October 29, 2012 at 2:37 am #605371
As religious leaders serving faith communities in West Seattle, we write to express our support for Referendum 74. A vote to APPROVE 74 affirms the law passed by the state legislature earlier this year, allowing the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples in Washington State.
We believe in love. Love is the highest and most cherished value we proclaim in our congregations Sunday after Sunday. We believe that the law allowing same-sex couples to marry is consistent with the deepest values of our faith traditions, which command us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to seek justice for all people, and to recognize God’s presence wherever love is found.
As local clergy, we know many gay and lesbian couples who have formed loving, lasting, committed relationships; some are raising children, some are growing old together. You know these people too – they are your neighbors, your children, your nephews, your aunts. You do not have to choose between loving them or loving God; our faith traditions teach us that to love one is to love the other.
These couples have the same longing to have their relationship recognized by the state as their heterosexual friends have. While the law allowing these couples to register as Domestic Partners was a significant step in the right direction, it does not carry the cultural significance and meaning that marriage does. Marriage is a relationship that is widely and universally understood for its legal and spiritual depth. We know, because between us we have signed at least a thousand marriage licenses. A vote to a approve Referendum 74 simply affirms the right for same-sex couples to be get a license and be legally married. At the same time, it clearly protects the long-standing right of clergy and churches to make their own decisions about who they will and will not marry; no congregation or clergy person will be forced to go against their conscience.
But we, whose names are signed below, are led by conscience, conviction, and love to urge you to APPROVE Referendum 74.
Rev. Dr. Joanne Carlson Brown, Tibbetts United Methodist Church
Rev. Carol Callahan, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church
Rev Sally Carlson, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church
Rev. Diane Darling, Alki United Church of Christ
Rev. Erik P. Kindem, Peace Lutheran Church
Rev. David Kratz, Fauntleroy United Church of Christ
Rev. Peg Boyle Morgan, Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Rev. Dr. Mark Newton, Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Rev Gregory William Peters, St John the Baptist Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. Lon A Rycraft, Normandy Park Congregational United Church of Christ
Rev. Dr. Donald Schmidt, Admiral Congregational, United Church of Christ
Rabbi Zari Weiss, Kol HaNeshamah Synagogue
Rev. Paul Winterstein, Calvary Lutheran ChurchOctober 29, 2012 at 2:59 am #775395
Thank you for recognizing the true teachings of Jesus Christ. I am proud to have voted this week for a world in which gay people can smoke marijuana at their weddings.October 29, 2012 at 3:23 am #775396
Good for them.
If only we could learn the lessons of the past that basic civil rights aren’t up for a vote. I suspect that in a couple of decades all of this nonsense will seem as ridiculous and shameful as we currently think the events leading to Loving v. Virginia were.
Now if only we could see a populace as Science minded as a jury from rural Tennessee in the 1925. It absolutely amazes me that we’re still treading water on that one.October 29, 2012 at 3:32 am #775397
“A vote to a approve Referendum 74 simply affirms the right for same-sex couples to be get a license and be legally married. At the same time, it clearly protects the long-standing right of clergy and churches to make their own decisions about who they will and will not marry; no congregation or clergy person will be forced to go against their conscience.”
well said.October 29, 2012 at 3:46 am #775398
thank you for the great laugh!…it is important in justice work to also keep a sense of humor… and now I think I’ll fill out my ballot!
Rev. Peg MorganOctober 29, 2012 at 3:50 am #775399October 29, 2012 at 4:10 am #775400October 29, 2012 at 4:47 pm #775401
I voted for Ref. 74, but it was with the understanding that there might be problems with the part that ostensibly protects the “freedom of conscience” of the clergy. Of course you can put language in the referendum to that effect, but that language will not necessarily control in the event that someone files a discrimination suit against a church. For if something is generally agreed upon by society as a right (the right for gays to marry for example) then how can you stipulate that some people are allowed not to recognize it?
Consider: Could a white church refuse to marry a mixed-race couple without fear of a lawsuit?
—Of course that’s an absurd example, because what sane person would even want to be married by someone who disliked them on account of their race? But let’s look a little deeper, to the question of employment. If R-74 passes, would a fundamentalist church be able to refuse ANY of the other services it provides (employment, housing, rehab, etc.) to a gay couple?
And how will gay couples feel if the law decides that they CAN be turned down for these services on the basis of someone else’s so-called “freedom of conscience”?October 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm #775402
Women can already be turned down by their local pharmacy when they go in to fill a valid prescription…
what makes you think our nation will tolerate that and not the personal choices of our local churches?
