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DENOMINATIONS/CHURCHES
Roman Catholic Church

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-roman-catholic-church

The Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination in the United States with an estimated 62 million members, has welcomed celibate gay and lesbian people into its church life but increasingly is becoming more intolerant even of this population. Most recently, the Vatican has issued plans to release a document to the church worldwide that will bar celibate gay men from Catholic seminaries. The Human Rights Campaign condemned the document  for scapegoating gays. (The document will not affect already ordained priests and does not address lay members.)

The church does condemn legal discrimination against gays and lesbians and supports increased research into the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS; however, the decision to bar celibate gay men from the priesthood indicates that the Roman Catholic Church is taking a more aggressively anti-gay stance. In addition, the church has also been a staunch opponent of marriage equality for same-sex couples and rejects adoption by gay and lesbian parents.

It has been silent to date on transgender members.

On a Gay or Lesbian Orientation

The Roman Catholic Church does not consider a gay or lesbian orientation to be inherently sinful because it is not a choice, and “morality presumes the freedom to choose,” according to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Marriage and Family’s 1997 statement, “Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children.”

Yet the church does consider a gay or lesbian orientation “unnatural,” “disordered” and one of the many manifestations of original sin. The Catechism states:

“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

Pope Benedict XVI, who was named pope in April 2005, has not shown support for GLBT equality in the church. During an address to a conference of the Diocese of Rome in June 2005, he criticized the movement for marriage quality, saying:

“The various forms of the dissolution of matrimony today, like free unions, trial marriages and going up to pseudo-matrimonies by people of the same sex, are rather expressions of an anarchic freedome that wrongly passes for true freedom of man.”

Before he became pope, he also made several statements condemning gays and lesbians. In 1986, while a cardinal, he had delivered a Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, saying, “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.”

In addition, the Vatican also condemned gays and lesbians in a July 2004 document denouncing feminism. Entitled “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and the World,” the letter asserted that feminism would “call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality.”

Funeral Denied Gay Man

In March 2005, San Diego Bishop Robert Brom received national media attention when he refused to allow a funeral to be performed in a local Catholic church for a gay man, John McCusker, who ran several gay nightclubs. Brom called McCusker’s business activities “contrary to sacred Scripture and the moral teachings of the church” and said that by denying him a Catholic funeral, he was trying to avoid a “public scandal.” After McCusker’s funeral was held in an Episcopal church, Brom apologized to McCusker’s parents and offered to celebrate a Mass for him.

Sex and Marriage

Sex and marriage are intended for procreation only, according to the Catholic Church. Heterosexual Catholics, therefore, are expected to remain celibate until marriage and then refrain from using birth control. Gay and lesbian Catholics are expected to remain celibate for life. Failure to do so is judged a sin.

On the other hand, if gays and lesbians refrain from acting on their sexual impulses, they are said to have the potential to achieve “Christian perfection.” The Catechism states:

“Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”

Discrimination against Gays

The church allows gay and lesbian Catholics full participation in the church, provided they are celibate. Moreover, it supports the basic human rights of gay and lesbian people and rejects as sinful any acts of prejudice and discrimination against them.

Catholic parents of gay, lesbian and bisexual children are urged to accept and love their children. The 1997 “Always Our Children” statement tells parents:

“First, don’t break off contact; don’t reject your child. … Your child may need you and the family now more than ever. He or she is still the same person. This child, who has always been God’s gift to you, may now be the cause of another gift: your family becoming more honest, respectful, and supportive. Yes, your love can be tested by this reality, but it can also grow stronger through your struggle to respond lovingly.”

Despite its stand against discrimination, however, the church rejects marriage rights for same-sex couples, adoption by gay and lesbian parents and openly gay clergy.

Marriage Rights for Same-Sex Couples

The church has actively opposed marriage rights for same-sex couples, backing its opposition with both strong statements and money. These statements have been issued by both the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The church has also instructed Catholic lawmakers and voters to oppose marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Contrary to the counsel of church leaders, however, 82 percent of American Catholics say they can accept the idea of a same-sex couple living together “like a married couple,” according to a March 2004 survey by The Los Angeles Times.

Former Pope John Paul spoke out against same-sex marriage inMemory and Identity, a book published in February 2005. The book referred to “pressures” that have supposedly been put on the European Parliament to support marriage equality, calling them “part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.”

In July 2003, the Vatican denounced same-sex unions as “evil” and called upon Catholics to oppose any legislation that would grant them equality. In a statement entitled, “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” it declared:

“Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth. … Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: … stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defenses and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.”

Former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, directed the website where the statement appeared.

In November 2003, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops largely echoed the Vatican, with a document entitled, “Between a Man and a Woman: Questions and Answers About Marriage and Same-Sex Unions.” The bishops stressed that Catholics consider marriage to be exclusively the union of a man and a woman, and said that marriage between same-sex couples would pose a threat to that tradition.

Such a position is not discriminatory against same-sex couples, the bishops asserted, because “marriage and same-sex unions are essentially different realities.”

The bishops also argued against lesser protections such as civil unions and domestic partnerships, declaring:

“The state has an obligation to promote the family, which is rooted in marriage. Therefore, it can justly give married couples rights and benefits it does not extend to others. … Some benefits currently sought by persons in homosexual unions can already be obtained without regard to marital status. For example, individuals can agree to own property jointly with another, and they can generally designate anyone they choose to be a beneficiary of their will or to make health care decisions in case they become incompetent.”

Church officials also have been actively engaged in influencing the political process concerning marriage equality. For example:

·         In spring 2004, several Catholic bishops announced that they would refuse communion to politicians who failed to adhere to the church’s stand on a variety of issues, including marriage rights for same-sex couples. 

·         Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Colo., went a step further in May 2004, writing a pastoral letter that stated that any Catholic who voted for candidates who supported such issues should be refused communion.

·         In June 2004, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter to all U.S. bishops asking them to encourage their senators to support the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment.

·         In March 2004, a group of church officials in New York advised the governor against allowing marriage for same-sex couples.

·         In June 2004, lobbyists for Massachusetts’ four Catholic dioceses sent letters to every parish asking Catholics to inform state representatives who had failed to oppose the state constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples of their “profound disappointment.”

·         In 2003, the four Massachusetts bishops sent a letter to every Catholic pastor in the state, directing them to read a statement during Sunday services that denounced marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Adoption by Gay Parents

The Vatican has strongly condemned adoption by gay and lesbian parents. The 2003 document, “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” states:

“Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such [same-sex] unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.”

Openly Gay Clergy

There has been significant debate about whether the church should ordain openly gay and bisexual priests. Some officials have argued that gay men should never be ordained, while others have said gay and bisexual men are qualified for the priesthood as long as they remain celibate. Currently, the Vatican is planning to release a document to the church worldwide banning celibate gay man from Catholic seminaries. According to The New York Times, Vatican investigators have been instructed to visit each of the 229 seminaries in the United States, specifically with the plan to look for “evidence of homosexuality.”

HIV/AIDS

The church has encouraged increased government research into the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS. It also has stressed the need for support for the caretakers and family members of people with HIV/AIDS, denounced violence against those infected or perceived as being infected and condemned discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS.

U.S. Catholic bishops also have stated the importance of ministering to people with HIV/AIDS. The 1997 statement, “Always Our Children,” declares:

“Though HIV/AIDS is an epidemic affecting the whole human race, not just homosexual persons, it has had a devastating effect upon them and has brought great sorrow to many parents, families, and friends. … We reject the idea that HIV/AIDS is a direct punishment from God.”

Resources for LGBT Catholics

·         DignityUSA advocates for a more gay-inclusive agenda within the Catholic Church. It has a national office in Washington, D.C., and local chapters nationwide.

·         New Ways Ministry, founded by the Rev. Robert Nugent and Sister Jeannine Gramick, provides a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities.

·         The National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries is an association dedicated to encouraging pastoral care of gay and lesbian Catholics and their families.

·         The National Catholic AIDS Network is devoted to helping the Catholic Church respond with understanding and compassion to the pain and challenge presented by HIV/AIDS.

·         Fortunate Families ministers to the Catholic parents of LGBT children, encouraging them to share their stories with others.

Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, here is their mailing address:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth St., N.E.,
Washington, D.C. 20017

 

Old Catholics/Independent Catholics

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-old-catholics-independent-catholics

There are approximately 230,000 Catholics in the United States who associate with a denomination other than the Roman Catholic Church. These Catholic churches, ranging from liberal to conservative in their theology and doctrine, consider themselves Old Catholics, a denomination that has been in place since the 1800s when it rejected the supremacy of the Roman episcopacy over other bishops; a point of view shared with others in the catholic tradition, such as Anglicans, Episcopalians, and the Orthodox.

The Old Catholic communities in the United States share in the historic apostolic succession as do the other churches within the catholic tradition as well as the same liturgical traditions. Many times Old Catholics will also identify themselves as “Independent Catholic” only to distinguish themselves from their Roman cousins.  Nevertheless, they are Old Catholic communities. Much like the churches in the Anglican Communion, the Old Catholic churches in the United States may vary on their positions regarding LGBT persons and so it is advisable that you conduct some research before joining. Some are not open and affirming nor do they support full LGBT equality.  For example, the Old Catholic Church of North America states, “We believe that the only proper expression of sexuality is between a man and a woman within the bond of Holy Matrimony, thus we do not ordain practicing homosexuals or perform same sex blessings.”

Nevertheless, the larger Old Catholic communities, such as  the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, the American Catholic Church, the American Apostolic Communion, the Independent Catholic Church of the West,  the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America and the National Catholic Church of America support full LGBT equality in their congregations.  The Ecumenical Catholic Communion, for example, states this:

“We are an open and affirming communion recognizing the value and dignity of every person, in our God given diversity. We promote the education and development of the People of God in their understanding of the diversity of sexual orientation among their brothers and sisters. All sexual relationships are to be guided by the Christian moral principles of love and fidelity. We uphold the ideal of committed relationships blessed by the sacred rites of the church. We believe that all questions of sexual morality are best addressed through pastoral care and counsel.”

The American Catholic Church states that it is “committed to providing the Sacrament of Matrimony to all couples who seriously seek it, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification.”

Open and Affirming Old Catholic Churches:

American Apostolic Church
Catholic Apostolic Church in North America
Ecumenical Catholic Communion
American Catholic Church in the United States
American Catholic Church Diocese
National Catholic Church of America
Independent Catholic Church of the West

 

 

Episcopal Church

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-episcopal-church

With an estimated 2.3 million members, the Episcopal Church is open and welcoming of the LGBT community. Unlike the Worldwide Anglican Communion, of which it is a part, the Episcopal Church does not condemn homosexuality. Instead, the denomination welcomes LGBT people as members, and some Episcopal dioceses permit the blessing of same-sex unions. In 2003, the Episcopal Church ordained the first openly gay bishop in the United States. All orders of ministry are now open to include all baptized LGBT members of the church.

The Episcopal Church’s passage of Resolution “D012, Support of Transgender Civil Rights” at General Convention 2009 , which is the church’s national governing body, was designed to give ecclesiological support to efforts such as the Diocese of Massachusetts advocacy campaign to pass a Transgender Civil Rights bill, which sought to extend nondiscrimination protection based on gender preference.

Openly Gay Clergy

The Episcopal Church ordained its first openly gay priest in 1989 and, in 1994, passed a resolution explicitly affirming that gay, lesbian and bisexual people could not be refused ordination in the Episcopal Church. It stated:

“No one shall be denied access to the selection process for ordination in this church because of race, color, ethnic origin, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities or age, except as otherwise specified by these canons.”

In 2003, it made history — and no small amount of controversy — by electing the first openly gay bishop. The Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who lives with his husband, was consecrated as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. While a joyous moment, the ordination led to a rebuke from the Worldwide Anglican Communion the following year.

Critics of Robinson’s ordination argued that the church violated Anglican Communion rules that forbid the ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians, as well as the blessing of same-sex unions, and predicted that a schism would result.

In fact, in October 2004, the Lambeth Commission of the Anglican Communion released a report that rebuked the Episcopal Church for Robinson’s ordination and for permitting the blessing of same-sex unions. Entitled the Windsor Report, it stated:

“The Commission regrets that without attaching sufficient importance to the interests of the wider Communion:

·         The Episcopal Church (USA) proceeded with the consecration of Gene Robinson

·         The 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) declared that ‘local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.'”

The report asked the Episcopal Church to issue an “expression of regret” that its actions had caused division within the Anglican Communion and called for a halt on both blessing same-sex unions and ordaining openly gay clergy members “until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges.” It did not call for Robinson’s resignation or expel the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion, but it did note, “There remains a very real danger that we will not choose to walk together.”

The Anglican Communion recommended that the Episcopal Church refuse to approve the ordination of bishops in same-sex relationships in the future. Instead, the U.S. House of Bishops voted in March 2005 to suspend the ordination of any new bishops, gay or straight, for one year, until the 2006 General Convention.

However, at the 2009 General Convention, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies passed a measure that effectively opened all orders of ministry to baptized LGBT members of the church.

The Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool, of Baltimore, was ordained and consecrated in May 2010, making her the second openly gay bishop in church history and one of the first two female bishops in the Diocese of Los Angeles’ 114-year history.

In November 2010, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson announced that he will be retiring as Bishop earlier than his term is set to end.

Same-Sex Unions

The church has had a policy of supporting and ministering to same-sex couples since 2000. In 2003, the General Convention, recognizing that some churches bless same-sex unions and some don’t, left that decision up to the individual dioceses, stating:

“In our understanding of homosexual persons, differences exist among us about how best to care pastorally for those who intend to live in monogamous, non-celibate unions; and what is, or should be, required, permitted, or prohibited by the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church concerning the blessing of the same. … We recognize that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.”

In March 2005, a national governing body for the denomination, the House of Bishops, responded to a recommendation from the Worldwide Anglican Communion that they impose an official moratorium on the blessing of same-sex unions. In the Covenant Statement, the bishops acknowledged that there was no consensus within the issue but said they would not officially recognize same-sex unions for at least one year:

“It is important that we clarify that the Episcopal Church has not authorized any such liturgies, nor has General Convention requested the development of such rites. The Primates, in their communiqué ‘assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship.’ … Some in our church hold such ‘pastoral care’ to include the blessing of same sex relationships. Others hold that it does not. Nevertheless, we pledge not to authorize any public rites for the blessing of same sex unions, and we will not bless any such unions, at least until the General Convention of 2006.”

At the 2009 General Convention, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies voted to approve a measure that allowed Episcopal bishops to bless same-sex marriages at their discretion.  The 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which said that bishops, “particularly those in dio­ceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral re­sponse to meet the needs of members of this Church”.The Houses also voted to begin a process of writing official liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions.

Opposition to Discrimination

The church has prohibited discrimination against gays and lesbians since 1976. In 1985, the General Convention spoke out against hate crimes based on sexual orientation and encouraged federal officials to take action against such violence. The same year, the church publicly denounced the then-popular belief that AIDS was “the punishment of God upon homosexual persons.”

In 1997, the General Convention passed a resolution apologizing for past “sins” against gay and lesbian people. It stated:

“This 72nd General Convention apologizes on behalf of the Episcopal Church to its members who are gay or lesbian and to lesbians and gay men outside the Church for years of rejection and maltreatment by the Church. … This Church repents of its sins committed against lesbian and gay people — physical, psychological and spiritual — through covert and overt action and inaction. We seek amendment of our life together and we ask for God’s help in sharing the Good News with all people.”

Resolutions on Gender Identity

The 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church adopted four resolutions addressing gender identity and transgender individuals. Two of them support enactment of civil sector anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation protecting transgender people at local, state, and federal levels.

