Archive for April, 2010

Rep. Mell Announces Same-Sex Wedding Bells

April 30, 2010

Rep. Deborah Mell

Rep. Deborah Mell, D-Chicago, has announced her plans to marry her same-sex partner Christin Baker, in Iowa. Full coverage here and here. In 2008, Mell became the first openly lesbian candidate ever elected to the state legislature. She and Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, are the only two out LGBT members of the Illinois General Assembly. Mell was arrested in 2004 while protesting her inability to get a marriage license from the Cook County clerk’s office.

Congratulations to the couple! We wish them all the best.

Watch her announcement at the Illinois House of Representatives in which she speaks about the need for equality in Illinois:

Call Your State Legislators

April 26, 2010

Please contact your state legislators to let them know that you support equal rights for same-sex couples, as proposed in House Bill 178 and Senate Bill 2468. Also, let them know if you belong to a church, synagogue or other religious community.

If you do not know the names of your state representative and state senator, they are easy to look up by address or 9-digit ZIP code at the Illinois Board of Elections web site or call 217-782-4141. The board of elections site also gives a mailing address, phone number, and fax number for your legislators.

If you contact your legislator, let us know what you hear back.

Not Too Late for Census

April 24, 2010

It is not too late to be counted! If you haven’t completed your census form yet, do it today. And if you are in a same-sex relationship, let the U.S. Census know. A key to the advancement of the rights of same-sex couples is for people first to know of our existence. For the first time in census history, the form allows for same-sex couples to count themselves as “married.” If you have been married, you should count yourself as married even if you live in a state that doesn’t recognize your relationship. If you have not been married, you can also select “unmarried partners.” For more information, check out the official U.S. Census web site.  Equality Illinois offers guidance on completing your form here. In addition, there is a site full of information about the census just for lgbt families called “Our Families Count.” Enjoy the following video from their web site:

Theologian Supports Freedom to Marry

April 22, 2010

Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite

Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a leading feminist theologian and former president of Chicago Theological Seminary, recently wrote for the Washington Post’s web site about her support for same sex Marriage. Thistlethwaite is a fellow at the Center for American Progress and is a member of the clergy in the United Church of Christ. She remains a professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the UCC, and is the author of numerous books.

UCC Advertisement Features Lesbian Wedding

April 20, 2010

Check out this new video from the United Church of Christ. Pay attention to the scene of two women getting married at the 36-second mark. The video also appears to feature two dads with a son at 1:17.

The UCC passed a resolution at its 2005 general synod meeting in support of same-sex marriage. This wasn’t the denomination’s first time to blaze a trail on lgbt concerns. In 1972, with the ordination of William Johnson, the UCC became the first mainline Christian denomination to ordain an openly gay or lesbian person. 

This isn’t the first time that the denomination has taken on LGBT issues in their innovative advertising. Check out these previous videos, which were banned on some television networks, here and here.

Guest Post from Crystal Lake Pastor

April 19, 2010

Rev. David Inglis

Rev. David Inglis, associate minister of the First Congregational Church of Crystal Lake, offers the following guest post:

Throughout history, people have joined their lives together in marriage; sadly, some have married for unfortunate reasons like politics, property exchange, or material gain. How wonderful, then, that two people might choose to join their lives in a sacred covenant before assembled witnesses for no other reason than love. How amazing that a couple would invite God to be present in that marriage. And how tragic that strangers would use the God of love as a weapon of hatred against those who want only to celebrate their love and be respected for that.

Jesus never commanded us to hate one another. Jesus never commanded us not to marry the one we love. Jesus did command that we love one another (John 15:12). Almost all of the time my wife and I spend together as a married couple is non-sexual. Most of our time together is spent working to keep our house clean, food on the table, children cared for, and careers kept on track. Our more intimate moments are more often spent snuggling in front of the TV than in the bedroom. Sex occupies a very small portion of our time together. And it’s no one else’s business when or how we make love. It should be no one else’s business even had I married a man, or if she had married a woman.

When the rules got in the way of love and compassion, Jesus broke the rules. And when Jesus broke the rules, it wasn’t only the laws of Moses regarding ritual defilement, or food preparation. He broke one of the Ten Commandments, written by the finger of God on stone tables brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses to the Hebrew people wandering in the wilderness. Jesus broke the commandment to “Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). The disciples picked food to eat, and Jesus healed on the sabbath (rf. Matthew 12:1-14). If the law permits two consenting adults to join their lives as one, and prohibits two other consenting adults from the same privilege, the law is unjust and must be challenged, changed, and if necessary, broken.

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). Those who would use the Bible to condemn others bring dishonor to Christ. Those who participate in a Christian marriage ceremony (a service of worship offered to God), no matter the gender, race, or national origin of the couple, bring more love into the world. May the love of any two people who choose to join their lives in marriage be a true reflection of God’s love for us all.

Research: Inequality Harms Mental Health

April 19, 2010

Here is one more reason to support same-sex marriage rights: A new study shows that LGBT individuals have a higher rate of psychiatric illnesses in states with same-sex marriage bans. Read more in the Windy City Times.

LGBT Groups Host Chicago Interfaith Meeting

April 19, 2010

Marriage equality was a leading topic among the clergy who attended the Chicago LGBT community’s first ever interfaith prayer breakfast recently. Read more in the Windy City Times.

Obama Orders Hospital Rights for Couples

April 16, 2010

Pres. Barack Obama

President Obama has issued a presidential order that will make it easier for same-sex couples to visit one another in hospitals and to make medical decisions on one another’s behalf. Read the details here.

Join Our Facebook Group!

April 10, 2010

Did you know the Illinois Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry has a Facebook group? Please join!