July 28, 2009

People of Faith DO Support Equality

Pam Spaulding over at the outstanding blog "Pam's House Blend" took great pleasure in acknowleding the support of many faith leaders in the state of Washington who took a stand against the proposed repeal of the state's recently enacted domestic partnership law:

I've opined many a time that the religious allies of the transgender, bisexual, lesbian and gay community are too silent, too reticent. Well, our faith community allies in Washington state are making me eat my words, and I can tell you that the taste is so very sweet.

Here's the statement that Pam is responding to:

The undersigned religious leaders, from across Washington State, have come together to speak with one voice for all Washington families.

Religious leaders before us have spoken to end slavery, and to ensure equal rights to all persons regardless of gender, nationality, religion, and race. Today, we feel compelled to speak out in support of Washington's domestic partnership law which provides essential protections to families throughout the state.

As people of faith, we oppose any effort to take away the rights and protections provided to families through our state's domestic partnership law.

As providers of pastoral care to families, we know that gay and lesbian couples form loving, lasting, committed relationships, raise children and grow old together. These couples and their children have the same needs and deserve the same rights as their heterosexual peers. We also know that the domestic partnership law provides important protections to non-gay couples where one partner is at least 62 years of age.

As faith leaders, we care about all Washington families. We have seen first-hand the burdens on a family facing death or illness without important legal and financial protections, from access to healthcare, to the right to visit a partner in the hospital, to the right to make medical decisions for one's own children. We have felt the worry that exists when a parent who is a firefighter or police officer goes off to work each morning knowing that if something happens to her, there won't be support for her family.

The domestic partnership law is about the relationship between the State and families. Clergy and faith communities will remain free, just as they always have been, and always will be, to determine for themselves their own religious matters.

We join as the signers of this statement, as a principled expression of our deeply held religious convictions. We stand in support of all of Washington's families.

I'm very happy to point out that one of the signers of this was Rev. Debbie George, pastor of Living Water Fellowship in Kenmore, WA and a good friend of ours. The lengthy list was a mix of straight and GLBT ministers, which is really the point here--people of faith regardless of their orientation standing up for the equality of ALL God's children.

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