Being same sex is not the only reason some church’s will refuse to marry a couple who asks to be married within their church. Individual churches have been refusing to marry couples for a myriad of reasons for as long as there have been churches. Sad, but true.October 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm #775403
Women can already be turned down by their local pharmacy when they go in to fill a valid prescription… what makes you think our nation will tolerate that and not the personal choices of our local churches?
Maybe will will tolerate it, Jo. Probably they will. But is that a good thing, or a bad one?
Is it a good thing or bad one that in some small towns in Washington you can’t get a prescription for birth control filled because the pharmacist knows you’re having sex outside of marriage and well . . . he’s against that sort of thing.
Think about what’s happening to our country here and ask yourself: Is this the direction we want to be going in?October 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm #775404
The separation of church and state is what protects churches that choose not to engage in activities they consider against their faith
When the separation intended for churches was used to protect individuals and/or businesses that choose not to engage in activities they consider against their faith,
that protection crossed the line into legal discrimination.
I think it’s wrong. I oppose it wholeheartedly.
That is one of the reasons i think that we need to elect a President who won’t appoint more judges that believe one person’s faith should determine the limits of another person’s opportunities.
but, i do agree that when it comes to matters of faith.. and the religious celebration of a marriage in a church is a matter of religious faith… the precepts of that faith should determine who does and does not participate.
The great news is that for every church that discriminates…
there are several that don’t.
And I am happy to be able to say that Christians are speaking out about the love that their faith is based upon and that the trend away from discrimination is improving.October 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm #775405
Consider: Could a white church refuse to marry a mixed-race couple without fear of a lawsuit?
Yes, they could. Much worse, they actually do:October 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm #775406
Right now, I cannot get married (to a man) in the Catholic Church, because I am not Catholic. Religions have been discriminating like this forever, and it has not caused any problems. I look at gay marriage the same way, and I would imagine it will be held up by the courts in the same way. Also, look at the Boy Scouts, they have been allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation in hiring, etc. for a long time, based on freedom of speech, I believe.
For our family, this is about being treated equally. We just want the same responsibilities and protections of civil marriage that everyone else has – nothing to do with religion. Many of these things are federal, and until a majority of states pass marriage for us, we will not have them (social security survivor rights, taxes as married, hospital visitation rights no matter what state we are in).
Thanks again Peg for supporting our families. We are so grateful.October 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm #775407
have you ever wondered how churches got the franchise on weddings anyway?
If the church ceremony blessing a wedding was only a blessing and not a legal ceremony.. it is far more likely that those ceremonies would be celebrated quietly within the confines of the church of your choice… where what that church believed would not be so likely to conflict with your choice of mate.October 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm #775408
Marriage traditions hark back to a time when the Church controlled everything people did. Fortunately, we’ve moved beyond that as a society, but there are still people for whom religion infuses every aspect of their lives.
Wouldn’t wanna be them, but I’m sure they wouldn’t wanna be me either.
Anyway, per posts #12-13, I guess a church cannot be sued for discrimination in the practice of its religious rituals. That’s probably a good thing, because otherwise Catholics would be suing Protestants, Muslims would be suing Jews, and atheists would be suing everyone.
The Boy Scouts are a somewhat different case. They were taken to court for sexual orientation discrimination, and I believe the plaintiff’s argument was that since the Boy Scouts received taxpayer money, they couldn’t discriminate. The Salvation Army has been sued on the same grounds. In that case, I think the plaintiff was a gay person who’d been turned down for a job. The argument there too was that the Salvation Army couldn’t discriminate since they were getting government money. As I recall, the Salvation Army prevailed.
I’ve heard some conservative Christians say that they don’t mind people “redefining marriage” for themselves, as long as they don’t try to redefine it for others.
So you might say: Hey, conservative Christians can still believe whatever they want about marriage if R-74 passes. No problem.
–OK, but suppose the Smith family teaches their children that gay marriage is wrong and it comes up in class somehow, say at a parent-child function.
(“My daddy says homosexuality is a sin and YOUR daddies are going to hell.”)
Is that protected under “freedom of conscience” or could little Timmy get expelled from school for that remark?
Again, I know this is an extreme example, but honestly, this is the kind of stuff these Christians worry about. Rightly or wrongly, they feel that they’re being persecuted for their beliefs.October 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm #775409
“My daddy says homosexuality is a sin and YOUR daddies are going to hell.”
