Marriage-equality film, forum planned @ St. John’s in West Seattle

The trailer is for its PBS premiere this fall … but you can see the award-winning film “Love Free or Die” in West Seattle next week. St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church plans a screening, followed by a community forum on marriage equality, at 6:30 pm Thursday, August 9th. Read on for the invitation:

You are invited to St. John’s in West Seattle for a screening of the film Love Free or Die, followed by a community forum around the questions and issues related to Marriage Equality, which will be put to an historic vote here in Washington State in November.

Awarded the 2012 Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Love Free or Die is about a man whose two defining passions – his love for God and for his partner Mark – the world cannot reconcile. Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson will not give up on either. Robinson is the first openly gay person ordained as a bishop in the historic traditions of Christendom. His consecration in 2003, to which he wore a bullet-proof vest, caused an international stir, and he has lived with death threats every day since. Love Free or Die follows Robinson’s personal story and will help us, as people of faith, explore the questions of identity, belovedness, and American freedoms.

Our conversation following the film will be facilitated by Aubrey Thonvold, the Faith Outreach Specialist at Pride Foundation. Her work focuses on education and outreach in faith communities on marriage equality — helping communities express why marriage matters to them by engaging in intentional and loving dialogues and forums. Born in Minnesota, Aubrey has lived in Washington State for 12 years. Raised in the Lutheran tradition, she holds a Master’s Degree in Transforming Spirituality from School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University and has worked in ministry settings professionally for ten years.

For more information about the film, please visit For other questions, please contact St. John’s church office at 206-937-4545, or visit our website at

For those who are wondering – the Episcopal Church’s policies continue to evolve, with an official liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions approved earlier this month.

29 Replies to "Marriage-equality film, forum planned @ St. John's in West Seattle"

  • Sue July 30, 2012 (11:11 pm)

    And for those further interested in the topic, West Seattle Unitarian Universalist Congregation is having a service this Sunday re: marriage equality.
    August 5, 10:30 a.m. “ Why Marriage Equality Matters to Me”
    We can diffuse the fear and concern in some people’s minds about extending marriage rights to same-sex couples through telling our personal stories about why marriage equality matters to each of us. Life stories help people connect, identify and empathize with one another. In this service, straight, lesbian, and gay congregational members will share stories that can spark us to action in support of marriage equality in our state.

    • WSB July 30, 2012 (11:36 pm)

      Thanks, Sue. We received an announcement from St. John’s but hadn’t heard from WSUU about that service. – TR

  • G July 31, 2012 (12:43 am)

    Regardless of one’s views on gay marriage, I think should acknowledge that it raises complex questions. And in fairness, we should also acknowledge that objections to gay marriage – or uncertainty – are not all grounded in fear, nor prejudicial attitudes.

  • garden_nymph July 31, 2012 (1:04 am)

    What are the objections “grounded in” then? How is it OK for some to be allowed and not others? Love is the same, gender shouldn’t matter! For those of you who like to “quote” the Bible, please tell me EXACTLY what passage mentions Steve!

  • G July 31, 2012 (7:37 am)


    When did I quote the Bible? When did I even mention the Bible? (Steve…?) You’re jumping to conclusions and making assumptions that are not warranted, and assuming that there aren’t non-religious arguments. I’m acknowledging that society for a long, long time has seen marriage as a union between male and female, it’s embedded in our culture. Diminishing the significance of changing that definition (and NO I’m not saying the world is ending if gays marry) is very simplistic and I would argue, disengenous, thinking.

    But I generally avoid threads on this subject because most are incapable of having a nuanced conversation about the subject without resorting to ad hominen accusations.

  • Sue July 31, 2012 (8:16 am)

    G, you’ll note that it says “… fear and concern in SOME people’s minds …” and is not presuming that this is where ALL people are functioning from. I did not have a hand in planning this service, so I can’t tell you where they’re going with it. But should be interesting nonetheless.

  • Marley July 31, 2012 (8:40 am)

    As somebody who’s getting gay-married in 39 days, now is a great opportunity to remind my fellow West Seattlites about the upcoming vote on Referendum 74 and what your vote means.

    To uphold what our legislators did in February and support the rights of gays and lesbians to get married, you must APPROVE Referendum 74 in November.