The Convention also adopted two other resolutions pertaining to Church policy that are inclusive of gender identity. One resolution, “Non-discrimination in Employment,” adds “gender identity and expression” to the Church’s non-discrimination policy for hiring lay employees. The other resolution, “Inclusive Church Paper Work” calls for the revision of church paper and electronic forms to allow a wider range of gender identifications.

Resources for LGBT Episcopalians

Integrity is a nonprofit social and advocacy group for LGBT Episcopalians and straight allies, with chapters around the nation.

TransEpiscopal is a group of transgender Episcopalians and their significant others, families, friends, and allies dedicated to enriching their spiritual lives and to making the Episcopal Church a welcoming and empowering place that all can truly call their spiritual home.

Beyond Inclusion offers resources on same-sex commitment ceremonies within the Episcopal Church.

Claiming the Blessing is a coalition of pro-equality Episcopal organizations that has a goal of “promoting wholeness in human
relationships, abolishing prejudice and oppression, and healing the rift between sexuality and spirituality in the Church.”

The Witness magazine is a progressive, unofficial publication for members of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion that supports equal rights for LGB Episcopalians. 

Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the Episcopal Church, here is their mailing address:

Episcopal Church Center
815 Second Ave.
New York, NY 10017

 

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with approximately 5 million members, has passed repeated resolutions to welcome gay and lesbian people since 1991. However, this welcome varies from synod to synod and congregation to congregation across the denomination.

During its August 2009 Churchwide Assembly, significant progress was made in the ELCA when the church adopted a social statement on human sexuality (Social Statement: Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust)Sexuality – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that supports a wide diversity of families, including those of same-gender couples. While the ELCA has no official rite for same-gender unions, it voted to “allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is now the largest Protestant church in the United States to permit noncelibate gay ministers to serve in the ranks of its clergy.

LGBT People in the Church

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America officially and unequivocally welcomes LGBT people and their families. In an open letter in 1996, the Lutheran bishops reaffirmed this message and condemned homophobia and anti-gay discrimination:

“To gay and lesbian members, we write to you in hope and out of faith. We all live with the pain of a church that experiences sharp disagreements on some issues. Yet we walk beside you and we value your gifts and commitment to the Church. … We repudiate all words and acts of hatred toward gay and lesbian persons in our congregations and in our communities, and extend a caring welcome for gay and lesbian persons and their families. We call upon all our pastors, as they exercise pastoral care, to be sensitive to the gifts and needs of gay and lesbian members.”

At its Churchwide Assembly in 2009, the ELCA adopted a social statement titled, “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” which recognizes:

“… the complex and varied situations people have in relation to human sexuality: being in relationships, being single, being a friend, living in a young or aging body, being male or female, being young or old, or having different sexual orientations and gender identities. In whatever the situation, all people are called to build trust in relationships and in the community.”

The statement repeatedly acknowledges that members of the denomination stand on very different sides of the issue of same-sex relationships and calls for mutual respect from all sides as individuals and congregations continue to discern God’s will. The social statement also recommits the denomination to its opposition to homophobia, discrimination, and harassment based on sexual orientation as well as committing to pastoral responsibility to LGBT people, stating that the ELCA:

“…supports legislation and policies to protect civil rights and to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and public services. It has called upon congregations and members to welcome, care for, and support same-gender couples and their families and to advocate for their legal protection. The ELCA recognizes that it has a pastoral responsibility to all children of God. This includes a pastoral responsibility to those who are same-gender in their orientation and to those who are seeking counsel about their sexual self-understanding. All are encouraged to avail themselves of the means of grace and pastoral care.

On October 28, 2010, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) offered reassurance to young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, saying, “You are a beloved child of God.” Rev. Mark S. Hanson told young people ‘It Gets Better in a video essay posted on You Tube. Hanson recorded the video in response to numerous reports of gay teenagers, who have been bullied, with some taking their own lives.  The video can be viewed athttp://www.ELCA.org/itgetsbetter on the ELCA website.

Same-Sex Unions

During its Churchwide Assembly in 2009, the ELCA voted 619 to 402 to commit to finding ways to “allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.” This resolution affirms congregations that choose to recognize same-sex relationships while continuing to respect the validity of conscience of congregations that will not recognize same-sex relationships. Since this resolution does not mandate that all ELCA congregations recognize same-sex unions, ELCA congregations will continue to vary in their beliefs regarding this issue.

Openly LGBT Clergy

In 1990 the ELCA approved official guidelines instructing gay and lesbian ministers, even those in lifelong, monogamous same-sex relationships, to remain celibate.

Nevertheless, in the decades following the approval of these guidelines, the denomination remained deeply divided on how to relate to people in same-sex relationships, and there had been much ambiguity regarding congregational and synodical practices related to couples and clergy.

In 2009, after eight years of thoughtful theological exploration and denominational discourse on the genuine inclusion of LGB Lutherans in their churches, the ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis voted to allow congregations to call and ordain gays and lesbians in committed monogamous relationships to serve as clergy. By a vote of 559 to 451, delegates approved a resolution declaring that the church would find a way for people in “publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationships” to serve as official ministers. The passage of this policy came on the heels of the assembly’s approval of a related resolution granting authority to congregations to chose to recognize publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-sex relationships. Both resolutions respect the autonomy of individual congregations with respect to their beliefs regarding lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationships. Congregations that do not wish to call these persons to ordained ministry are not required by these policy changes to do so.

In reaction, Lutheran CORE, which opposed the decision, stated that it would, “initiate a process that we hope will lead to a reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism.” In February 2010, Lutheran CORE announced that it will secede from the ELCA and form a new denomination to be named the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). As of 2008, 37% of ELCA pastors were found to support same-sex marriage.

In April 2010, The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted revisions to ministry policy documents to bring them in line with the August 2009 vote, as well as adding sections on integrity, substance abuse and addiction.  You can find these revised ministry policies here: http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Vocation/Rostered-Leadership/Ministry-Policies.aspx .

In July 2010 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco, the denomination officially welcomed seven LGBT clergy members onto the official roster, who had until then been barred from the church’s ministry. The seven ministers had already been ordained and were serving at churches or outreach ministries in the San Francisco Bay Area, but they had not been officially recognized on the clergy roster. This was the first of a series of such services.

The denomination designed a special “rite of reception” to mark the formal inclusion of gay and lesbian ministers who were ordained in “extraordinary rites” that were not recognized by the church. The pastors had been authorized for ordination by a group called Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.

Resources for LGBT Lutherans

·         Lutherans Concerned is a national education and advocacy group with chapters nationwide working on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues within the church. It has a list of more than 440 LGBT-welcoming Lutheran congregations.

·         Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) expands ministry opportunities for publicly-identified LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leaders who are changing the through their ministry.

·         Goodsoil.org is a coalition that aims to change official ELCA policies to become more inclusive of LGBT people.

Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, here is their mailing address:

Evangelical Lutheran Church
8765 W. Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631

 

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-presbyterian-church-usa

With an estimated 3.1 million members, the Presbyterian Church (USA) is very supportive of gay, lesbian and bisexual people — even though official church doctrine still holds that homosexual sex is sinful and against God’s will and bans gays and lesbians from the clergy.

The church welcomes gay, lesbian and bisexual people as members and has an active LGBT population. It prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. It also allows clergy members to bless holy union ceremonies (but not marriages) between same-sex couples, and in 2005 it urged federal lawmakers to acknowledge civil unions between same-sex couples that the states had recognized. It has also called for equal treatment of the children of gay, lesbian and bisexual parents. Some Presbyterian churches, however, have faced conflict over LGBT rights issues within their own congregations.

It has, to date, been silent on transgender members.

On Gays and Lesbians

Gay, lesbian and bisexual people are welcome in Presbyterian churches and called upon to be treated equally with all members. According to a 1978 document entitled, “The Church and Homosexuality”:

“Persons who manifest homosexual behavior must be treated with the profound respect and pastoral tenderness due all people of God. There can be no place within the Christian faith for the response to homosexual persons of mingled contempt, hatred, and fear that is called homophobia.

“Homosexual persons are encompassed by the searching love of Christ. The church must turn from its fear and hatred to move toward the homosexual community in love and to welcome homosexual inquirers to its congregations. It should free them to be candid about their identity and convictions.”

The document, which has been repeatedly challenged by gay and lesbian Presbyterians, however, also calls homosexual sex sinful, contrary to God’s plan and a possible symptom of the world’s larger problems.

“Homosexuality is not God’s wish for humanity. … In many cases homosexuality is more a sign of the brokenness of God’s world than of willful rebellion. In other cases homosexual behavior is freely chosen or learned in environments where normal development is thwarted. Even where the homosexual orientation has not been consciously sought or chosen, it is neither a gift from God nor a state nor a condition like race; it is a result of our living in a fallen world.”

While the church acknowledges that a person’s sexual orientation is not a choice, its teachings assert that people can choose whether to act on their desires. It also argues, against prevailing professional opinion, that gay, lesbian and bisexual people can change their orientation and urges heterosexual church members to encourage them to do so. “The Church and Homosexuality” states:

“Homosexual persons who will strive toward God’s revealed will in this area of their lives, and make use of all the resources of grace, can receive God’s power to transform their desires or arrest their active expression. … [The church] should also share honestly and humbly with them in seeking the vision of God’s intention for the sexual dimensions of their lives. … It may be only in the context of loving community, appreciation, pastoral care, forgiveness, and nurture that homosexual persons can come to a clear understanding of God’s pattern for their sexual expression.”

Some individual Presbyterian congregations have struggled with the issue of gay and lesbian acceptance within their own ranks. For example, after the Rev. Jeff Falter of Davis Memorial Presbyterian church in West Virginia wrote a column in his local newspaper supporting equality for gay and lesbian Christians in February 2005, his congregation voted to remove him from his position.

Opposition to Discrimination

In 1978, the Presbyterian leadership spoke out against discrimination against gays and lesbians and condemned laws banning consensual sex between same-sex couples:

“The Christian community … must do everything in its power to prevent society from continuing to hate, harass, and oppress [gay people]. … Sexual conduct in private between consenting adults is a matter of private morality to be instructed by religious precept or ethical example and persuasion, rather than by legal coercion.
“Vigilance must be exercised to oppose federal, state, and local legislation that discriminates against persons on the basis of sexual orientation and to initiate and support federal, state, or local legislation that prohibits discrimination against persons on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations.”

The Presbyterian Board of Pensions also was considering extending domestic partnership benefits to its employees, following a decision by the General Assembly in June 2004.

Same-Sex Unions

Presbyterian policy bans the use of church facilities for marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples and forbids Presbyterian clergy from performing same-sex weddings. But Presbyterian ministers are permitted to perform holy union ceremonies for same-sex couples, as long as they are not considered the same as marriage. That rule was affirmed by the church’s highest court in 2002.

In 2004, the Presbyterian General Assembly passed a resolution to support laws recognizing relationships between “same-gender persons.” It urged state lawmakers to allow same-sex couples to join in civil unions, encouraged all Americans to support inclusive laws and urged the federal government to honor them.

The same resolution, however, also reaffirmed the church’s existing definition of marriage, “a civil contract between a woman and a man.” The same day, the General Assembly decided not to take a position on the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would write discrimination against same-sex couples into the U.S. Constitution, even though the church has opposed such laws in the past.

In January 2005, the General Assembly sent letters to President Bush and members of Congress supporting state legislation that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. The letters also urged Congress to enact federal legislation that would recognize civil unions recognized by states. In the letter to the president, Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick wrote:

“The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) declares that all persons are entitled to equal treatment under the law (Constitution of the United States of America). … We further, urge the Congress of the United States of America to recognize those state laws that allow same-gender union and to change federal laws to recognize all civil unions licensed and solemnized under state law to apply in all federal laws that provide benefits, privileges and/or responsibilities to married persons. … We urge you to do all within your power to protect the rights of same-gender persons.”

In May 2004, a high church court overturned the conviction of the Rev. Stephen Van Kuiken, of Cincinnati, who a lower court had found guilty of performing a same-sex marriage ceremony. The court ruled that the Presbyterian constitution does not prohibit ministers from performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. It remains unclear what effect the ruling will have on the future performance of ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Children of Same-Sex Parents

A 2004 document entitled “Transforming Families” observes that same-sex couples make up a significant portion of the American population, and that many are raising children. It also urges Presbyterians to treat the children of same-sex couples equal to other children:

“From the studies that have been conducted over the past twenty years, no significant differences have been found between children reared by homosexual parents and children reared by a traditional set of heterosexual parents. …  Despite lack of agreement among Presbyterians regarding same-sex families, children of such couples need the same advocacy, protection, and respect that we encourage for all other children.”

LGBT Clergy

When the General Assembly first addressed this issue in 1976, it declared that non-celibate gays and lesbians should not be ordained although it suggested that married or celibate “repentant homosexual person[s]” should be allowed and even encouraged to join the clergy. According to “The Church and Homosexuality”:

“For the church to ordain a self-affirming, practicing homosexual person to ministry would be to act in contradiction to its charter and calling in Scripture, setting in motion both within the church and society serious contradictions to the will of Christ.

“The repentant homosexual person who finds the power of Christ redirecting his or her sexual desires toward a married heterosexual commitment, or finds God’s power to control his or her desires and to adopt a celibate lifestyle, can certainly be ordained. … Indeed, such candidates must be welcomed and be free to share their full identity. Their experience of hatred and rejection may have given them a unique capacity for love and sensitivity as wounded healers among heterosexual Christians, and they may be incomparably equipped to extend the church’s outreach to the homosexual community.

“We believe that Jesus Christ intends the ordination of officers to be a sign of hope to the church and the world. Therefore our present understanding of God’s will precludes the ordination of persons who do not repent of homosexual practice.”

In 1996, the ban on non-celibate gay and lesbian clergy members became official doctrine when it was added as an amendment to the church constitution. Ordained church leaders are required “to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” Since 1996, the amendment has been challenged by GLB rights advocates at least five times.

In July 2004, after a high-profile debate, the General Assembly voted to preserve the ban. Supporters of LGB rights promised to bring the issue up at the next meeting in 2006. Some Presbyterian leaders who support the ban have predicted that if the ban is overturned, it could cause a major schism within the church.

Voices for LGBT Presbyterians

·         More Light Presbyterians seeks to make the church more inclusive of GLB people.

·         That All May Freely Serve aims to lift the ban on the ordination of GLB Presbyterian clergy members.

·         The Covenant Network of Presbyterians strives to preserve church unity and advance a progressive mission for the denomination.

·         The Shower of Stoles Project was founded by a former Presbyterian minister to call attention to the number of clergy members who had been denied ordination, or forced to leave the church or live closeted lives due to their sexual orientation.

Headquarters Location:

If you would like to communicate with the Presbyterian Church (USA), here is their mailing address:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
100 Witherspoon St.
Louisville, KY 40202-1396

 

 

UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-united-methodist-church

Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues: United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church, with an estimated 10.4 million members, has current policies that are strongly against the LGBT community. However, many church leaders, including local pastors, welcome gays and lesbians as church members and support their basic human rights. The denomination prohibits ministers from blessing same-sex unions and condemns gay sex. It also officially excludes noncelibate gay and lesbian people from ordination, though this rule has been the subject of recent controversy.

Transgender clergy stand in an awkward and precarious position as there is no specific stance stated in the Book of Discipline, which is the instrument for setting forth the laws, plan, polity, and process by which United Methodists govern themselves.

Rights for Gays and Lesbians

Regarding the denomination’s particular stance on homosexuality, the 2012 Book of Discipline states:

“The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us.  We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.”

The church has officially denounced homophobia and heterosexism and is committed to their eradication.  The denomination explicitly states that gays and lesbians are of equal sacred worth as heterosexuals and should be welcomed into United Methodist families and congregations.

Likewise, the General Board of Church and Society of the UMC, which seeks to relate the gospel of Jesus Christ to the members of the Church and to the persons and structures of the communities and world in which they live,  encouraged the repeal of the U.S. military policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” You can read the United Methodist resolution on this at “‘Military Service Regardless of Sexual Orientation’” (Faith in Action, Nov. 19, 2010).

