ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation is reacting with joy to today's Supreme Court decisions on same-gender marriage.
ReconcilingWorks applauds the court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the court's majority opinion that affirmed state marriage laws seeking to protect people "in personhood and dignity." The opinion also noted that the law had treated some "as living in marriages less respected than others."
The organization also rejoices in the freedom to marry that same-gender couples in California have been granted again in the court's ruling on Proposition 8 in that state.
"We as Christians consider people of all sexual orientations and gender identities worthy of dignity and respect," said Emily Eastwood, Executive Director of ReconcilingWorks. "As people of faith, we believe that with dignity and respect should come the freedom to marry and equal protection under the law. We celebrate today's decisions."
Eastwood declared this a landmark day for legal and civil protections of LGBT people and recalled another landmark in 2009 when members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) changed its policy to allow gay and lesbian people to marry in ELCA congregations in states where legal.
"We dreamed of a church and society where the freedoms and benefits of marriage are ensured for same-gender couples and their families," said Eastwood. "Our dream is becoming real and at a pace we could not have imagined in 2009."
Just last month, the ELCA's Southwest California Synod elected a bishop, the Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin, who is openly gay and Native American, both firsts for the denomination. Bishop-Elect Erwin's life-partner is Rob Flynn.
With the court's ruling on Proposition 8, there are now 21 (of 65 total) ELCA synods located in states recognizing same-gender marriage. These synods represent 38 percent of the total ELCA membership.
While the ELCA has yet to endorse the freedom to marry for same-gender couples, today's rulings have brought the country several steps closer to realizing the vision outlined in the ELCA's 2009 social statement Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust, which declares the ELCA's unified support for "legislation and policies to protect civil rights" for all people and its commitment to "attend to the need for equal protection, equal opportunities, and equal responsibilities under the law" for all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. More and more, the states -- and as of today, the federal government --are making real the stated commitment of the ELCA to a just society.
"For those of us in California and other marriage states, the celebration is on, as tears mix with laughter and dancing," said Eastwood.
ReconcilingWorks pledged to continue working in states where the issue of same-gender marriage will be decided in the future.
"Do not lose heart," she said to residents of states where marriage and equal protection under the law remains a dream delayed. "We commit ourselves as people of faith to that mission for as long as it takes, one heart, one mind at a time."
"Marriage is the one place in our society where church and state meet for the protection and blessing of couples and families," said Eastwood. "Our path and progress are inexorable, the outcome assured. Only the time is in question."