ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation
For immediate release
November 7, 2012
ReconcilingWorks celebrates victories nationwide for LGBT people
ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation is reacting to yesterday’s election with joy at the sweeping victories for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in four states and for re-electing an ally to the presidency.
“Ground gained in the last four years for equality for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities is more secure than ever before,” said Emily Eastwood, Executive Director of ReconcilingWorks. “That three states would approve marriage for same-gender couples and another would defeat an anti-gay constitutional amendment sends a strong message that marriage is coming to a neighborhood near all of us.”
ReconcilingWorks is a national organization that works for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
“Today I am proud to be a citizen of the United States. The democratic process has worked and the people have spoken for justice,” Eastwood said, but noted that the United States is still deeply divided. “Our reconciling work is far from complete. Celebration and rest are both appropriate. Then, we must turn our attention to what we do best: building relationships, engaging across affinity and ideological group lines, and bringing the lens of the Gospel and the love of God to every interaction.”
Four states – Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington – had measures on their statewide ballots relating to marriage equality. Voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington (projected) became the first states to approve marriage equality by voter referendum. Minnesota voted to defeat a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality within the state.
ReconcilingWorks had significant involvement in campaigns in Minnesota and Washington to convince voters to choose equality in marriage in their states.
Minnesota voters defeated the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, which would have amended the state’s constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
The Rev. Anita C. Hill, a Regional Director for ReconcilingWorks in an area that includes Minnesota, organized Lutherans United for All Families, part of the larger Minnesotans United for All Families campaign.
“I am delighted that the voters of Minnesota chose to leave the door open for the eventual inclusion of same-gender families in the privileges and protections of legal marriage,” Hill said.
She worked with hundreds of congregations and religious institutions to encourage Lutherans to vote against the amendment. “It has been my privilege to work with people of faith across the state who engaged tender and vulnerable conversations with their family members and friends about what marriage for same-gender couples means to them,” she said. “We will continue to work for the full equality for all couples who wish to say their wedding vows before God, family, and community, and to have their marriage legally recognized by our state.”
Yesterday’s vote affects Hill personally. “My partner and I are ready for the day when our relationship of 19 years will become a legal marriage in our home state,” she said.
News outlets are projecting that voters in Washington have approved Referendum 74 to legalize marriage equality.
With support from ReconcilingWorks, Kari Lipke represented Lutherans on the Faith Cabinet for the Washington United for Marriage campaign, helping to connect supportive Lutheran congregations and individuals with campaign efforts to approve Referendum 74.
“Assuming the projections hold, my heart soars with gratitude for the Washington voters who have opted to stand firmly on the side of love, commitment, and freedom in regard to marriage equality,” Lipke said.
In her work, Lipke helped secure, train, and encourage Lutheran spokespersons for advertisements, press conferences, letters to the editor, friend/family conversations, phone banks, and canvassing.
“Going forward, this vote will stand as a beacon of hope for the whole country, lighting the way to a fair and equal future for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and opening the door of true religious freedom for churches, synagogues, and other communities of faith that long to celebrate marriage with all loving, committed couples,” Lipke said.
Maryland voters approved the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which went to voters after it was approved by the Maryland General Assembly in February 2012 and signed by Governor Martin O’Malley in March 2012.
“I am joyously celebrating that the citizens of Maryland have voted to keep the Civil Marriage Protection Act legislation in place by extending security and civil rights to LGBTQ couples and families,” said John Carter, Convener of the ReconcilingWorks Maryland chapter and a member of the organization’s national board. “This action verifies that Maryland is a progressive state and shows that our society is evolving toward a more mature and egalitarian society that embraces diversity and assures equal application of benefits to its constituents.”
The majority of voters in Maine supported marriage equality for all loving, committed couples by affirming Question 1 on that state’s ballot.
While ReconcilingWorks did not have a presence in the state in the months before the election to speak to voters on the question, it asked its members in other states to take part in a last-minute campaign. ReconcilingWorks members took part in a Mainers United campaign to phone Catholics to encourage them to remain committed to voting yes for same-sex marriage in that state.
Eastwood, speaking from ReconcilingWorks’ headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., noted that yesterday’s votes marked progress toward a larger goal. “Our church and our world are turning toward justice, albeit more slowly than we like. Our mission remains unchanged, to create the change we seek, a church and a world that welcomes and includes,” she said.
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For more information, contact
Stephen Padre, ReconcilingWorks Director of Communications: communications@ReconcilingWorks.org; 202/360-6971.