The United Methodist Church’s highest policy-making body, General Conference, stated that the U.S. military should not exclude persons from service solely on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. General Conference has called this policy “discriminatory, unethical and regrettable.”

The United Methodist Church also supports “certain basic human rights and civil liberties” for gays and lesbians, including some limited recognition of same-sex relationships. For example, the 2008 Book of Discipline states:

“Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation. We see a clear issue of simple justice in protecting the rightful claims where people have shared material resources, pensions, guardian relationships, mutual powers of attorney, and other such lawful claims typically attendant to contractual relationships that involve shared contributions, responsibilities, and liabilities, and equal protection before the law. Moreover, we support efforts to stop violence and other forms of coercion against all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.”

However, the denomination’s top court declined to reconsider Judicial Council Decision 1032 at the end of October 2010. Decision 1032 states that a United Methodist pastor has the right to determine local church membership, even if the decision is based on the person’s sexual orientation.

Sexual Relations

The 2008 Book of Discipline frames the UMC’s beliefs about human sexuality, “Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.”

Blessing of Same-Sex Unions

The church forbids United Methodist ministers from performing weddings or commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples even in states where it is legal or for its buildings to be used for such ceremonies. Ministers in violation could be defrocked, but some United Methodist ministers have publicly performed them, despite the church’s regulations. For example, in 2013, church officials defrocked Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist pastor from central Pennsylvania who officiated his son’s gay wedding in Massachusetts.

At the 2012 General Conference, the policy forbidding the blessing of same-sex unions was challenged but upheld. The conference delegates also upheld church’s official doctrine declaring support for “laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

In 2012, the General Conference reaffirmed that marriage is between a man and a woman by stating:

“We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman. We believe that God’s blessing rests upon such marriage, whether or not there are children of the union. We reject social norms that assume different standards for women than for men in marriage. We support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Additionally, the UMC’s Judicial Council ruled in 2009 that church law prohibits clergy from performing same-sex marriages or commitment ceremonies. Thus, the denomination does not sanction civil union ceremonies or weddings conducted by UMC ministers or in UMC churches, despite appeals from some regional congregations and clergy that it does so.

In 2011, some 70 United Methodist ministers in Minnesota announced that they’re willing to marry gay couples. They signed a statement at Minnesota’s Annual United Methodist Clergy Conference, saying they would “offer the grace of the Church’s blessing to any prepared couple desiring Christian marriage.” The move by the ministers comes as Minnesota voters prepare to vote next year on a constitutional amendment that would define marriage in the state as being only between one man and one woman.

Ordination of Gay and Lesbian Ministers

The UMC’s official doctrine bars “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from the clergy.

“While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”

“Self-avowed practicing homosexual” is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual.

In March 2004, an openly lesbian pastor in Seattle, the Rev. Karen Dammann, was acquitted on charges of violating church law. Her trial and acquittal stirred up furor among UMC leaders on both sides of the issue. In May 2004, the Judicial Council declared that bishops could not appoint ministers who had been found to be “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.” The court also said that it did not have the authority to reverse Dammann’s acquittal.

In December 2004, in a church court trial in Pennsylvania, the jury voted to remove the Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud from the ministry. Stroud had come out to her congregation more than a year earlier, saying that she lived in a “covenant relationship” with her same-sex partner. The trial verdict was overturned on appeal, but the original verdict was reinstated by the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church in October 2005.

Prior to 2004, the last time a United Methodist minister had been defrocked because of his or her sexual orientation was in 1987, when a church court in New Hampshire ruled against another out lesbian, the Rev. Rose Mary Denman.

On June 21 – 23, 2011, the United Methodist Church once again wrestled with the issue of homosexuality in a public church trial for the seventh time in 20 years

The Rev. Amy DeLong, an out lesbian clergy member of the Wisconsin Annual Conference, faced two charges of violating church law and the possibility of losing her ministerial credentials. Her trial began June 21 at Peace United Methodist Church in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. DeLong was charged with violating the United Methodist Church’s ban on non-celibate, gay clergy and the prohibition against clergy officiating at same-sex unions.

The trial court acquitted her of being a “self-avowed practicing homosexual” by a vote of 12-1. The same panel unanimously found her guilty of violating the prohibition against conducting ceremonies celebrating same-gender unions.

After seven hours of deliberations, a jury of 13 United Methodist clergy voted 9-4 to suspend the Rev. Amy DeLong from her ministerial functions for 20 days. Part of the penalty required DeLong to use those 20 days for “spiritual discernment” and to work with a committee of church officials on creating a new process for resolving disputes over ministerial violations of church covenant.

The trial came at a time when the denomination’s longtime debate over homosexuality was rekindled in advance of the 2012 General Conference. Only the General Conference can change The Book of Discipline.

In February 2011, 36 retired bishops signed A Statement of Counsel to the Church A Statement of Counsel to the Church2011, urging the denomination to end its ban on gay clergy. About 42 percent of the denomination’s 85 retired bishops signed the statement. However, neither active nor retired bishops are allowed to vote at General Conference, which meets every four years.

Transgender Issues

In 2007, The Rev. Drew Phoenix spoke at both a closed clergy session and a general plenary session in May during the annual conference meeting at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington. In his statement to the plenary session, the 48-year-old pastor explained that “last fall, after a lifelong spiritual journey, and years of prayer and discernment, I decided to change my name from Ann Gordon to Drew Phoenix in order to reflect my true gender identity and to honor my spiritual transformation and relationship with God.”

The issue of transgender clergy came to the forefront of the denomination in 2007 when Bishop John R. Schol reappointed Phoenix as pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Baltimore, MD. The Bishop said the 2004 Book of Discipline did not prevent transgender clergy from serving in an appointment. The denomination’s highest court affirmed that decision, agreeing that gender change is not addressed in the United Methodist constitution.

While church policy does not permit self-avowed practicing gay clergy to be appointed and bans gay unions, it says nothing about transgender clergy.

Phoenix is not the first United Methodist transgender clergy member. In 2002, the Rev. Rebecca A. Steen decided to leave the denomination after controversy over her desire to return to active ministry after gender reassignment. She had sought voluntary leave from the conference in 1999. Prior to that time, Steen, who was then the Rev. Richard A. Zamostny, had served churches in three Maryland communities during a 17-year career.

In Aug. 2009, the Rev. David Weekley started telling the story of his experience as a transgender man, beginning with his own congregation. In an effort to expand the discussion about sexuality and gender throughout the denomination, Weekley came out despite a climate of reluctance to discussing LGBT inclusion in the church.

Resources for LGBT United Methodists

The Reconciling Ministries Network is a coalition of LGBT-inclusive UMC congregations and ministries that offers contact information for LGBT-friendly churches around the United States.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns encourages more inclusive policies for LGBT people within the church.

The Methodist Federation for Social Action works to advance social justice policies within the church, including advocacy on behalf of LGBT people.

Film: Incompatible with Christian Teaching is a documentary film directed by Anne Brown, detailing the stories of clergy and laity, and GLBT and straight allies.

http://wipfandstock.com/store/In_from_the_Wilderness_Sherman_Shermanis the link where you can purchase Rev. David Weekley’s book In From the Wilderness (She-R-Man).

Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the United Methodist Church in the United States, here is their mailing address:

United Methodist
Office of Public Information
810 Twelfth St. South
Nashville, TN 37203

 

United Church of Christ

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-united-church-of-christ

The United Church of Christ, a mainline Protestant denomination with about 1.3 million members, has been one of the most accepting religious groups of LGBT people, although not every church in the denomination is supportive. The church’s General Synod recently endorsed full civil and religious marriage rights for same-sex couples.

During the 2011 Human Rights Campaign’s Clergy Call, for which hundreds of clergy and faith community leaders from across the country joined HRC’s Religion and Faith Program to build up the faithful movement for LGBT justice, the Rev. Geoffrey Black (General Minister and President of the UCC) spoke at the press conference. He said:

“In the United Church of Christ we believe that every person is a child of God and is endowed by God with dignity and worth that human judgment cannot set aside.  When persons are bullied because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, a member of the family of God is harmed.  LGBT people face such discrimination on school grounds, at the work place, in their neighborhoods and places of worship. For us these are matters of grave moral concern.”

1.      LGBTs Welcome

In 1985, the UCC’s national organization, the General Synod, began a national effort to reach out to gay, lesbian and bisexual church members through its Open and Affirming movement. Churches that are designated Open and Affirming have publicly declared themselves welcoming to LGB members, leaders and employees. In its resolution, “Calling on United Church of Christ Congregations to Declare Themselves Open and Affirming,” the General Synod said:

“Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are often scorned by the church, and devalued and discriminated against both in the church and in society. We commit ourselves to caring and concern for lesbian, gay and bisexual sisters and brothers by affirming that:

“We believe that lesbian, gay and bisexual people share with all others the worth that comes from being unique individuals;
“We welcome lesbian, gay and bisexual people to join our congregation in the same spirit and manner used in the acceptance of any new members;
“We recognize the presence of ignorance, fear and hatred in the church and in our culture, and covenant to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, nor any other irrelevant factor, and we seek to include and support those who, because of this fear and prejudice, find themselves in exile from a spiritual community;
“We seek to address the needs and advocate the concerns of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in our church and in society by actively encouraging churches, instrumentalities and secular governmental bodies to adopt and implement policies of non-discrimination. …
“[This resolution] encourages a policy of non-discrimination in employment, volunteer service and membership policies with regard to sexual orientation; encourages associations, conferences and all related organizations to adopt a similar policy; and encourages the congregations of the United Church of Christ to adopt a non-discrimination policy and a Covenant of Openness and Affirmation of persons of lesbian, gay and bisexual orientation within the community of faith.”

Although the original declaration referred only to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, today the denomination extends its welcome to transgender people as well. The General Synod passed a 2003 resolution to that effect, entitled, “Affirming the Participation and Ministry of Transgender People within the United Church of Christ and Supporting Their Civil and Human Rights.” The resolution instructed UCC members to advocate for the civil rights of transgender people and created a task force to study the inclusion of transgender people in UCC churches. It can be read here: AFFIRMING THE PARTICIPATION AND MINISTRY OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE 

The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns encourages all Open and Affirming churches to specifically include references to transgender people in their welcoming statements.

The UCC website also contains a statement arguing that there’s no basis in the Bible for discrimination against LGBT people. The Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer wrote:

“There is a significant and growing consensus among biblical scholars about the few biblical texts that are often referenced as the basis for condemning same-gender loving people of God. Contemporary biblical scholarship argues strongly against this condemnation and finds a much more significant Gospel message that supports the inclusion of LGBT persons into the full life and mission of the church.” –From “Message Concerning the Open and Affirming, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Ministries of the United Church of Christ.”

Because individual UCC congregations are autonomous, however, they are not bound to become Open and Affirming churches. The General Synod only recommends that they do so. According to the Open and Affirming office, more than 954 out of 6,000 churches are officially listed as participants in the movement. This is 20 % of all UCC Churches. However, many congregations that have not officially joined the ONA program still welcome LGBT members.

The UCC also offers several support groups for the LGBT community, including bisexual members and the parents of LGBT people.

Pro-LGBT Advertising

In December 2004, as part of a national campaign to increase public awareness about the denomination, the UCC launched a television commercial that highlighted its inclusivity. The commercial showed a same-sex couple being turned away from one church only to be welcomed into a UCC church. The ad garnered significant media attention after both NBC and CBS deemed it too controversial to air. LGBT advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, protested the networks’ decision as discriminatory. The denomination stood by the ad, and it was shown on several other networks.

Likewise, in March 2006, another television commercial launched by the UCC to highlight its inclusivity was rejected by four major television networks. The 30-second commercial for the church showed a gay couple, a single mother and a disabled man flying out of their pews as an unidentified hand pushed a red “ejector” button.” On screen text read, ‘God doesn’t reject people. Neither do we’, as a voiceover says, “The United Church of Christ. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.” CBS, Fox, ABC and NBC all said no to showing the ad; however, CNN, USA, TNT, BET and eight other cable networks, along with three Spanish-language stations, aired the ad in April.

Marriage Equality

The UCC has been one of the most supportive denominations in the fight for marriage equality for same-sex couples. Many UCC clergy members across the country regularly perform same-sex union ceremonies.

At the UCC General Synod’s annual meeting in July 2005, the delegates voted to endorse full civil and religious marriage equality for same-sex couples. The measure, which passed overwhelmingly with 80 percent of the delegates voting in its favor, marked the first time a mainline Christian church in the United States officially endorsed same-sex marriage equality. Before the meeting, the denomination’s then general minister and president, the Rev. John H. Thomas, officially endorsed it. In his statement, “Marriage Equality and the General Synod of the United Church of Christ,” Thomas said:

“The General Synod, through sound biblical and theological reflection over many years, has affirmed the full dignity, humanity, and worth of all persons regardless of sexual orientation, an affirmation grounded in our creation in the image of God.  We have called for the removal of one’s sexual orientation as a barrier to ordination and to all other forms of service in the church.  We understand baptism to be the foundation of one’s incorporation into the body of Christ, affirming the primacy of grace over every other category of human accomplishment or failure or human status, including sexual orientation.  Many of our congregations have offered blessing to same gender couples and many, if not most of our congregations, include same gender couples who are models to us of family life, including parenting. We have opposed discrimination in civil society and we believe that public policy should be informed by faith, but not controlled by the religious teachings of any one denomination or tradition in our pluralistic society.  On what basis do we now draw the line between everything we have said, affirmed, and experienced and the extension of those commitments to the civil status and ecclesial rite of marriage for all, not just for some?”

In April 2004, the UCC Executive Council publicly denounced the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have written discrimination against same-sex couples into the U.S. Constitution. The council also called for the repeal of the anti-gay federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 and state-level legislation that restricted the rights of same-sex couples. In their statement, “Call to Action and Invitation to Dialogue on Marriage,” UCC leaders said:

“We hold that, as a child of God, every person is endowed with worth and dignity that human judgment cannot set aside. We believe that recognition of the sacred joining of individuals is deserving of serious, faithful discussion by people of faith, taking into consideration the long, complex history of marriage and family life, layered as it is by cultural practices, economic realities, political dynamics, religious history and biblical interpretation.”

“Because there is a need to end the rhetoric which fuels hostility, misunderstanding, fear and hatred expressed toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, and the denial of their equality under the law … we … affirm equal rights for all couples who seek to have their relationships recognized by the state.”

The UCC website contains a number of supportive resources for clergy members and congregations about marriage equality, including publications entitled:

·         SAME SEX COUPLES IN THE CONGREGATION

·         THE PRIOR QUESTION: A THEOLOGICAL BASIS FOR BLESSING SAME GENDER …

·         WHY THE FEDERAL “DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE” ACT (DOMA) IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

When marriage became legal for same-sex couples in Massachusetts in May 2004, the state conference allowed individual UCC clergy members to decide whether they would perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. It was the only denomination within the 16 members of the Massachusetts Council of Churches that gave its clergy that choice. UCC volunteers also went to courthouses across Massachusetts on May 17, the first day same-sex couples became eligible to apply for marriage licenses, and passed out coffee and cookies to the couples waiting in line.

LGBT Clergy

In 1972, the UCC became the first mainline Protestant denomination to ordain an openly gay minister, the Rev. William R. Johnson. In 1977, it became the first to ordain an openly lesbian minister, the Rev. Anne Holmes. In 2003, there were approximately 300 openly gay or lesbian UCC ministers, according to Johnson. A number of transgender clergy members also serve in UCC churches, according to remarks made by UCC officials at the 2003 General Synod meeting. The denomination offers a $500,000 scholarship fund to LGBT seminary students.