Children say MUCH worse than that to each other every day. They always have and they always will. It can’t be discussed, worried, or legislated away.October 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm #775410
Ugh! Typo (you’re / your)
Bad DBP! Bad!
Now that I’ve been quoted, I must live with it . . .October 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm #775411October 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm #775412
No one can call themselves a proponent of individual rights, while simultaneously opposing marriage equality.October 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm #775413
Yes you can marry a Catholic without being a Catholic. Been there, done that. The local diocese may require you to attend a couple of hours of pre-marital counseling. Marriage is a church sacrament. Why even put marriage, in the realm of the state? The state is now declaring it recognizes issues of religious import? The marriage license for same sex and opposite sex marriage should be a civil contract between consenting adults. If they choose to have it “blessed” in a church, not a big deal. Find a church or clergy that will “bless” it. Domestic partnership should be extended to all couples, and marriage striken from the state language. The state’s only compelling interest is property and support of minor children. Eliminate the marriage tax penalty. Two adults at a given income level both pay the same taxes, regardless of marital status. That would be the even handed approach.
DBP.. sorta.. the church and marriage became “law” more or less at the Council of Trent (16th century?) … as a church sacrament. The Roman empire, and our western tradition, were derived from the collapse of the marriage regulation from a no longer existing state. The ” church ” is a late entry to the marriage thing. It was the last institution standing.October 30, 2012 at 1:23 am #775414October 30, 2012 at 1:53 am #775415
” The state’s only compelling interest is property and support of minor children. Eliminate the marriage tax penalty. Two adults at a given income level both pay the same taxes, regardless of marital status. That would be the even handed approach.”
All of that is well and good, and I actually agree with getting government completely out of marriage.
That said, the part that I quoted and the other stuff you mentioned contain absolutely no reason to oppose R-74. In fact, I’d offer that R-74 represents a nice first step towards eventual marriage privatization.October 30, 2012 at 2:48 am #775416
I am not sure yet if I want to oppose it. I probably will. Seems to me it goes in the other direction. I can’t see the purpose of it. Domestic partnership is law now. What’s to gain? What “right ” is gained, other than symbology? It’s another good issue for the state to get out of. Not something to expand on. See why I don’t vote early? Weighty issues to research. I want to see what rights are being denied.. before I weigh in, specifically in WAs state.October 30, 2012 at 3:17 am #775417
Kootch, please consider voting yes on 74 for my family. There are many things we don’t have access to as domestic partners. Many of these things are federal not state based. And it is my belief that these won’t change on a federal level until a majority of states have marriage, not domestic partnerships or civil unions.
My partner is about to have major surgery in another state. When we were meeting with the team, we had to ask about out DP status and whether it would be legally honored. They kept saying, “but are you married?” It may seem like just a word but actually makes a big difference. Luckily this is a state that honors other states laws for gays. However if we were in Arkansas, I could and would be denied access to Marisa if she were on her death bed as I would not be next of kin.
It us very hard to share this here, to have such essential freedoms up for debate in politics and hence, the forums.
We are also not allowed social security survivor rights so if she dies during her surgery, I will not receive any of her benefits. Because we cannot file taxes as married (even under DP laws) we are penalized in this way. There are also a host of tax issues for us that heap financial penaties on our family, the last thing middle class families like ours need right now.
We don’t want to be special or different, just equal to all other civil marriages. And until each state has marriage, I don’t believe we will be equal federally under the same laws.
Please understand how hard this is for our families. I do respect you if you disagree, I just ask that you do do kindly and try to understand your civil rights being up for a vote.October 30, 2012 at 4:05 am #775418
I can’t see the purpose of it.
If it makes so little difference to you, why not vote for it?
I’d agree with you on the domestic partnership thing if domestic partnerships were actually being legally honored in this state and elsewhere the way they should be. They’re not. I have a friend who was denied disability benefits because he wasn’t using them to pay his primary caregiver—who happened to be his domestic partner. If they’d been married, the issue never would have been raised. And that happened right here in Washington.
As to what rights are gained, well, these for starters.
Kootch, what you have doesn’t strike me so much as an argument as a vague sense of personal discomfort. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to rely on something more rational when choosing how to vote. Voting against R-74 won’t do a damn thing to get the state out of the marriage business, which you claim is your goal.
All it will do is maintain a status quo that demonstrably does real harm to people.
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