The Metropolitan Chicago Synod assembly called for civil marriage for all at its annual assembly held in Tinley Park, Illinois on June 1-2, 2012. The vote by show of cards of the nearly 350 present was overwhelmingly in favor; well over 90%. The synod is comprised of 202 congregations, nearly 98,000 members, located in Chicago and the surrounding area.
A hearing for discussion of the resolution prior to floor debate was attended by close to one-third of the voting membership. Those who spoke in favor of the resolution at the hearing and on the floor of the assembly represented the racial, economic, and age diversity of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod and the diversity ReconcilingWorks is striving to realize in its commitment to work at the intersection of oppressions. The pain and offense of all these histories of discrimination and oppressions, the call to fairness and freedom, the opportunity for gospel witness and mission, and the prophetic moment for the church to take a stand were all prominent themes in support of the resolution.
The resolution passed first called on congregations and members of the synod “to welcome, care for, and support same-gender couples and their families and to advocate for their legal protection.”
Next the synod assembly urged the Illinois Legislature and the Governor of Illinois to “extend the protections and dignity of marriage to all persons and to protect the freedom of religion for all faith communities and religious organizations.”
Finally the synod assembly urged the synod bishop, the Rev. Wayne Miller, to make the synod’s position known to the state legislature, the governor, the congregations of the synod and the public at large.
Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, Lutherans Concerned, said “Taken in its own context, that of Illinois, and the clarion call this is to the secular leadership of that state to provide equal protection and privilege under law to all citizens, this action sends a very strong message. In doing that, Metropolitan Chicago joins synods in Maryland; Minnesota; Washington, DC; and Washington State sending a message that equality under the law is essential, is consistent with the ELCA Social Statement “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” and that the freedom of congregations and pastors to follow their consciences as to whom they will marry or not is protected.”