Support for HIV/AIDS Issues

The UCC has an HIV/AIDS Ministry which focuses much of its attention on addressing the ways the disease affects people of color. It also suggests that congregations take part in local prevention efforts, including testing, counseling, sex education and needle exchange programs. The denomination encourages its members to make donations to the Global AIDS Ministry Fund.

Opposition within the Church

The UCC is a diverse denomination and not all its members and congregations embrace LGBT equality. Because UCC organizations and churches are autonomous and not held accountable by any national governing body, groups that disagree with the General Synod or Executive Council are able to discriminate against LGBT people without fearing reprimand from the national denomination. For example, in 2003, the Western North Carolina Association of local UCC churches banned the ordination of openly gay clergy members, and the General Synod had no authority to prevent the policy from taking effect.

In addition, a national group of UCC church members, the Biblical Witness Fellowship, often denounces the denomination’s support for LGBT equality. The group opposes the ordination of LGBT ministers and publicly criticized the denomination’s creation of a scholarship fund for LGBT seminarians. The group has also proposed several anti-gay resolutions to the General Synod. None have passed.

Some congregations also criticized the Executive Council’s opposition to the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment. In June 2004, the First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, Conn. — the largest UCC church in New England — voted overwhelmingly to become independent from the denomination, citing the UCC’s support for marriage equality as one of its major reasons for doing so.

Resources for LGBT UCC Members

The United Church of Christ’s LGBT Ministries

The United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns offers resources for LGBT members and coordinates the Open and Affirming church program.

Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the United Church of Christ, here is their mailing address:

United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

 

Pentecostals

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-pentecostals

About 25 percent of the world’s Christians are Pentecostal or charismatic. Pentecostal congregations are growing rapidly throughout the world, especially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  Pentecostalism is a broad term that encompasses a range of theological perspectives. Most Pentecostals identify as Protestant and Evangelical but are distinguished by their emphasis on direct personal experience with God through the Holy Spirit. From there, Pentecostals differ theologically and structurally. A few of the main denominations that exist within Pentecostalism are: Church of God in Christ, the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Assemblies of God, the United Pentecostal Church International, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, and Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Pentecostal congregations have historically condemned homosexuality, and most Pentecostal denominations have doctrinal statements condemning homosexuality, such as the International Pentecostal Holiness Church’s statement, “We have maintained a strong position against premarital, extramarital, and deviant sex, including homosexual and lesbian relationships, refusing to accept the loose moral standards of our society. We commit ourselves to maintaining this disciplined lifestyle with regard to our bodies.”

Resources for LGBT Pentecostals:

Fellowship of Reconciling Pentecostals International –a network of Pentecostal ministers, churches, and ministries who affirm LGBT Pentecostals
Freedom 2 Be – support for LGBT people from Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions

 

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-religious-society-of-friends-quakers

A small denomination with approximately 92,000 adherents in the United States, the Religious Society of Friends has a history of joining struggles for peace and social justice, based on its testimonies of peace and equality. There is no central authority that speaks for all Quakers, however, and the Religious Society of Friends has not come to unity on matters related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and recognition.

Many Quaker communities are open and welcoming to LGBT people, and an increasing number take the marriages and unions of LGBT couples under their care. Others hold differing views on a wide range of LGBT issues, including nondiscrimination, civil marriage rights, support for families headed by LGBT people, and spiritual equality.

Friends have a history of fighting for social justice, and they traditionally welcome all people to their meetings. Some Friends organizations also bless unions between same-sex couples and advocate for LGBT rights in the legal and political arenas.

LGBT Friends

Many local Friends communities welcome LGBT people unequivocally. In addition, the Friends General Conference, one of three major national associations for Friends meetings and churches in the United States, issued a statement in fall 2004, “Minute on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Friends,” emphasizing that LGBT people were welcome in their religious community:

“Our experience has been that spiritual gifts are not distributed with regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Our experience has been that our Gatherings and Central Committee work have been immeasurably enriched over the years by the full participation and Spirit-guided leadership of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer Friends. We will never go back to silencing those voices or suppressing those gifts. Our experience confirms that we are all equal before God, as God made us, and we feel blessed to be engaged in the work of Friends General Conference together.”

In addition, the American Friends Service Committee, an independent Quaker organization working nonviolently for peace, human rights and social and economic justice, has been involved in advocacy for LGBT rights and recognition since the 1960s. In November 1999, the AFSC board of directors issued a statement, “A Concern About Sexual and Gender Identity,” expressing their support for GLBT equality:

“We believe that sexuality is governed by the same New Testament ethic that guides every other conduct choice for faithful Christians. Responsibility, mutuality, love, justice, non violence, non domination, and non exploitation characterize what Jesus called the “Kingdom of God.” How will sexual expression of love be judged? “By their fruits you shall know them” (Mt. 7:20). Does this relationship create an environment of love and justice? Does it further the creation of loving and sustaining community? Loving relationships stand on the Friends testimony of equality. As people of faith, we celebrate all loving relationships and decry those relationships based on the exploitation of the young, poor and powerless of whatever gender, orientation or age.

“We find that claiming our full sexuality becomes a joyful act of obedience and trust in our Creator’s wisdom. When we trust the expression of our sexual identity in a loving and just relationship, our reliance on and commitment to God’s revealed leadings is deepened. Doing so compels a sincere and continual search for God’s way in this most intimate and undefended area of our lives.  The resulting varieties of relationship and gender identity, in their complex, responsible, rich and surprising range, are a continuing reminder that God’s plan is beyond human understanding. “

Same-Sex Unions

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, an independent political advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., issued a statement in March 2004 opposing the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment. In the document, “The Proposed Federal Marriage Amendment: Unconstitutional and Divisive,” the FCNL also noted that Friends in the United States had not taken an official position to support full marriage equality for same-sex couples:

“The Religious Society of Friends has not reached unity on the issue of same-sex marriage. Therefore, FCNL does not advocate for or against same-sex marriage. However, as a matter of long-standing FCNL policy, we seek a society free from discrimination, including discrimination based on gender, creed or sexual orientation. We believe that equal treatment by the government of all people is a basic human right, fundamental to the integrity of the law. We oppose adoption of the proposed ‘Marriage Amendment’ to the U.S. Constitution on legal grounds because … the proposed amendment would restrict the civil rights of a particular group and would permanently legalize discrimination against that group by means of the Constitution.”

While none of the three major associations of Friends in the United States has made a statement affirming the right of same-sex couples to marriage equality, the Canadian Yearly Meeting approved a “Minute of Record” in August 2003 stating that individual Friends organizations could decide whether they would recognize marriages between same-sex couples. The statement also supported the right of same-sex couples to enter into legal marriages and noted that same-sex relationships were equal in value to opposite-sex relationships:

“Whether or not to support same-sex marriages is decided at the local Meeting level. Some Meetings have chosen to recognize marriage as open to both opposite- and same-sex couples, and several have taken same-sex marriages under their care, even when these relationships were not recognized in law as marriages. Our experiences and discernment on this issue have been partly shaped by the presence in our community of wonderful, loving, committed same-sex relationships. We have experience of couples in same-sex relationships that are bringing up children in the same loving way we would expect any family we know to do. ‘Love makes a family.’ We strongly object to statements by some religious groups that it is harmful to children to be brought up in same-sex families. Whether a family is a loving and supportive place, or is a harmful place to bring up children, does not depend upon the gender of the parents. We also support the right of same-sex couples to a civil marriage and the extension of the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.”

In January 2004, AFSC also affirmed its support for civil marriage equality:

“We minute our support for equal civil marriage rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people equal to those for heterosexuals. We are aware that many are calling for civil unions for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and some people wish to reserve civil marriage for heterosexual couples alone. It is our belief that government sanction should be applied equally. All couples should be granted civil union licenses or all should be granted marriage licenses.

“In doing so, we are careful to distinguish between civil law, in which no single religious view should predominate, and the right of various faith traditions, denominations and congregations to decide for themselves whether they will perform, support, or recognize the marriages of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Similarly, we wish to distinguish between the necessity for equality in the matter of civil law and coercive governmental “marriage promotion” policies that seek to enforce only one standard of worthiness for people who receive government assistance. We uphold equality in civil law and the principle of free choice in the matter of marriage while rejecting the idea that the worthiness of persons and families is determined by marital status.”

Non-Discrimination

Over the past century, Friends have often been noted for their opposition to discrimination and have been active in many civil rights movements in the United States, including the fight for LGBT equality. Several Friends organizations have issued statements opposing discrimination against LGBT people. For example, in 1974, the Illinois Yearly Meeting approved a statement, called a “Minute,” arguing for non-discrimination laws to protect LGB people and calling for the removal of state sodomy laws:

“Homosexual and bisexual people in this society are subject to serious discrimination in many areas: in employment, housing, medical care, family life education, parental rights and the right to worship. We believe sexual acts in private between consenting adults should be removed from all criminal sanctions. Civil rights should be extended to protect homosexual and bisexual people just as they now protect other groups which suffer discrimination. We urge Friends and Friendly organizations to work for appropriate legislation.”

The Friends United Meeting, one of the three major associations for Friends in the United States, issued a policy statement in 1988, “Minute 88-GB-52,” calling for equal rights protections for gays and lesbians:

“We affirm the civil rights of all people to secular employment, housing, education and health care without regard to their sexual orientation. In particular, we condemn violence, whether verbal or physical, against homosexuals, and call for their full protection under the civil rights laws.”

In a 1999 statement, “A Concern About Sexual and Gender Identity,” AFSC reaffirmed its commitment to LGBT equality, saying:

We call on Friends and members of the AFSC organization to speak out against any attack on the civil and human rights of persons because of their sexuality or gender identity. We find that some religious rhetoric has been used to deny civil and human rights and, worse, used as justification by those filled with hate to commit violent and aggressive acts against those who only seek to love. We particularly deplore any attack on the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons couched in religious terms or attributed to scriptures. These acts are contrary to our own experience of God.”

Opposition to LGBT Equality

All local Friends organizations are autonomous, and some have not embraced LGBT equality. In fact, some local and regional groups have taken steps to oppose it. In addition, in the Friends United Meeting’s 1988 policy statement, “Minute 88-GB-52,” the association noted that marriage and sex should be confined to opposite-sex couples, also noting that FUM volunteers should abstain from sex outside of opposite-sex marriages:

“We recognize that there is diversity among us on issues of sexuality. For the purpose of our corporate life together, we affirm our traditional testimony that sexual intercourse should be confined to the bonds of marriage, which we understand to be between one man and one woman.

“The lifestyle of volunteers under appointment to Quaker Volunteer Witness, regardless of sexual orientation, should be in accordance with these testimonies.”

Resources for LGBT Friends

·         Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns, founded in 1972, is a national Quaker faith community that holds biannual gatherings as well as regional meetings.

·         The American Friends Service Committee works nonviolently for peace, human rights, social justice and economic security. A national representative for GLBT issues and four regional programs work for GLBT rights and recognition, with special emphasis on organizing in faith communities and working with youth.

·         The Quaker Lesbian Conference organizes fellowship activities for lesbians and bisexual women.

·         Friends Committee on National Legislation

Contact the Religious Society of Friends

Please note that the Friends organizations listed below follow differing spiritual leadings in the matter of LGBT rights and recognition.

If you would like to communicate with Evangelical Friends International — North America, here is their mailing address:

World Outreach Center (EFCER)
5350 Broadmoor Circle, NW
Canton, Ohio 4470

If you would like to communicate with the Friends General Conference, here is their mailing address:

Friends General Conference
1216 Arch St #2B
Philadelphia, PA 19107

If you would like to communicate with the Friends United Meeting, here is their mailing address:

Friends United Meeting
101 Quaker Hill Drive
Richmond IN 47374-1980

 

Church of God in Christ

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/faith-positions?gclid=Cj0KEQjw0POdBRCq3arGgYD05pMBEiQAmiUeTjjja-puuXuXn1a9oOdNGzzNR3cgbyHR0-Dm6lJsuN8aAnDX8P8HAQ

The Church of God in Christ, a largely African-American denomination with 5.5 million members, has traditionally established no formal policy about the issues that affect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. But, as in other Pentecostal denominations, it has long been clear that the church condemns homosexuality. And in 2004, church leaders articulated that condemnation in a rare statement against marriage equality for gay, lesbian and bisexual couples.

It has, to date, remained silent on transgender members.

On Marriage Equality

Marriage, according to the Church of God in Christ, is for procreation only. Ignoring the fact that millions of gay and lesbian people are, in fact, raising children through a variety of means, the church asserts that only heterosexual couples should be entitled to marry. Its April 2004 statement, “Marriage: A Proclamation to the Church of God in Christ Worldwide,” states:

Marriage between male and female provide the structure for conceiving and raising children. Compliance with this command of God is a physical and biological impossibility in same-sex unions. We, therefore, believe that only marriages between a male and female, as ordained by God, is essential for the procreation of mankind.”

The statement, moreover, goes on to condemn same-sex relations as sinful. It reads:

“We believe that the homosexual practices of same-sex couples are in violation of religious and social norms and are aberrant and deviant behavior. We believe that these unions are sinful and in direct violation of the law of God in that they are a deviation from the natural use and purpose of the body.”

Finally, the statement concludes, the church will “never” change its position, no matter how these relationships are recognized by society:

“Therefore, in spite of the progressive normalization of alternative lifestyles and the growing legal acceptance of same-sex unions, we declare our opposition to any deviation from traditional marriages of male and female. Notwithstanding the rulings of the court systems of the land in support of same-sex unions, we resolve that the Church of God in Christ stand resolutely firm and never allow the sanctioning of same-sex marriages by its clergy, nor [sic] recognize the legitimacy of such unions.”

Resources for LGBT African-American Christians

·         Operation Rebirth offers a list of inclusive churches nationwide that are said to “preach God’s love to and for all people” regardless of race, creed, color, gender, socioeconomic background or sexual orientation.

Headquarters Location
If you would like to communicate with the Church of God in Christ, here is their mailing address:

Church of God in Christ, Inc.
938 Mason St.
Memphis, TN 38126

 

Unity Church

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-unity

The Unity movement was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in 1890 as a healing ministry based on the power of prayer and the power of our thoughts to create our own reality. The Fillmores regarded Jesus as the great example rather than the great exception; interpreted the Bible metaphysically; and taught that God is present within all of us.

The five basic ideas that make up the Unity belief system are: 1) God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere. 2) We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good. 3) We create our life’s experiences through our way of thinking. 4) There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our awareness of God. 5) Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them. The Unity movement is open and welcoming of all individuals regardless of race, color, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability or sexual orientation.

LGBT Inclusive

Unity teaches that all people are created with sacred worth and that no one exists outside the heart of God. Its basic principles state that God is Good, and because all people exist within God, they also are inherently good. To reflect its inclusiveness, Unity issued a formal Statement of Diversity in 1995:

“We believe that all people are created with sacred worth. Therefore, we recognize the importance of serving all people within the Unity family in spiritually and emotionally caring ways. We strive for our ministries, publications and programs to reach out to all who seek Unity support and spiritual growth. It is imperative that our ministries and outreaches be free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability or sexual orientation. Our sincere desire is to ensure that all Unity organizations are nondiscriminatory and support diversity.

In our effort to reach out to all people as did our Way Shower, Jesus Christ, we support the modification of our facilities to make them accessible to all people, regardless of physical challenges; the translation of our materials into Braille and other languages; and respect for the wonderful variety of human commitments and relationships.

We encourage ministers, teachers and others within Unity to honor the strength of diversity within their spiritual communities. It is with love and in celebration of our unity, in the midst of our wondrous diversity, that we affirm this position.”

Additionally, in 2011, Unity launched an LGBT Resource Center to provide spiritual resources geared to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community. The resource center includes articles, podcasts, prayer support and a list of Unity churches and centers around the country. Site resources are provided by teachers, authors and contributors both inside and outside the Unity movement.