    Washington United for Marriage has lots of great information on their website about ways to get involved with the campaign ( but I implore you to please do the research for yourself. We’re your neighbors, your friends, your family members- all we want is the same rights as the everybody else and to have the same fabulous weddings.

  • G July 31, 2012 (10:06 am)

    Thanks, Sue, for the clarification.

  • WS commuter July 31, 2012 (10:12 am)

    G – I have yet to hear a legitimate objection to same sex marriage that ISN’T based in fear, bigotry or prejudice.

    I’m not saying there isn’t such an objection out there – I’m just waiting to hear what it is.

    Perhaps you can educate me.

  • dbwsea July 31, 2012 (10:34 am)

    It’s certainly people’s right to have objections to anything. But to act on those objections is another matter entirely.

  • datamuse July 31, 2012 (10:46 am)

    Thanks, Marley! I’m voting to APPROVE Referendum 74 and looking forward to attending the wedding of two dear friends soon after!

  • sam-c July 31, 2012 (12:07 pm)

    there was a lot of press when Jeff Bezos donated to $ 2.5 million. and some (? all?) of the money was used to fund TV ads during the Olympics opening ceremony. I’ve seen the ad a couple times and WHY (?!????!) doesn’t it tell you that a YES vote supports marriage equality.

    I (and others maybe) are confused on what a YES or NO vote would mean. based on the the groups pushing to get the referendum on the ballot, my initial thought would be to vote AGAINST their referendum…….not “YES”

  • B July 31, 2012 (2:51 pm)

    I agree wiht G. There are other reasons aside from fear and prejustice (what does this concept really mean anyway) to disagree with the act of homosexuality. In the end I contend that it boils down to preference of morality. We all have our own form of morality that comes through our own convictions brought about by our worldveiw. Does one form of morality outweigh another? Who decides? is morality inate or cultured? is there an absolute morality that comes from a divine source? I think that these questions need to be seriously examined for our culture to progress in one way or another.

  • Neighbor July 31, 2012 (4:28 pm)

    @B & G- This is exactly the issue. It is Not about morality. It is about equality which is a founding principal of this country. It is about not discriminating against one group of citizens because of one’s own views. it is about standing up and being accountable as an American citizen who understands the foundations of our country. It’s about putting your belief in our Constitution before your fears, religious beliefs and prejudices. We really need to start teaching civics again for the sake of the Union.

  • B July 31, 2012 (4:51 pm)

    Neighbor – Concept of equality = concept of morality, They are not universal. Your version of equality may be more inclusive then others yet I am sure that there is a point where you “draw the line” at what lifestyles you consider worthy or unworthy of equality. Would you agree with that?

    I contend that the US Constitution does not back up your claim. It guarantees general equality but, It does not specifically dictate specific equality i.e, who can and can not get married. The people decide which equality/morality they will choose evidenced by this upcoming election.

  • Neighbor July 31, 2012 (5:02 pm)

    @B-As more and more states are having this go through the courts the state’s Supreme Courts are finding that indeed the US Constitution does guarantee the equal rights of all citizens to marry. The rights of minority groups are not voted upon by the citizens of this country, it one of the great aspects of the US.

  • mike July 31, 2012 (5:58 pm)

    Im not a fan of religions, but I am impressed that a church is the one holding an open discussion on this topic.

  • miws July 31, 2012 (8:48 pm)

    My “preference”/”concept” of morality: that two consenting adults, may live their lives as their hearts and genetic make-up dictate, in a way that harms no others, and without being the recipients of prejudice and scorn.



  • datamuse July 31, 2012 (9:23 pm)

    Sam-c: on February 13 of this year, Gov. Gregoire signed the legislative bill legalizing same-sex marriage into law. It was scheduled to take effect in June, unless a referendum was placed on the ballot to put the question of whether the law should be upheld to the voters. That’s referendum 74.
    A vote to APPROVE Referendum 74 means that you want the law upheld. A vote against Referendum 74 means that you want the law struck down.
    Personally, my sense of morality dictates that the partnerships between consenting adults not be relegated to second-class status because of their gender. There are over 1000 benefits that accrue to a couple simply by signing the marriage license. No civil union or domestic partnership agreement does the same.
    Speaking of the Constitution, B, seven federal courts, not to mention the president, have found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Sally Ride’s partner of 27 years won’t receive survivor benefits because she’s a woman. You want to talk about immoral? I think that’s immoral.

