For Immediate Release, Wednesday March 7, 2012
By Affirmation: United Methodists Co-spokesperson Tim Tennant-Jayne
Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns celebrates the recent spate of good news regarding the equality of legalized marriages.
Of particular note, both Houses of the legislature of Washington state have approved marriage equality and Governor Chris Gregoire has signed this measure into law. Affirmation: United Methodists is especially pleased to see that Bishop Grant Hagiya is supportive of this law. The voters in Maine have signed petitions requesting a referendum approving of marriage equality. Both Houses of the New Jersey legislature have approved marriage equality for that state. The Maryland legislature has also voted in favor of marriage equality. A panel of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the infamous Proposition Eight, which outlawed marriage equality in California, is indeed unconstitutional. There are a number of states that have approved Civil Unions for same-gender relationships. These legal relationships are very similar to the more familiar term 'marriage'. Yet, perhaps the most encouraging news is that these changes are happening at such a rapid rate. Each week the legal news is changing, to the point where this statement will undoubtedly have outdated information by the time you read this. It is exciting to see state after state recognize equality.
With this joy filled news there is also evil. Some conservative organizations in Washington State seek ways to deny equality to people. In spite of what both the New Jersey Supreme Court and legislature have said, the current governor has vetoed changes in the marriage laws. The Proposition Eight decision is expected to be appealed to the full court and may be brought before the Supreme Court. There are voices in New Hampshire seeking to take away marriage equality, several years after the legislature established it. Some legislators in both Minnesota and North Carolina are seeking to deny our status as full citizens, through the limitation of the legal definition of marriage.
Affirmation: United Methodists and our members are familiar with both the joys of, and the threats to, our equal legal treatment. We give thanks to God for the working of the Spirit through the state legal systems. We will continue to work and pray for recognition of our equality in all fifty states of the United States, as well as throughout the world. In the Scriptures, we read that when Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph, the religious leaders of the day sought to ignore the celebration and urged Christ’s followers to be quiet. Jesus responds that if the people are silent, "the stones would shout out." We encourage the delegates at the upcoming General Conference to recognize that with the current silence of our church in support of this issue, the stones of the secular legal system have begun shouting out. Our current church laws must change.
As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, Affirmation: United Methodists radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church as we journey with the Spirit in creating God’s beloved community.
Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.
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