Marriage Rights

Though Unity takes no official position on social issues, Unity churches are free to support same-sex marriages. Unity Village, the world headquarters of the Unity movement, and many churches and centers perform holy unions and marriages where they are legal.

LGBT Ministers

The Unity movement accepts and welcomes LGBT ministers, licensed Unity teachers, and ministerial and licensed Unity teacher candidates. While no specific data is available, a sizeable percentage of Unity ministers and congregants are connected to the LGBT community

 

Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues: Unitarian Universalist Association

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-unitarian-universalist-association

The Unitarian Universalist Association has supported full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people since 1970 — and today markets itself to the LGBT community as an inclusive religious organization.

Openly LGBT people are welcomed as members and may hold any church office. The UUA supports marriage rights for same-sex couples. It also has called for legislation to prohibit discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Unitarian Universalist Association has 183,000 members, according to the 2000 estimate from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

LGBT-Inclusive

In a promotional brochure, the Unitarian Universalists state:

“Whenever Unitarian Universalists are called on to take a position on bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender issues, the sentiment is always overwhelming: the human family is one, and the fears and hatred that divide us must be overcome. Human loving and human sexuality are also sacred when shared between members of the same gender. The culture and history of bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people is important to all of society.”

UU congregations may elect to join the Welcoming Congregation program and participate in workshops on gender socialization, homophobia and religious perspectives on homosexuality. The UUA also makes available The Welcoming Congregation Handbook: Resources for Affirming Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and/or Transgender People for congregations to use in developing programs and services.

As of 2004, more than 43 percent of UU congregations were officially recognized Welcoming Congregations. In addition, all UU congregations are guided by resolutions calling for them to welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and oppose any form of discrimination against LGBT people.

In 2002, the Rev. Sean Dennison became the first out transgender person to serve as the parish minister of a UU congregation, in Salt Lake City.

Marriage Rights

In 1984, the UUA General Assembly passed a resolution affirming the right of UU ministers to perform same-sex union ceremonies, and clergy have performed them ever since.

In 2004, Unitarian Universalist congregations and clergy took the lead in performing wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples in Massachusetts, the first state to make marriage legal for same-sex couples. Local congregations advertised their availability for ceremonies in LGBT publications, while some UU ministers went to town and city halls to perform wedding ceremonies for any couple who requested one. Some congregations also held celebrations of marriage equality during their Sunday services. Hillary and Julie Goodridge, the lead plaintiffs in the case that made marriage legal for same-sex couples in Massachusetts, were married May 17, 2004, at church’s headquarters in Boston by the Rev. William G. Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

In addition, the church openly opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, which proposed to write discrimination against same-sex couples into the U.S. Constitution. It was defeated in the U.S. Senate in July 2004.

Opposition to Discrimination

The Unitarian Universalist Association has opposed discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS status since 1986. It also opposes discrimination against LGBT people in the U.S. military and has endorsed the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

A resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1987 requires that members of the church voice their dissatisfaction with local laws that discriminate against LGBT people:

“When denominational meetings are held in locations where [anti-LGBT] discriminatory laws exist, Unitarian Universalists planning and attending the meetings are urged to adopt creative program methods to support rescission of laws governing private sexual behavior between consenting adults and to support passage of laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

In 2004, the General Assembly passed a resolution advocating public school sex education curricula that include teaching about heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Education on LGBT Issues

Since the 1970s, the Unitarian Universalists have produced curricula on LGBT people for their congregations. Today, the Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Concerns offers numerous educational resources, such as the “Same-Sex Wedding Guide” and “Pre-Marital Counseling Guide for Same Gender Couples.” It also offers materials on issues relating to transgender people and bisexuality, as well as background information on homosexuality and LGBT issues in general.

Resources for LGBT Unitarian Universalists

·         Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Concerns.

·         Freedom to Marry, for All People is a section of the Unitarian Universalist website devoted to marriage equality.

·         Interweave: Unitarian Universalists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns is a membership organization for LGBT UUs and straight allies.

·         UUA’s Washington Office for Advocacy

Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the Unitarian Universalist Association, here is their mailing address:

Unitarian Universalist Association
25 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02108

 

MORMON CHURCH

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saint

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) is now the fourth largest Christian denomination in the United States and counts over 13 million members worldwide. As the gay rights movement began in the 1950s, the church became fiercely antagonistic toward gay and lesbian people. In the past, gays and lesbians were excommunicated from the church as soon as their orientation was discovered. Being gay was considered by church leaders to be a sinful choice, one that required repentance and could be overcome with different types of reparative therapy. If such treatment failed, gay people would lose their membership in the church.

The church also has been a leading, and vocal, opponent of marriage equality for same-sex couples. A central tenet of Mormon theology is that marriages performed in one of the more than 120 temples in the world bind couples together not only for the rest of their lives, but also in the infinite afterlife. Such traditional families, if their members obey church principles, will live together eternally. Mormon leaders stated in a 1995 “Proclamation to the World” that God has defined the family as a man and a woman married with intent to raise children, and that those who strayed from this would “bring upon individuals, communities and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” This belief makes homosexuality incompatible with a central doctrine of the faith.

As the church has rapidly grown in Africa, Latin America, and other developing parts of the world, non-traditional families are challenging the assumed supremacy of the traditional family in the church. Further, the church has begun to realize that their stridently anti-gay stance is severely splitting many families, the basic societal units the church works so hard to maintain. As a result, the church began to soften its rhetoric and treatment of its LGBT members in recent years. Church publications often counsel members to accept LGBT family members and friends with love and compassion and have repeatedly told parents to refrain from rejecting their children just for being gay or lesbian. At the same time the church consistently tells parents not to condone behavior that is not in harmony with church teachings. At the same time, however, the church has solidified its stand against same-sex marriage, reinforcing its view that full salvation cannot come to those who are not married to opposite-sex spouses.

Bisexual and Transgender Mormons

The Mormon church views bisexual members the same as gays and lesbians. As long as they do not act on their same-sex attraction, they can participate in church activities. An important difference is that bisexual people married to opposite-sex partners can participate in all church activities without any restrictions, as some rites and sacraments are reserved for married couples.

The church has not publically confronted the issue of transgender Mormons. However, a transgender Mormon who has sex reassignment surgery will almost certainly be subject to ecclesiastical discipline.

Because the Mormon church at present rarely speaks about bisexual and transgender people, this piece focuses specifically on gay and lesbian issues.

 

Not an Orientation but a Behavior

Mormon leaders do not speak of a gay or lesbian sexual orientation, though they now fully acknowledge that many people “struggle with same-gender attraction.” In a lengthy 2006 interview on the subject, one leading church authority compared the plight of gay and lesbian people to that of his mentally handicapped daughter, who would never be married but needed to make the best of her lot and be content to receive her reward in Heaven for her righteousness here on Earth.

The church draws a distinction between attractions or feelings and sexual activity. While acknowledging the existence of inclinations and temptations—and admitting they do not know the origins of such leanings—leaders expect of gays and lesbians the same celibacy they require of unmarried heterosexuals. Gay and lesbians can participate fully in church activities as long as they abide by the rule of celibacy, with some restrictions. For example, while a heterosexual adult would be expected to date, gays and lesbians would be viewed with suspicion for similar activities. Leaders counsel gay and lesbian members to avoid associations with LGBT groups and individuals, lest they succumb to the temptation of sexual activity.

Church leaders have expressed the belief that a few people who are unhappy with their same-sex attraction may be able to change their inclinations if they are strongly determined to do so. However, church leaders concede change isn’t possible for everyone and no longer counsel straight marriage as a solution or a “cure.” Although not satisfactory this is a marked shift in attitude from the past.

 

Disciplinary Action

The church considers Mormons who act on feelings of same-sex attraction to have disobeyed church teachings on morality and thus are subject to ecclesiastical discipline. They may be (1) placed on probation (for those desiring to change their behavior), (2) “disfellowshipped” (excluded from participating in the sacraments for a finite period of time while they correct their behavior), or (3) excommunicated.  Members who face a disciplinary council and refuse to repent—or insist that their feelings are integral to who they are—almost always are excommunicated. They lose their membership and cannot participate in any way other than attend meetings. They also lose the eternal ties that bind them to their families and their church.

However, church discipline is administered by local congregations, so the treatment of gays and lesbians may vary by geography and congregation.  Because Mormons don’t shop around for the church that fits them best, but attend the church that is closest too them, geographical difference is particularly significant. 

Treatment of gay and lesbian people by local leaders has moderated in recent years. The church cautions local leaders not to embark on any witch hunts and to leave alone gays and lesbians who do not hold high church positions and who are quiet about their sexuality.  This policy, however, hasn’t always been followed in practice and even when it is amounts to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Gay and lesbian people who have been in leadership positions, and are public about their same-sex relationships or are openly critical of church leadership are apt to face church discipline.

 

Marriage Equality

The Mormon church opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples and has actively worked to stop it in the past. In 1998, for example, then-church President Gordon B. Hinckley issued a statement, saying: “We cannot stand idle if [gays and lesbians] indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.”

In that same year, the church contributed $500,000 to the Alaska Family Coalition and $600,000 to Save Traditional Marriage in Hawaii. In 2000, the church joined forces with other conservative groups to support a campaign to constitutionally ban marriage for same-sex couples in Nevada and supported a fight against marriage equality in California. The church expressed support of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have written discrimination against same-sex couples into the U.S. Constitution.
Support of such ballot measures brought wide-spread criticism both from outside and inside the church. The Mormon church maintains neutrality in partisan politics and has never endorsed a candidate or a political party. So, when the same-sex marriage debate began to polarize political parties, the church stepped into the background. Since 2000 the church has mostly ceased direct funding of such ballot measure efforts and although strong opposition to same-sex marriage remains, church rhetoric has toned down considerably.

After the January 2008 death of President Gordon B. Hinckley, the mantle of leadership fell to Thomas S. Monson. In the past he has not spoken specifically about LGBT issues, but his views became clear within a few months. In late June of 2008 the church’s First Presidency, which Monson leads, sent a letter to all congregations in California asking members to give their time and resources to a coalition of organizations supporting Proposition 8, the November 2008 ballot initiative aimed at altering the California State Constitution in such as way as to define marriage as a legal act between two members of the opposite sex. Since then, local Mormon leaders have called in many of their members and given them specific assignments to canvass their neighborhoods for the proposition and have asked for monetary pledges to support the effort. On August 13, 2008, the church released a more lengthy rationale, explaining in depth their position.

As a reaction, there were a number of public resignations from the church and many Mormons spoke out against the church becoming involved in a political matter. Undeterred, the church considers it a moral matter, not a political one, and continued its campaign.

 

Other resources:

Mormons for Marriage, a group of (mostly) heterosexual people who banded together to oppose California’s Proposition 8.


Resources for LGBT Mormons

·         Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons works to attain equal rights for LGBT people within the Mormon church and to support those struggling with their sexual orientation.

·         The Family Fellowship is a service and support group for Mormons with gay and lesbian family members. It holds that “gay and lesbian Mormons can be great blessings in the lives of their families, and that families can be great blessings in the lives of their gay and lesbian members.”

·         The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website.

Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, here is their mailing address:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
50 East North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150

 

Church of the Nazarene

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-church-of-the-nazarene

According to its website, The Church of the Nazarene is “a Protestant Christian church in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition,” founded in 1908. There are almost 23,000 Nazarene churches globally with nearly 2 million members.  Perhaps the most well-known member of the Church of the Nazarene is Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, an evangelical nonprofit, which routinely condemns LGBT persons and families.

The Church of the Nazarene declares that all sexual acts that occur outside of the context of heterosexual marriage are sinful. The Church of the Nazarene’s official statement on human sexuality says this:
The Church of the Nazarene believes that every man or woman should be treated with dignity, grace, and holy love, whatever their sexual orientation. However, we continue to firmly hold the position that the homosexual lifestyle is sinful and is contrary to the Scriptures.

We further wish to reemphasize our call to Nazarenes around the globe to recommit themselves to a life of holiness, characterized by holy love and expressed through the most rigorous and consistent lifestyle of sexual purity. We stand firmly on the belief that the biblical concept of marriage, always between one man and one woman in a committed, lifelong relationship, is the only relationship within which the gift of sexual intimacy is properly expressed.
However, in Pastoral Perspectives on Homosexuality by the Nazarene General Superintendents, the church concedes that homosexuality may, in fact, be an inherent trait in gay and lesbian individuals.  Regardless, the church maintains that sexual intimacy between individuals of the same sex is sinful.

At this time no national LGBT affinity group exists for the Church of the Nazarene.
Headquarters Location:
Church of the Nazarene
Global Ministry Center
17001 Prairie Star Parkway
Lenexa, KS 66220

 

Metropolitan Community Churches

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-metropolitan-community-churches

The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches is the largest Christian organization dedicated to outreach to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people — although heterosexual members are also welcome. MCC has 23,000 members, according to the most recent count from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

The church, which was founded and continues to be led by the Rev. Troy Perry, teaches that the Bible itself does not condemn homosexuality but, rather, that it has been used to discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of interpretations that fail to account for changing historical conditions.

MCC has called for federal hate crimes and anti-discrimination laws that would protect LGBT people, and urged greater HIV/AIDS research and funding. According to MCC, 6,000 members have died of HIV/AIDS and related diseases since 1982. It also is a longtime supporter of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Support for Marriage Equality

MCC ministers have blessed weddings for same-sex couples since 1969. Today, approximately 6,000 same-sex weddings are conducted in MCC churches annually, according to the church. In Massachusetts, the only state where marriages rights are granted to same-sex couples, MCC ministers perform state-sanctioned weddings for members and non-members alike.

MCC has also been active in state and local battles for marriage equality. On Feb. 12, 2004, Rev. Perry and his partner, Phillip Ray DeBlieck, applied for a marriage license at the Office of the County Clerk in Beverly Hills, Calif. After the couple was denied a license, their attorneys filed a lawsuit against the county of Los Angeles alleging that this action violated the state constitution. The suit was filed in the state Superior Court on Feb. 22, 2004.

Perry has also encouraged other clergy members to “challenge laws that restrict freedom of religion and the right to perform same-sex marriages.”

Resources

·         Metropolitan Community Churches

·         MCC Congregations in the United States

Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, here is their mailing address:

Metropolitan Community Churches / UFMCC
P.O. Box 1374
Abilene, TX 79604

Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues: African Methodist Episcopal Church

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-african-methodist-episcopal-church

Since 2003, leaders of the 2.5 million-member African Methodist Episcopal Church have made several public statements declaring the denomination’s opposition to the ordination of openly gay clergy members and marriage rights for same-sex couples. It has, to date, remained silent on transgender members.

Openly Gay Clergy

In August 2003, after an article in USA Today incorrectly stated that the African Methodist Episcopal Church ordained gay ministers, Bishop Richard Franklin Norris issued this statement refuting that position and instructed all AME pastors to read it to their congregations:

“The official position of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is not in favor of the ordination of openly gay persons to the ranks of clergy in our church. This position reaffirms our published position papers, public statements and prior rulings, all of which indicate that we do not support the ordination of openly gay persons.”

Marriage Rights

At the AME national convention in July 2004, delegates voted to forbid ministers from performing marriage or civil union ceremonies for same-sex couples. The vote was unanimous, and there was no debate on the topic. The decision marked the first vote on the issue of marriage rights for same-sex couples by a predominantly African-American denomination.

Earlier in the year, before marriage became legal for same-sex couples in Massachusetts, the Rev. Gregory G. Groover Sr., an AME pastor in Boston, explained why AME preachers opposed the move. He was quoted in the Boston Globe on Feb. 10, 2004, as saying:

“As black preachers, we are progressive in our social consciousness, and in our political ideology as an oppressed people we will often be against the status quo, but our first call is to hear the voice of God in our Scriptures, and where an issue clearly contradicts our understanding of Scripture, we have to apply that understanding.”

