Minnesota Lutheran synod assemblies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have been clear about their opposition to legislation or public policies that would preclude same-gender couples and their families from pursuing ordinary means to achieve the same support and protections afforded to all other citizens of Minnesota.
Such a prohibition is exactly what the referendum on the ballot for the general election in November 2012 would do — amend the state constitution to make it impossible for same-gender couples to use the normal means of redress to achieve the same protections enjoyed by all other citizens of the state.
The six ELCA synods in Minnesota stated their positions in favor of equality under law through votes taken at their assemblies recently or, in one case, through an assembly stance maintained for the last six years. These synod assemblies represent the more than 750,000 ELCA Lutherans living in Minnesota; most voted by overwhelming majorities. These votes do not bind the individual members of the synods to vote in any particular way in November. The church encourages its members to participate in civil political processes as part of living out their baptismal vocations, exercising their spiritual and civic duty to serve the neighbor.
Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, ReconcilingWorks (formerly Lutherans Concerned/North America), said “A growing number of ELCA Lutherans in Minnesota understand the stakes in the upcoming ballot initiative. They understand that the anti-gay marriage amendment is an attempt by some to restrict the human right of others to seek redress of an inequality under the law by normal legal means. They understand that the proposed amendment is actually the antithesis of religious freedom: ignoring and thereby violating freedom of religion for those who favor marriage equality. They understand that the choices are clear in November. To pass the amendment would diminish the constitution of this state by reducing some citizens to second-class status. To defeat the amendment will preserve the constitution free of such harm, leaving it as the document that preserves the opportunity for equality under the law. In the months to come, the hard work of relationship building through deep listening and the sharing, heart-to-heart, of our stories of faith and family will build on the firm foundation of synod assembly actions. Full participation in church and society depends on each of us and all of us, Lutherans united for all families, not just for some. Our faith compels us. We respond with graceful determination and relentless love in action.”