measures at the state level.
“Justice Prevails! For the poor, for women, for students, for people of color, for Same-Gender-Loving people, for our elderly, and for those who love peace and fairness, this is a great day! May God’s power and protection keep President Obama and his family,” said Bishop Yvette Flunder, head of a nationwide network of primarily African American churches that receive members regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The re-election of President Barack Obama means that fairness is still a core American value. Americaunderstands that Obama stands for every American rather than the few at the top of the economic heap,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of the historic Metropolitan Community Churches with ministries in 40 countries. “We celebrate that ObamaCare, Social Security, Medicare, and education will continue to serve the people. Today, fairness wins!
“Fair-minded Americans took stock of comments about rape, 47% ‘entitled victims,’ tax cuts for the rich, vouchers for Medicare and we sent a message; show some respect for the people who are the backbone of this country!” said Dr. Wilson.
“Black Americans stood up and supported President Obama despite massive efforts to block our votes and get us to stay home. But African Americans know that Fannie Lou Hamer was beaten to within an inch of her life just for registering to vote. We do not forget! Our votes came through a civil war and civil rights marches. No one is gonna turn us around!” said Bishop Flunder.
“Voters of all races and classes supported President Obama knowing that he eliminated Don’t Ask—Don’t Tell so gay and lesbian soldiers can now serve openly.” said Dr. Wilson. “Obama signed the hate crimes law, he advocated to eliminate persecution internationally, he spoke out against bullying, and he gave his personal support to marriage equality. The next four years is another opportunity to show respect for all Americans, regardless of our race, economic standing, whom we love or how we express our gender.”
“The election of Tammy Baldwin as the first openly lesbian Senator and the most support ever for marriage equality in Maryland, Minnesota, Maine and Washington makes it clear that the tide is turning for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans and our families,” said Bishop Flunder. “We have more work to do! We will work in our communities and with national leaders to overturn DOMA and to protect human dignity around the world. Even while theUnited Statesstrides toward freedom, countries throughout the world are faced with a rising tide of Christian fundamentalist influences from theUnited Statesto create waves of discrimination and violence toward sexual minorities.”
“LGBT people know what it is to be targeted. We will never settle for just gaining and protecting our own rights,” said Dr. Wilson. “Everyone’s rights depend on protecting those who are most vulnerable. The words of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ring true today, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ The people won again with the election of President Barack Obama, but the work continues. We stand with LGBT people and suffering people in theUnited States and around the world. We work for a day when respect is the rule and discrimination is no more!”
Natural disasters can bring out people’s best. As Hurricane Sandy roared across the Northeast, people joined together to pile sandbags; they reached out to neighbors who needed a dry place; they risked life and limb to save strangers from a watery grave. Would that all neighbors be treated with such respect in political storms as well.
As the political storm season comes to a climax, there are unnatural disasters that speak of the human capacity to harm each other.