Resources for LGBT African-American Christians

·         Operation Rebirth offers a list of GLB-affirming churches.

Headquarters Location
If you would like to communicate with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, here is their mailing address:

African Methodist Episcopal Church
500 8th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203

 

Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues: Seventh-day Adventist Church

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-seventh-day-adventist-church

This page was edited by the LGBT Seventh-day Adventist affinity and advocacy group, SDA Kinship. If you have questions about this information, please write us at religion@hrc.org and we will forward your message on to them.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church, a conservative Christian denomination with just under 1 million members in the United States, condemns same-sex “practices and relationships.” It has also been very public about its opposition to marriage equality. Its governing body has stated, however, that Seventh-day Adventists believe all people, presumably including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, are worthy in God’s eyes.

The denomination has, to date, been silent on transgender issues, except for incidental mention of “gender identity” in a statement released by the Annual Council of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on October 15, 2007 in Silver Spring, Maryland. That document states, “Legislation concerning employment practices represents one area in which Seventh-day Adventist values and beliefs may be subject to challenge. For example, societies may establish laws providing new definitions for marriage or protecting a range of expressions and behavior associated with gender identity. Seventh-day Adventists believe that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman in a loving companionship, and that the Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or lifestyle. The Church does not accept the idea of same-sex marriages nor does it condone homosexual practices or advocacy.” 

Same-Sex Relationships Forbidden

In 1999 the General Conference Executive Committee adopted the “Seventh-day Adventist Position Statement on Homosexuality”, which gives an overview of the denomination’s stance on GLBT issues. The statement reinforces the innate worth of all people, but goes on to declare same-sex relationships “sinful” and “forbidden”:

“The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes that every human being is valuable in the sight of God, and we seek to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus. … Seventh-day Adventists believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. … Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden. … Jesus Christ reaffirmed the divine creation intent. … For these reasons Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships. … [Jesus] affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people, while differentiating his love for sinners from his clear teaching about sinful practices.”

A 2004 statement, “Seventh-day Adventist Response to Same-Sex Unions — A Reaffirmation of Christian Marriage,” explained that the denomination’s view about the causes of gay and lesbian orientations:

“Homosexuality is a manifestation of the disorder and brokenness in human inclinations and relations caused by sin coming into the world.”

In addition, the denomination’s 1987 “Statement of Concern on Sexual Behavior” lists same-sex sexual activity, between both men and women, as one of many sexual sins, alongside sexual assault and bestiality:

“Sexual practices which are contrary to God’s expressed will are adultery and premarital sex, as well as obsessive sexual behavior. Sexual abuse of spouses, sexual abuse of children, incest, homosexual practices (gay and lesbian) and bestiality are among the obvious perversions of God’s original plan.”

Opposition to Marriage Equality

The denomination has long been public about its opposition to the recognition of same-sex marriages.

In March 2004, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee issued the “Seventh-day Adventist Response to Same-Sex Unions — A Reaffirmation of Christian Marriage,” which unequivocally condemned same-sex marriage:

“The institutions of family and marriage are under attack and facing growing centrifugal forces that are tearing them apart. An increasing number of nations are now debating the topic of ‘same-sex unions,’ thus making it a world issue. … We reaffirm, without hesitation, our long-standing position. … Homosexuality is a manifestation of the disorder and brokenness in human inclinations and relations caused by sin coming into the world. … It is very clear that God’s Word does not countenance a homosexual lifestyle; neither has the Christian church throughout her 2000 year history. Seventh-day Adventists believe that the biblical teaching is still valid today, because it is anchored in the very nature of humanity and God’s plan at creation for marriage.”

This statement was merely a reaffirmation of beliefs the denomination had already articulated.  Earlier, during the national controversy over same-sex marriage in 1996, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee issued “An Affirmation of Marriage” which made it clear that they believed marriage rights should be restricted to opposite-sex couples:

“Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus Christ to be both monogamous and heterosexual, a lifelong union of loving companionship between a man and a woman. In the culmination of his creative activity, God fashioned humankind as male and female in his own image; and he instituted marriage, a covenant-based union of the two genders physically, emotionally and spiritually, spoken of in Scripture as ‘one flesh.’ … Throughout Scripture, the heterosexual union in marriage is elevated as a symbol of the bond between Deity and humanity. … Further, the Creator intended married sexuality not only to serve a unitive purpose, but to provide for the propagation and perpetuation of the human family. … The monogamous union in marriage of a man and a woman is affirmed as the divinely ordained foundation of the family and social life and the only morally appropriate locus of genital or related intimate sexual expression.”

To that end, the denomination has actively opposed the movement for civil marriage equality. A Canadian branch, for example, lobbied that country’s Supreme Court in opposition to marriage equality in October 2004.

Seventh-day Adventists have also been active in opposing marriage equality on the state level. In April 2004, the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists announced their opposition to a bill in the California Legislature that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. In a letter to Assemblyman Mark Leno, chair of the state Assembly Judiciary Committee, Thomas Mostert, the conference’s president, wrote:

“As a church, we have refrained from culture war conflicts over these issues, professing no expertise on how public policy should address these needs. However, the current effort to modify the designation of marriage to include same-sex relationship goes beyond the legitimate protection of the rights of homosexual citizens. The redefinition of marriage will have profound negative consequences for parents and children, and will impact social, emotional, physical ad sexual health. Such consequences may be clearly perceived by all, regardless of whether one holds a religious perspective. Homosexuality is a manifestation of the disorder and brokenness in human inclinations and relations caused by sin coming into the world. … It is very clear that God’s word does not countenance a homosexual lifestyle.”

In 2000, regional Seventh-day Adventist leaders also opposed the passing of legislation establishing civil unions for same-sex couples in Vermont. “As religious freedom activists, we certainly don’t wish to deny any human their rights,” said Pastor Don King, communication director for the Adventist Church in the northeastern United States, in a May 2000 interview, “but we also cannot sanction human wrongs.”

Resources for LGBT Seventh-day Adventists

·         Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International is a nonprofit, volunteer-based support organization not affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Kinship’s mission is to provide “a safe spiritual and social community to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex current and former Seventh-day Adventists.”  For more information about Kinship’s work, send inquiries tochurchrelations@sdakinship.org.

·         Someone to Talk To is a ministry for Adventist families and friends of gays and lesbians to provide information and resources and to offer a listening ear for parents who need a “safe” person to talk to.   

·         Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives is a book recently published by members of the Kinship Advisory, a group of straight allies, to encourage dialogue on this topic in evangelical churches.  It was published by The Adventist Forum, whose mission is to “create community conversation…with  circle of friends who embrace the adventures of truth.”  

Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, here is their mailing address:

General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904

 

 

BUDDHISM

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-buddhism

Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation, specifically, was not elaborated upon by Siddhartha Gautama, nor is there any reference or guidance for lay people regarding sexual orientation or same-sex behavior within the Pali Canon, the scriptural texts that hold the Buddha’s original teachings. The Vinyana, a Buddhist text for monks, forbids Buddhist monks and nuns from having sexual relationships with men, women and those of other genders, such as pandanka (interpreted as those with indeterminate sexual characteristics or people who do not conform to sexual norms, such as prostitutes). These textual references do not target LGBT people specifically, as everyone within the monastic order is expected to refrain from all forms of sexual relations. This practice is especially common within Theravada Buddhism, which focuses heavily on the monastic tradition.

Zen Buddhism does not make a distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex relationships. Instead, the expectation is not to harm, exploit or manipulate others, which would directly violate the third precept. For instance, Zen Buddhists often refer to hedonism, ascetic masochism and prostitutions as practices that violate the “Middle Way.”

Regarding Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama’s perspectives are complex and evolving.On the positive side, he has publicly condemned violence against LGBT people and has been reported to have said, “If the two people have taken no vows [of chastity] and neither is harmed why should it not be acceptable.  Yet in a 1997 press conference he commented that “from a Buddhist point of view [lesbian and gay sex] is generally considered sexual misconduct.”  have been mixed and somewhat influx. During a meeting with representatives of the LGBT community, the Dalai Lama reportedly showed interest in how modern scientific research might create new understanding of the Buddhist texts, acknowledging a “willingness to consider the possibility that some of the teachings may be specific to a particular cultural and historic context.”

Gay Clergy

In general, there is no rule prohibiting LGBT people from serving as Buddhist monks or nuns. Though some select temples and monasteries may prohibit the ordination of LGBT people, schools of Buddhism, overall, have not adopted a consensus on the practice.

Marriage

Overall, it is difficult to qualify Buddhism’s perspective on same-sex marriage, since perspectives vary greatly within the religion. Because of Buddhism’s core theme to attain enlightenment, the path one chooses to take within the religion is largely personal, as is one’s beliefs. Hence, most Buddhist literature indicates that opposition to or support for marriage rights for same-sex couples is a personal, rather than religious, statement.

Resources

·         BuddhaNet

·         Buddhist Information

·         Dalai Lama

·         ReligiousTolerance.org

·         Religion Facts

·         Tibetan Buddhism

·         Soka Gakai International-USA

·         Queer Dharma

 

 

Judaism

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-judaism

The four major movements within Judaism all acknowledge lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews to some degree but take starkly different positions regarding the spiritual rites and civil rights of LGBT people.       

Orthodox Judaism

The Orthodox Jewish community, with about one million members in the United States, is the most traditional branch of Judaism and welcomes all Jews as members.  However, across the broad spectrum of the Orthodox community, there are a variety of views on homosexuality ranging from “abomination” to persons deserving of treatment with “dignity and respect.”  Synagogues do not excommunicate members for sexual attraction toward someone of the same sex though some will still recommend spiritual counseling for such inclinations. In regards to transgender issues, the Orthodox community, its organizations and institutions remain largely silent.

In July of 2010, a “Statement of Principles on the Place of Jews with a Homosexual Orientation in Our Community” was released with the endorsements of 104 Orthodox rabbis, Jewish educators and communal leaders in order to better communicate a place of welcome for “our brothers and sisters in our community who have a homosexual orientation.”  This statement was a show of significant progress for LGBT Jews though to date it has not been endorsed by any major orthodox movement or rabbinic organization, such as the Orthodox Union, due to divergences from common Orthodox positions.

The following are excerpts from the Statement of Principles that many believe to deviate from the more conservative commonly held Orthodox positions on lesbian and gay Jews:

·         “…it is critical to emphasize that halakha only prohibits homosexual acts; it does not prohibit orientation or feelings of same-sex attraction, and nothing in the Torah devalues the human beings who struggle with them.”

·         “Jews with a homosexual orientation or same sex attraction, even if they engage in same sex interactions, should be encouraged to fulfill mitzvoth [the 613 Jewish commandments] to the best of their ability. All Jews are challenged to fulfill mitzvot to the best of their ability, and the attitude of “all or nothing” was not the traditional approach adopted by the majority of halakhic thinkers…”

·         “Embarrassing, harassing or demeaning someone with a homosexual orientation or same-sex attraction is a violation of Torah prohibitions that embody the deepest values of Judaism.”

·         “We affirm the religious right of those with a homosexual orientation to reject therapeutic approaches they reasonably see as useless or dangerous.”

·         “Jews who have an exclusively homosexual orientation should, under most circumstances, not be encouraged to marry someone of the other gender, as this can lead to great tragedy, unrequited love, shame, dishonesty and ruined lives.”

The Orthodox movement, as a whole, defines marriage as a sacred institution between a man and a woman. On the other hand, it does not endorse the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would write discrimination against same-sex couples into the U.S. Constitution, although some individual Orthodox rabbis have come out in support of it as well as similar state constitutional amendments.  Though Orthodox Judaism will only sanction heterosexual marriages, the 2010 Statement or Principles does attempt to welcome LGBT families stating:

“…Communities should display sensitivity, acceptance and full embrace of the adopted or biological children of homosexually active Jews in the synagogue and school setting, and we encourage parents and family of homosexually partnered Jews to make every effort to maintain harmonious family relations and connections.”

The movement will not ordain an openly gay person but rabbi, Steve Greenberg, who came out as gay in 1999 believes he is proof that one can be both Orthodox and gay:  “I would find it as difficult to abandon the pieces of myself that are committed to the tradition as I would to abandon the pieces of myself that are, and always have been, attracted to men,” he told The Boston Globe. “I would be as self-contorting to call myself a Conservative or Reform Jew as I would to call myself a straight person.”

Conservative Judaism

With1.4 million members, the Conservative Movement, of all the branches of Judaism, has the most mixed response to LGBT issues. In December 2006, momentous changes occurred within the movement, the results of which allow Conservative-affiliated rabbinical schools to ordain openly LGB rabbis and further allow clergy to officiate at same-sex commitment ceremonies, at their choosing. Earlier, in 2003, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards approved a response on the Status of Transsexuals. The rabbinic ruling concluded that individuals who have undergone full sexual reassignment surgery, and whose sexual reassignment has been recognized by civil authorities, are considered to have changed their sex status according to Jewish law. Furthermore, sexual reassignment surgery is viewed as an acceptable treatment under Jewish law for individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria. 

Since 1992 the movement’s leadership has strongly encouraged the welcoming of gay and lesbian people as members of Conservative synagogues. Conservative Judaism considers halacha, or Jewish law, to be binding, but believes that the details and interpretations of the law can evolve as Jewish life evolves through traditional modes of rabbinic study and modern critical scholarship. 

With the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards adoption of the 2006 teshuva (rabbinic opinon), “Homosexuality, Human Dignity and Halakhah,” Conservative clergy may decide as individuals whether or not to officiate as same-sex commitment ceremonies. Notably, the movement does not consider same-sex unions sanctified as equivalent to Jewish, heterosexual marriage. Previously, according to a 1992 teshuva, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards ruled that Conservative rabbis could not officiate at same-sex union ceremonies though there were those who did so anyway.  Beth El Congregation of Baltimore voted in 1993 to allow its rabbi to perform same-sex unions under Jewish ritual marking the first official instance of a board of directors at a Conservative synagogue allowing their rabbi to perform such unions. 

Reform Judaism

The Reform movement, the largest Jewish movement in the United States with 1.7 million members, welcomes LGBT people as full members and clergy. The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) passed a resolution in 1977 that changed the movement’s official interpretation of Jewish law, making gay sex no longer a violation. The same year, the CCAR called for an end to discrimination of gays and lesbians.

In 1990, the CCAR made it illegal for the movement’s rabbinical schools to discriminate based on sexual orientation in admissions decisions. A resolution proposed by the Ad Hoc Committee on Homosexuality and the Rabbinate and adopted that year by the Central Conference of American Rabbis stated: “All Jews are religiously equal regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Though there are no official resolutions sanctioning the ordination of transgender clergy, the movement does extend a non-discrimination policy to the trans community.   Hebrew Union College, the Reform movement’s seminary, admitted its first transgender student, Reuben Zellman, to its rabbinical program in 2003. Zellman informed the college of his gender identity before applying and was informed that he would be considered for admission based solely on his academic record, like every other applicant.

Reform rabbis are allowed to officiate at same-sex unions “through appropriate Jewish ritual,” according to a resolution passed in 2000, entitled the Resolution on Same Gender Officiation. The resolution does not suggest that these ceremonies are “marriages”; each individual rabbi is given the power to decide, within the context of faith, what each ceremony represents. The practice, however, remains controversial on both sides: some believe it does not go far enough in recognizing LGBT marriage equality and some feel it goes to far in distorting traditional Jewish union or marriage rites.

In 2003, representatives of the Union for Reform Judaism co-signed a statement opposing the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment along with officials from other religious groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Following this statement, in 2006, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, Eric Yoffie, stated, “Gay Americans pose no threat to their friends, neighbors, or co-workers, and when two people make a lifelong commitment to each other, we believe it is wrong to deny them the legal guarantees that protect them and their children and benefit the broader society.” 

