Friday, June 25, 2010

Raise a Faithful Voice for LGBT Pride

Rev. Haffner is on the road this week. This guest blog is by Tim Palmer, director of communications and outreach for the Religious Institute.

It's supposed to be hot and humid in New York City on Sunday, but I'll be stepping out with my fellow Episcopalians in the city's 40th annual march for LGBT Pride. The Village Voice has a terrific first-person account of the first march -- in 1970, one year after the Stonewall uprising of June 1969. Since that article isn't online, I'll direct you to Michael Musto's column instead.

Musto asks an important question: For all the progress and visibility LGBT people have achieved in popular culture, why are our civil rights still lagging behind? Here we are in Year Two of the Obama administration, and there's still no
ENDA, no DADT repeal, and no mention of challenge to DOMA.

But -- unlike Years One through Eight of the previous administration -- there is reason for hope. The U.S. House of Representatives has authorized repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell; the Senate Armed Services Committee has followed suit; and now we await action by the full Senate. ENDA -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- has at least gotten a hearing or two on Capitol Hill, and some advocates remain hopeful that the bill will finally pass. (Does
89% public support count for nothing?)

No surprise that the U.S. Catholic bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention are mobilizing to forestall both of these steps toward justice. The Religious Institute offers two ways for progressive people of faith to make their voices heard.

First: If you are a member of the clergy or a religious professional,
read and endorse the Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Sexual and Gender Diversity. The Open Letter makes a faith-based argument for LGBT civil rights and full inclusion in our congregations and denominations. We launched this sign-on campaign earlier in the week in the hope of getting at least 1,000 signature by Monday, June 28th -- the 41st anniversary of Stonewall. We are more than halfway there. Please add your name, and forward the invitation to your friends and colleagues.

Second: We invite all people of faith -- laity and clergy, from all traditions -- to become part of the
Faithful Voices Network. The network is a multifaith, grassroots movement of people of faith who support sexual health, education and justice, including LGBT equality. Take the pledge today!

If it's too hot to join in your local Pride march, do your celebrating online. Help us raise a faithful voice for LGBT justice. And have a happy and blessed Pride.

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