The Northwest Washington (State) Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, meeting in assembly at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center, Comcast Arena, in Everett, Washington, on May 19, 2012, voted 81% to support the Washington State Marriage Equality Act enacted in February 2012 by Governor Christine Gregoire and the Washington State Legislature.
The resolution affirms Marriage Equality in Washington State as a public policy that provides social support and social trust for same-sex couples and their families; and encourages the synod’s congregations and members to study Scripture and the ELCA Social Statements “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” and “Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective,” and to prayerfully consider how to publicly respond if a Marriage Equality referendum appears on the November 2012 ballot.
The February act made civil marriage available to all persons in Washington State and repealed a previous law that defined civil marriage as between a man and a woman, while protecting freedom of religion for faith communities and religious organizations.
The Rev. Chris Berry, Co-Chair of Lutherans Concerned/North America, said of the passage of this resolution, “After twenty minutes of debate, the Northwest Washington Synod Assembly voted 81% to affirm marriage equality in Washington State — a heartening vote, affirming at the same time the prophetic witness of Bishop Boerger in testimony before the state legislature and marriage equality for all in Washington State.”
Bishop Chris Boerger said in his remarks closing the synod assembly that he pledged to continue speaking in favor of civil marriage equality until it became the law of the land in Washington State.