The Reform movement continues to be an outspoken voice for LGBT social. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, based in Washington, DC, is a leading coalition voice on issues of LGBT civil rights, often providing religious testimony to Capitol Hill in support of non-discrimination legislation, and Reform Jewish Voice of New York played an important role in representing the pro-equality faith community during the 2011 New York marriage equality campaign.

Reconstructionist Judaism

Reconstructionist Judaism, the smallest of the four major movements with 130,000 members, fully supports gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, welcoming them as full members and as clergy.

In 1985, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation adopted a resolution welcoming congregations serving primarily LGBT Jews into the movement. The movement then began allowing its rabbis to perform marriage rituals for same-sex couples in 1993, and since then has also prohibited discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation. 

Though their practices have reflected support for marriage equality since the early 1990s, officially the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA) did not pass a resolution on civil marriage for same-sex couples until 2004. The far-reaching and overwhelmingly positive resolution not only supported civil marriage but further called upon its members to: “(1)Encourage the congregations, agencies, organizations and institutions in which they serve to extend benefits to same-sex partners of staff members and employees, (2) Monitor local and regional developments and consider ways of advocating for same-sex civil marriage in their communities, and (3) Offer tzedakah (charity) donations to organizations advocating for civil rights for same-sex couples.”  

In terms of sex and sexuality, Rabbi Joshua Lesser explains, “[Reconstructionist Jews] recognize homosexuality as a fundamental aspect of identity that deserves to be treated with the Jewish values of b’ tzelem elohim (respect for human beings as made in God’s image).” Accordingly, Reconstructionist Jews are more concerned with an individual’s well being rather than the specific LGBT acts they may or may not engage in.

 

 

Hinduism

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-hinduism

Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest religions, and Hindus constitute a sixth of the world’s population today. Most Hindus live in India but there are about 1.5 million Hindus, both Indians and non-Indians, in the United States. As a result, homosexuality is a complex matter in Hinduism and depends heavily on cultural context and tradition.

Hinduism and Sexuality

“Same sex desire and even sexual activity have been represented and discussed in Indian literature for two millennia, often in a nonjudgmental and even celebratory manner,” according to Hindu scholar Ruth Vanita. For example, the erotic sculptures on ancient Hindu temples at Khajuraho and Konarak, and the sacred texts in Sanskrit constitute irrefutable evidence that a whole range of sexual behavior was known to ancient Hindus. The tradition of representing same-sex desire in literature and art continued in medieval Hinduism.

When Europeans arrived in India, they were shocked by Hinduism, which they termed idolatrous, and by the range of sexual practices, including same-sex relations, which they labeled licentious. British colonial rulers incorporated their homophobic prejudices – largely attributed to certain Christian teachings – into Indian education, law and politics.  As a result, homosexuality was made illegal in 1861, when British rulers codified a law prohibiting carnal or lustful intercourse “against the order of nature” with any man, woman, or animal – in other words, any sex that is not between a man and a woman with the aim of reproduction is outlawed. Thus, the marginal homophobic trend in pre-colonial India became dominant in modern India. Some Indian nationalists, including Hindus, internalized Victorian ideals of heterosexual monogamy and disowned indigenous traditions that contravened those ideals. Homosexuality remained a criminal offense in India until 2009 when New Delhi’s highest court deemed this colonial era law unconstitutional.

Homosexuality and Hindu Law

Ancient Hindu law books, from the first century onward, categorize non-vaginal sex (ayoni) as impure. But penances prescribed for same-sex acts are very light compared to penances for some types of heterosexual misconduct, such as adultery and rape.

For example, one Hindu text, the Arthashastra, an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy, and military strategy, imposes a minor fine on a man who has ayoni sex. Modern commentators sometimes misread another text, the Manusmriti, the authoritative words of Brahma, interpreting its severe punishment of a woman’s manual penetration of a female virgin as suggesting that the text is anti-lesbian. In fact, however, the punishment is exactly the same for either a man or a woman who engages in this act, and it is related not to the partners’ genders but to the loss of virginity and marriageable status. The Manusmriti does not suggest punishing a woman who penetrates a female who is not a virgin, and the Arthashastra prescribes a negligible fine for this act.

The sacred Hindu epics and the Puranas, a compendia of devotional stories, contradict the law books. They depict gods, sages and heroes springing from ayoni sex. Ayoni sex never became a major topic of debate, nor was it categorized as an unspeakable crime.

There is no evidence of anyone in India ever having been executed for same-sex relations.

Sex and Gender

Hindu scriptures contain many surprising examples of diversity in both sex and gender. Many of the deities are androgynous and some even change gender in order to participate in homoerotic behavior. For instance, medieval texts narrate how the god Ayyappa was born of intercourse between the gods Shiva and Vishnu when the latter temporarily took a female form. A number of 14th-century texts in Sanskrit and Bengali (including the Krittivasa Ramayana, a devotional text still extremely popular today) narrate how hero-king Bhagiratha, who brought the sacred river Ganga from heaven to earth, was miraculously born to and raised by two co-widows, who made love together with divine blessing. These texts explain that his name Bhagiratha comes from the word bhaga (vulva), because he was born of two vulvas.

Another sacred text, the fourth-century Kamasutra, emphasizes pleasure as the aim of intercourse. It categorizes men who desire other men as a “third nature.” The text goes on to subdivide such men into masculine and feminine types and describes their lives and typical occupations (including flower sellers, masseurs and hairdressers). The Kamasutra also includes a detailed description of oral sex between men and refers to long-term unions between male partners.

Hindu medical texts dating from the first century also provide taxonomies of gender and sexual variations, including same-sex desire.

Hijras: The Third Gender

Described as neither male nor female, but rather as a third-gender, hijras are traditionally depicted as a powerful force within Hinduism. Although no census data exists, it is estimated that over 2 million hijras reside in India. With a recorded history of more than 4,000 years, the power of the hijras as sexually ambiguous individuals can only be understood through the use of Hindu mythology.

In Hindu mythology, ritual, and art, the power of androgyny or sexual ambiguity is a frequent and significant theme. Bahuchara Mata, the main object of hijra veneration, is a version of the Mother Goddess, for whose sake they undergo emasculation. In return for their emasculation the Goddess gives them the power to bless people with fertility, granting them an important religious role in births and marriages. The ceremonies that hijras perform are called badhai as a reference to the gifts of cash and goods they receives as payment of these occasions. However, hijras are also thought to have the power to curse a family’s fertility, explaining why they are often treated with a combination of mockery, fear and stigma forcing many to live in ostracized, poorer urban districts.

Though there are many similarities in gender variant experiences and identities between the hirja and MTF transgender communities, they are in fact separate and distinct.  Unfortunately for both, due to the social stigma, the both communities have limited means of survival often restricted to performing badhai, begging, and sex work.

Until 2009 the hijra and the transgender community had few rights and were not recognized by Indian law. The Indian government, as of 2099, allows MTF transgender people to get identity cards stating their true gender as well as allows transgender people to receive sexual re-assignment surgery free of cost at government hospitals. In addition, the Election Commission of India added the option of using “other” on the voter ballet. Previously, the ballots forced transgender people and hijras to select either “male” or “female.”

Modern Trends and Views 

There are now many Indian LGBT groups in the United States and in India, most of whose members are Hindu.

Some right-wing Hindu groups, active both in India and in the United States, have expressed virulent opposition to homosexuality. However, several modern Hindu teachers emphasize that all desire, homosexual or heterosexual, is the same, and that aspirants must work through and transcend desire. For example:

·         Hindu philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti said that homosexuality, like heterosexuality, has been a fact for thousands of years, and that it becomes a problem only because humans focus too much on sex.

·         When asked about homosexuality, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the international Art of Living movement, said, “Every individual has both male and female in them. Sometimes one dominates, sometimes other; it is all fluid.”

·         Mathematician Shakuntala Devi, in her 1977 book The World of Homosexuals, interviewed Srinivasa Raghavachariar, head priest of the Srirangam temple. Raghavachariar said that same-sex partners must have been cross-sex partners in a former life. The sex may change, he said, but the soul retains its attachments; hence love impels them toward one another.

·         When, in 2002, Hindu scholar Ruth Vanita interviewed a Shaiva priest who had performed the marriage ceremony for two women, the priest said that having studied Hindu scriptures, he had concluded, “Marriage is a union of spirits. And the spirit is not male or female.”

·         As Amara Dasa, founder of Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava  Association, noted in Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex, several Gaudiya Vaishnava  authorities emphasize that since everyone passes through various forms, genders and species in a series of lives, people should not judge each other by the material body but should view everyone equally on a spiritual plane and be compassionate, as God is.

Still, there is little discussion of this issue in most Hindu religious communities. Consequently, some teachers and lay followers retain their anti-gay beliefs. As a result, many LGBT Hindus have left their religious communities.

Indian newspapers, however, have reported several same-sex weddings and same-sex joint suicides over the last 25 years. These incidents have primarily involved female Hindu couples living in small towns and unconnected to any LGBT rights movement. Several weddings have taken place by Hindu rites, some with family support. The suicides often resulted from families forcibly separating same-sex partners. In Love’s Rite: Same-Sex Marriage in India and the West, Ruth Vanita analyzes these phenomena.

The millennia-long debate in Hindu society over homosexuality, which was somewhat suppressed in the colonial period, is again becoming active. In 2004, Hinduism Today reporter Rajiv Malik asked several Hindu swamis (teachers) to describe their feelings about same-sex marriage. The swamis expressed a range of opinions, positive and negative. They felt free to differ with each other — evidence of the liveliness of the debate, made possible by the fact that Hinduism has no one hierarchy or leader. As one swami, Mahant Ram Puri, remarked, “We do not have a rule book in Hinduism. We have 100 million authorities.”

Legal progress for LGBT individuals continues to be made in India. In 2009 New Delhi’s highest court decriminalized the colonial era law prohibiting homosexual activity. Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar declared:

“The old law violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees all people ‘equality before the law;’ Article 15, which prohibits discrimination ‘on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth;’ and Article 21, which guarantees ‘protection of life and personal liberty.”

However, the decision to decriminalize homosexuality applies only in the territory of India’s capital city.  This case is expected to continue at a national level forcing India’s government either to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, or change the law nationwide.

 

 

National Baptist Convention USA Inc.

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-national-baptist-convention-usa-inc

The National Baptist Convention USA Inc., the largest predominantly African-American denomination in the United States with more than 5 million members, has issued no public statements on its attitudes or policies toward gay, lesbian and bisexual people and the issues that affect them.

Traditionally, however, the denomination has regarded homosexuality as sinful. It also forbids clergy to officiate at commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples.  And to date, it has been silent on transgender members.

Yet the denomination’s president, the Rev. Dr. William J. Shaw, has spoken out against President Bush’s proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples. Shaw told The New York Times in March 2005 that, although he does not believe the Bible allows same-sex unions, there is no need for a constitutional amendment on the issue.

“My position on same-sex marriage is not that it is the sole determinant on moral issues,” he said. “Marriage is threatened more by adultery, and we don’t have a constitutional ban on that. Alcohol is a threat to the stability of the family, and we don’t have a ban on that.”

One reason predominantly African-American churches have not embraced their gay, lesbian and bisexual members is that they are largely invisible within the church, according to Keith Boykin, president of the National Black Justice Coalition.

“While the black church embraces single mothers, drug addicts and ex-cons, it does not embrace black homosexuals largely because they haven’t organized to make their presence felt,” Boykin wrote in an article entitled, “Whose Dream? Why the Black Church Opposes Gay Marriage,” published in The Village Voice on May 24, 2004. “Instead, black gays and lesbians have been shamed and silenced into a kind of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ relationship with the church.”

The results are ambivalent, he said. “Far too many black gays and lesbians maintain a truce within the church that allows them to serve quietly, and this conspiracy of silence enables the church to remain simultaneously the most homophobic institution in the black community and the most homo-tolerant.”

Resources for LGBT African-American Christians

·         Operation Rebirth offers a list of churches nationwide that  “preach God’s love to and for all people” regardless of race, creed, color, gender, socioeconomic background or sexual orientation.

·         The Balm in Gilead is dedicated to working with faith communities to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African Diaspora. It runs an annual HIV testing program and Black Church Week of prayer for the healing of AIDS.


Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., here is their mailing address:

National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
1700 Baptist World Center Drive
Nashville, TN 37207

 

BAPTIST  –  SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION
San Antonio, Texas – 1988         Resolution On Homosexuality

WHEREAS, The erosion of moral sanity continues to be a major problem of modern society; and
WHEREAS, Homosexuality has become the chosen lifestyle of many in this moral decline; and
WHEREAS, The Bible is very clear in its teaching that homosexuality is a manifestation of a depraved nature; and
WHEREAS, This deviant behavior has wrought havoc in the lives of millions; and

WHEREAS, Homosexuals are justified and even glorified in our secular media; and

WHEREAS, Homosexual activity is the primary cause of the introduction and spread of AIDS in the United States which has not only affected those of the homosexual community, but also many innocent victims.

Therefore be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in San Antonio, Texas, June 14-16, 1988, deplore homosexuality as a perversion of divine standards and as a violation of nature and natural affections; and Be it further RESOLVED, That we affirm the biblical injunction which declares homosexuals, like all sinners, can receive forgiveness and victory through personal faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11); and

Be it finally RESOLVED, That we maintain that while God loves the homosexual and offers salvation, homosexuality is not a normal lifestyle and is an abomination in the eyes of God (Leviticus 18:22Romans 1:24-281 Timothy 1:8-10).  View all 1988 Resolutions.  http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/610

 

Alliance of Baptists

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-alliance-of-baptists

The Alliance of Baptists is a movement of progressive Christians–individuals and congregations–seeking to respond to the continuing call of God in a rapidly changing world. The Alliance offers a clear voice for Christian freedom, distinctively Baptist and intentionally ecumenical in an interfaith world. From its inception in early 1987, the Alliance has called Baptists to stand for those values which have distinguished the Baptist movement from its beginnings four centuries ago–the freedom and accountability of every individual in matters of faith; the freedom of each congregation under the authority of Jesus Christ to determine its own ministry and mission; and religious freedom for all in relationship to the state.

In 1995, the Alliance accepted a report of a special task group on human sexuality which led to a series of honest dialogues and prophetic witness within the Alliance membership and congregations on the question of a Christian response to homosexual persons. As a result, the Alliance of Baptists and many of its congregations has become ever more inclusive, welcoming and affirming to all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.

In 2004, at their annual meeting on 2004-APR in Dayton OH, the Alliance adopted a “Statement on Same Sex Marriage” which supported equality in marriage for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples throughout the U.S., and opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment which restricts marriage to opposite-sex couples.

 

Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues: American Baptist Church USA

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-american-baptist-church-usa

The American Baptist Church USA is the fifth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with approximately 1.5 million members and 5,800 congregations worldwide. Although ABC-USA shares many traditions, beliefs and values with other Baptists, ABC-USA is a distinct entity from its relatives, the American Baptist Association, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Alliance of Baptists, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Following more moderate ideals than the ABA and SBC, ABC-USA is considered one of the most inclusive and radical Protestant bodies. At its core, ABC-USA believes in and advocates for autonomy in religious organization and function, religious freedom through expression and cultural/ethnic inclusion within the church. Of its more traditional values, the denomination believes that the Bible is the divinely authoritative guide for serving God, that believers in Christ need to participate in the Lord’s Supper  and full-immersion  or believer’s baptism and that all members have the responsibility to inform others of Christ through evangelism and missionary work.

During 2011, the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (AWAB) was given a booth on the Exhibit Hall floor at the ABC-USA Biennial after 20 years of being banned.

 

Stances of Faiths on LGBT Issues: National Baptist Convention USA Inc.