  • CanDo July 31, 2012 (9:44 pm)

    Which side of history do you want to be on? Check out arguments for the preservation of traditional marriage from 1948 – 1967. Sound familiar?

  • DM July 31, 2012 (10:38 pm)

    Thank you Datamuse. As a straight woman with many gay friends and family, I’m hoping everyone will vote yes on Referendum 74. I wish this family protection/civil rights issue hadn’t come to a vote, but it has… To those who feel uneasy about gay marriage I would ask “how will it really affect your life”? Which ever way you vote, it wont affect you or your life. But it WILL affect the gay neighbors in our community….Most likely you already have gay neighbors. If the referendum passes, it will just be another ordinary day for you. But for your gay neighbors: they’ll be able to marry and know that that they can finally have automatic protections for their families. How is that immoral?

  • B July 31, 2012 (11:28 pm)

    Y’all are missing the point of my question. I’m not asking what you think is morality. I’m asking why should we choose one version of morality over another.
    As several of you have challenged G to come up with a good reason for their stance, I submit the challenge of giving a rational response without emotion or anecdotal evidence why we should choose one version of morality over another.

  • sam-c August 1, 2012 (8:46 am)

    datamuse: thanks for spelling it out. after some confusion initially- I had already figured it out. i was just wishing that the expensive marriage equality tv ads would spell it out… verbally, text on the screen or SOMETHING that says “approve referendum 74”

  • datamuse August 1, 2012 (9:47 am)

    mike: some churches are much more liberal on this issue than one might suppose. The one I work for has been ordaining gay ministers since 2009.
    B: I don’t think I missed the point of your question at all. The reason has entirely to do with one version denying material benefits to a group of people based on their sexual identity, and the other version not. The former version causes demonstrable harm, the latter does not. If marriage is going to be a government-sanctioned institution at all, I do not see how it can legitimately be denied to a committed couple simply because they happen to be of the same sex.
    In other words, choose the version of morality that best enables people to lead happy, healthy, and prosperous lives.
    If that makes you personally uncomfortable, then ask yourself your own question. I’m not going to do your homework for you.
    Sam-c: you mean something like this?

  • G August 1, 2012 (9:51 am)

    Again, in spirit of learning from each other, I’ll pose the question: how does adhering to a traditional definition of marriage constitute prejudice? This is not just philosophical hair-splitting, this is a very, very important point. Same-sex supporters are defining what opposition to their position constitutes; however, does not necessarily make it so.

  • miws August 1, 2012 (11:14 am)

    It is hair splitting.


    It’s been explained, and especially well by datamuse’s point that Sally Ride’s partner won’t receive survivor benefits.


    Also, there have been instances of bio families of gay couples, that are in a committed relationship, denying visitation to the sick/dying partner.



  • WS commuter August 1, 2012 (11:30 am)

    B (and G, I suppose) … with all due respect, I think YOU miss the point.

    Morality isn’t the legal issue presented. While I respect your right to hold a “moral” view that homosexuality is bad, your moral view cannot serve as a basis to usurp fundemental legal rights. There were plenty of people who once held “moral” views that interracial marriage was also bad. Fortunately, our court system deals with that “moral” view by addressing the legal merit of whether it is constitutional to deny some persons rights held by others, simply because some of those others hold “moral” views.

    More fundementally, I think you are semantically avoiding the truth – your “moral” opposition to gay marriage is, in fact, bigotry. Perhaps you’re kidding yourself and don’t want to admit as much. If gays are allowed to marry, does it undermine your heterosexual marriage or mine? No. If gays are allowed to marry, does that mean that your church or mine will be required to perform or even approve of gay marriage? No again.

    But legalizing gay marriage does give full rights to a currently discriminated-against class of citizens. THAT is the issue here.

  • sam-c August 1, 2012 (11:32 am)

    Yes- and I’ve found out why it doesn’t say “approve ref 74”
    from the stranger:

    “It’s sponsored by the Pride Foundation’s nonprofit arm, meaning it can’t take a stand on any ballot measure, but the commercial is clearly timed to bolster support for approving gay-marriage-legalizing Referendum 74. ”

  • Jennifer August 4, 2012 (7:26 am)

    Lots of good discussion here. I hope you all are attending the forum!

Sorry, comment time is over.