September 23, 2012
"MARRIAGE IS A BLESSING. Speaking from the perspective of a participant for more than 50 years, I am in favor of the institution of marriage. It has brought me the joy of love and companionship. It has provided purpose and focus to my life. It has improved my disposition to my own benefit and to that of my family, my friends, and my community. Of course it doesn’t always work out and there are many who are perfectly content without it.
"As I would not recommend it for everyone, and certainly not require it of anyone, neither would I deny it to any who are so committed. Marriage is a particular blessing for the couples and children involved, it is a general benefit to the good order of society, and regardless of sexual orientation, those who choose it deserve the recognition and equal protection of the law.
"This why I am in favor of passing Referendum 74." --George Lamb
Our Plymouth Church Council endorsed the "Marriage Equality, Referendum 74" which will be on our Washington State ballot in November. Marriage is a celebration of a loving commitment, and a legal agreement that should be available to everyone. Plymouth has long been committed to a covenant of welcome to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. We call this covenant "Open and Affirming".
First, some background
On February 13, 2012, Governor Chris Gregoire signed a marriage equality bill into law making Washington the seventh U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage.
Originally to go into effect on June 7, 2012, Referendum 74, an anti-gay marriage measure, has put the marriage equality bill on hold, and places Referendum 74 on the Washington state November 2012 ballot. If a majority chooses yes on the November ballot, the same-sex marriage law will go into effect on Dec. 6, 2012. If a majority votes to reject the measure, the law will fall.
What has Plymouth’s Council done?
Our Council has voted unanimously to endorsed the following text at their meeting September 28, 2012. “We, the undersigned, officially endorse Washington United for Marriage, the campaign to secure marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples in Washington State. We believe that only full marriage equality effectively grants the dignity and respect deserved by all loving and committed couples in Washington."
Washington United for Marriage is a group of organizations, congregations, unions, and businesses working together to defend civil marriage for loving, committed same-sex couples in Washington State. http://washingtonunitedformarriage.org/ . Groups that endorse this statement (like Plymouth) are considered "coalition partners" (and are listed on the WUM website).
Why is Marriage Equality important?
Marriage Equality is not just about economic equality (same insurance coverage, etc.). Marriage means making a vow of love and commitment in front of friends, family and community. Marriage matters to all loving, committed couples because it means they are making a lifetime promise to build a life together and create a family. Plymouth covenanted to be ‘Open and Affirming’ some years ago. This is one more way that we can live out that commitment.
What about churches taking political (not partisan) positions?
"A church endorsing this would not create a problem with a church's non-profit status. Churches can (and have, many, many times) speak out in favor or in oppositions to issues on the ballot. What churches can't do is endorse a particular candidate or participate in partisan (read, party based) politics.
A church's endorsement can make a difference. The repeal of this law is on the ballot precisely because conservative churches called for it, promoted it and endorsed it. ... many churches also put monies towards this goal. (per Rev. Mike Denton, Conference Minister, Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ.)
This issue is important for us as we live out our faith as an Open and Affirming congregation. Watch for ways you can support this effort. Wear a button, talk to your neighbors, etc. To help plan Plymouth's efforts, call me. (206/937-9757)
Adele Reynolds for the Social Justice Action Group