The National Baptist Convention USA Inc., the largest predominantly African-American denomination in the United States with more than 5 million members, has issued no public statements on its attitudes or policies toward gay, lesbian and bisexual people and the issues that affect them.

Traditionally, however, the denomination has regarded homosexuality as sinful. It also forbids clergy to officiate at commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples.  And to date, it has been silent on transgender members.

Yet the denomination’s president, the Rev. Dr. William J. Shaw, has spoken out against President Bush’s proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples. Shaw told The New York Times in March 2005 that, although he does not believe the Bible allows same-sex unions, there is no need for a constitutional amendment on the issue.

“My position on same-sex marriage is not that it is the sole determinant on moral issues,” he said. “Marriage is threatened more by adultery, and we don’t have a constitutional ban on that. Alcohol is a threat to the stability of the family, and we don’t have a ban on that.”

One reason predominantly African-American churches have not embraced their gay, lesbian and bisexual members is that they are largely invisible within the church, according to Keith Boykin, president of the National Black Justice Coalition.

“While the black church embraces single mothers, drug addicts and ex-cons, it does not embrace black homosexuals largely because they haven’t organized to make their presence felt,” Boykin wrote in an article entitled, “Whose Dream? Why the Black Church Opposes Gay Marriage,” published in The Village Voice on May 24, 2004. “Instead, black gays and lesbians have been shamed and silenced into a kind of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ relationship with the church.”

The results are ambivalent, he said. “Far too many black gays and lesbians maintain a truce within the church that allows them to serve quietly, and this conspiracy of silence enables the church to remain simultaneously the most homophobic institution in the black community and the most homo-tolerant.”

Resources for LGBT African-American Christians

·         Operation Rebirth offers a list of churches nationwide that  “preach God’s love to and for all people” regardless of race, creed, color, gender, socioeconomic background or sexual orientation.

·         The Balm in Gilead is dedicated to working with faith communities to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African Diaspora. It runs an annual HIV testing program and Black Church Week of prayer for the healing of AIDS.


Headquarters Location

If you would like to communicate with the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., here is their mailing address:

National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
1700 Baptist World Center Drive
Nashville, TN 37207

Books

(NOT COMPLETE)

Alexander, Marilyn Bennett, and James PrestonWe Were Baptized Too: Claiming God’s Grace for Lesbians and Gays (Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press).

Alison, James: Faith Beyond Resentment: Fragments Catholic and Gay (Darton Longman Todd, 2001) 239 pages

Alison, James: On Being Liked (Darton Longman Todd, 2003) 168 pages

Alison, James:  Undergoing God: Dispatches from the Scene of a Break-In (Darton Longman Todd, 2005)

Alison, James: Broken Hearts and New Creations: Intimations of a Great Reversal (Darton Longman Todd)

Althaus – Reid, Marcella: Liberation Theology and Sexuality (SCM Reclaiming Liberation Theology Series)( Ashgate Publishing Limited)

Althaus – Reid, Marcella: Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender and Politics. (Routledge)

Althaus – Reid, Marcella: The Queer God (Routledge)

Bailey, Canon Derrick Sherwin: Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition (1955)

Bakker, JayFall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self & Society

Beattie Jung, Patricia (ed): Sexual Diversity and Catholicism: Toward the Development of Moral Theology (The Liturgical Press, 2002)

Bohache, Thomas: Christology from the Margins (SCM Press, 2009)

Boisvert, Donald: Sanctity And Male Desire: A Gay Reading Of Saints

Boisvert, Donald: Out on Holy Ground: Meditations on Gay Men’s Spirituality (Pilgrim Press, 2001) 148 pages

Boisvert, Donald L., and Jay Emerson Johnson.: Queer Religion [2 volumes] (Praeger).

Boswell, John: Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century  (University of Chicago Press, 1980) 424 pages

Boswell, John: Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe (Harper-Collins, 1994) 412 pages

Bouldrey, Brian. Wrestling with the Angel: Faith and Religion in the Lives of Gay Men (Riverhead Books)

Carden, Michael. Sodomy: The History of a Christian Biblical Myth (Bibleworld) (Equinox)

Chellew-Hodge, Candace: Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians 192 pages

Cheng, Patrick S. Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology (Seabury Books)

Cherry, Kittredge: Jesus in Love

Cherry, Kittredge:  Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More (AndroGyne Press, 2007) 100 pages

Cherry, Kittredge, and Zalmon O. Sherwood.: Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies and Celebrations(Westminster/John Knox Press).

Clark, J. Michael. A defiant celebration: theological ethics & gay sexuality  (Tangelwüld Press).

Clark, J. Michael. Defying the Darkness: Gay Theology in the Shadows (Resource Publications)

Clark, J. Michael. Beyond Our Ghettos: Gay Theology in Ecological Perspective (Pilgrim Press)

Clark, J. Michael: A Place to Start: Toward and Unapologetic Gay Liberation Theology (Monument Press)

Cleaver, Richard: Know My Name: A Gay Liberation Theology (Westminster John Knox Press, 1995) 161 pages

Coleman, Gerald: Homosexuality: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice (Paulist Press, 1995) 207 pages

Collins, Raymond F: Sexual Ethics and the New Testament: Behavior and Belief  (Crossroads, 2000 )

Comstock, Gary David, & Henking, Susan E: Que(e)rying Religion: A Critical Anthology (Continuum, 1999) 552 pages 

Comstock, Gary David: Unrepentant, Self-Affirming, Practicing: Lesbian/Bisexual/Gay People within Organized Religion

Comstock, Gary David Gay Theology Without Apology

Comstock, Gary David A Whosoever Church: Welcoming Lesbians and Gay Men into African American Congregations

Cornwall, SusannahControversies In Queer Theology (SCM)

Cornwall, Susannah Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ: Intersex Conditions and Christian Theology 

Cornwall, Susannah: Theology and Sexuality

Corvino, John What’s Wrong with Homosexuality? 

Cotter, Jim Pleasure, Pain and Passion: Some Perspectives on Sexuality and Spirituality (Cairns Publications, 1988)1993

Coulton, Nicholas, (ed) The Bible, The Church and Homosexuality (Darton Longman Todd, 2005)

Countryman, L.WilliamDirt, Greed, and Sex: Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and Their Implications for Today (Fortress Press 2007 (revised edition) 290 pages)

Countryman, William and Ritter, Kathleen  Gifted by Otherness: Gay and Lesbian Christians in the Church

Crompton, LouisHomosexuality & Civilization

Curoe, Carol:  Are There Closets in Heaven?; A Catholic Father and Lesbian Daughter Share their Story

Davies, Jon & Loughlin, Gerald (eds): Sex These Days: Essays on Theology, Sexuality and Society (Semitic Texts And Studies) ( Sheffield Academic Press  1999 223 pages)

De La Torre, Miguel A., editor. Out of the Shadows, into the Light: Christianity and Homosexuality (Chalice Press)

Drinkwater, GreggJoshua Lesser, and David ShneerTorah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible (New York University Press)

Duncan, GeoffreyCourage to Love: Liturgies for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community (Pilgrim Press)

Dzmura, NoachBalancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community (North Atlantic Books)

Edwards, George RGay/Lesbian Liberation: A Biblical Perspective (Pilgrim Press).

Ellison, Marvin Mahan, and Kelly Brown Douglas, editors. Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection 2nd ed. (Westminster John Knox Press)

Evans, Amie M: Queer and Catholic (Haworth Press, 2008) 364 pages

Farley, Margaret: Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics

Ford, Michael:  Disclosures: Conversations Gay and Spiritual (Darton Longman Todd, 2004, 216 pages)

Fortunato, John E. Embracing the Exile – Healing Journeys of Gay Christians (Harper & Row)

Gearhart, Sally Miller, and William Reagan JohnsonLoving women/loving men;: Gay liberation and the church (Glide Publications).

Glaser, Chris: As My Own Soul: The Blessing of Same-Gender Marriage (Seabury Books)

Glaser, Chris: Coming Out to God: Prayers for Lesbians and Gay Men, Their Families and Friends (John Knox Press, 1991) 168 pages

Glaser, Chris: Coming Out as Sacrament

Glaser, Chris: Come Home: Reclaiming Spirituality and Community As Gay Men and Lesbians (Chi Rho Press).

Glaser, Chris: The Word Is Out: Daily Reflections on the Bible for Lesbians and Gay Men

Glaser, Chris: Uncommon Calling: A Gay Christian’s Struggle to Serve the Church

Godfrey, Donal: Gays and Grays: The Story of the Gay Community at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish (Lexington Books, 2007, 195 pages)

Gomes,  Rev Peter: The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart

Gomes,  Rev Peter:  The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What’s So Good About the Good News?

Goss, Robert: Jesus Acted Up: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto (Harper & Row, 1993) 240 pages

Goss, Robert: Queering Christ: Beyond Jesus Acted Up

Goss, Robert: Take Back the Word: A Queer Reading of the Bible

Gramick, Jeannine Furey, Pat (eds): The Vatican and Homosexuality: Reactions to the “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons”  Crossroad, 1988

Gramick, Jeannine & Nugent, Robert: Building Bridges: Gay and Lesbian Reality and the Catholic Church  Twenty Third Publications, 1992

Gramick, Jeannine: Voices of Hope: A Collection of Positive Catholic Writings on Gay & Lesbian Issues Centre for Homophobia Education, 1995

Guest, DerynMona WestRobert E. Goss, and Thomas Bohache, (eds)The Queer Bible Commentary . London: SCM.

Haldeman, S. “A Queer Fidelity: Reinventing Christian Marriage.” Theology and Sexuality 13.2: 137–52.

Hanigan, James: Homosexuality: The Test Case for Christian Sexual Ethics (Theological Inquiries) (Paulist Press, 1988)

Hanks, Tom. The Subversive Gospel: A New Testament Commentary of Liberation (Pilgrim Press)

Hanvey, John Michael: Prayed Out: God in Dark Places

Hasbany, Richard: Homosexuality and Religion (Haworth Press, 1990) 231 pages

Heacock, AnthonyJonathan Loved David: Manly Love in the Bible and the Hermeneutics of Sex (Sheffield Phoenix Press)

Helminiak,Daniel: What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality (Alamo Square Press, 1994 ) 149 pages

Helminiak,Daniel: Sex and the Sacred: Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth (Harrington Park Press, 2006) 235 pages

Henson, JohnThe Gay Disciple: Jesus’ Friend Tells It His Own Way (O Books, 2007)

Heyward, Carter:  Speaking of Christ: A Lesbian Feminist Voice Edited by Ellen C. Davis. (Pilgrim Press)

Heyward, Carter:    Saving Jesus From Those Who Are Right

Heyward, Carter:   Touching Our Strength: The Erotic As Power and the Love of God

Horner, Tom: Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality in Biblical Times

Hubble, Christopher: Lord Given Lovers: The Holy Union of David & Jonathan (Hubble Books, 2003).

Hunt, Mary: Fierce Tenderness: A Feminist Theology of Friendship (Crossroad, 1991)

Isherwood, Lisa & Stuart, Elisabeth Introducing Body Theology (Introductions In Feminist Theology) (Sheffield academic Press, 1998)

Isherwood, Lisa, and Mark D. Jordan, editors. Dancing Theology in Fetish Boots: Essays in Honour of Marcella Althaus-Reid (SCM Press)

Isherwood, Lisa, and Marcella Althaus-ReidTrans/formations  (SCM Press)

Isherwood, LisaThe Power of Erotic Celibacy: Queering Heterosexuality  (T & T Clark)

Isherwood, Lisa.  The Sexual Theologian: Essays on Sex, God and Politics

Jennings, Theodore W. Jacob’s Wound: Homoerotic Narrative in the Literature of Ancient Israel (Continuum)

Jennings, Theodore W. Plato or Paul?: The Origins of Western Homophobia

Jennings, Theodore W. The man jesus loved (Pilgrim Press)

Jennings, Theodore W.  Transforming Atonement: A Political Theology of the Cross

Jonson, Toby: Gay Perspective: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us About the Nature of God and the Universe

Jonson, Toby: Gay Spirituality: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness (White Crane )

Jordan, Mark: The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology (University of Chicago Press, 1997)

Jordan, Mark:  The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism (University of Chicago Press, 2000)

Jordan, Mark:  Blessing Same-Sex Unions: The Perils of Queer Romance and the Confusions of Christian Marriage (Univ of Chicago Press)

Jordan, Mark: . Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality . Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Jordan, Mark D.Meghan T. Sweeney, and David M. Mellott, editors. Authorizing Marriage?: Canon, Tradition, and Critique in the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Jordan, Mark D: Telling Truths in Church: Scandal, Flesh, and Christian Speech

Kamitsuka, Margaret D: The Embrace of Eros: Bodies, Desires, and Sexuality in ChristianityMinneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Karslake, DanielHelen Mendoza, and Nancy KennedyFor The Bible Tells Me So New York: First Run Features. (film)

Keenan, James(ed): Catholic Ethicists on HIV/AIDS Prevention (Continuum, 2000)

Keenan, James A History of Catholic Moral Theology in the Twentieth Century: From Confessing Sins to Liberating Consciences

Kelly, Kevin: New Directions in Sexual Ethics: Moral Theology and the Challenge of AIDS (Geoffrey Chapman, 1998)

Kelly, Kevin: From a Parish Base Essays in Moral & Pastoral Theology (DLT, 1999)

Kelly, Michael B ,  Seduced by Grace: Contemporary spirituality, Gay experience and Christian faith

Knust, Jennifer Wright. Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire New York: HarperOne.

Kuefler, Mathew (ed.) The Boswell Thesis: Essays on Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality ‘ University of Chicago Press, 2006 

Kundtz, David, and Bernard Sloan Schlager.  Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk: LGBT Pastoral Care (Pilgrim Press)

L’Empereur, James Spiritual Direction and the Gay Person (Geoffrey Chapman, 1998)

Lamp, Walter: Biblical Sex, What the Bible Says and Doesn’t Say About Sex and Marriage

Lopata, Mary Ellen:  Fortunate Families: Catholic families with lesbian daughters and gay sons (Trafford Publishin, 2006) 180 pages

Loughlin, Gerard, (ed)Queer Theology: Rethinking the Western Body.  Malden, Mass: Blackwell Pub

Lynch, Bernard: A Priest on Trial Bloomsbury, 1993

Lynch, Bernard: If It Wasn’t Love: Sex, Death and God

Macourt, MalcolmTowards a Theology of Gay LiberationLondon: SCM.

Macwilliam, StuartQueer Theory and the Prophetic Marriage Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible (BibleWorld) . Sheffield, U.K.: Equinox.

Marshall, Paul VictorSame Sex Unions Stories and Rites Church Pub.

Martin, Dale B. Sex and the Single Savior: Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

McGinley, DuganActs of Faith, Acts of Love: Gay Catholic Autobiographies as Sacred Texts (Continuum, 2004)

McNaught, Brian: On Being Gay: Thoughts on Family, Faith, and Love (St Martin’s Press, 1988)

McNaught, Brian: “Sex Camp”

McNeill, John: The Church and the Homosexual (Beacon Press, 4th edition 1996)

McNeill, John: Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual Journey to the Fullness of Life for Gays, Lesbians, and Everybody Else (Beacon Press, 1995)

McNeill, JohnBoth Feet Firmly Planted in Midair: My Spiritual Journey

McNeill, John: Taking a Chance on God: Liberating Theology for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Lovers, Families,  and Friends Beacon Press, 1988, 1996

McNeill, John: Sex as God Intended  Lethe Press, 2008 

Michaelson, JayGod vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality Beacon Press.

Miner, Jeff, and John Tyler Connoley. The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships (LifeJourney Press)

Mollenknott, Virginia Ramey Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach

Moore, Gareth OP:  The Body in Context: Sex and Catholicism (Continuum Books, 2001)

Moore, Gareth OP: A Question of Truth: Christianity and Homosexuality (Continuum Books, 2003) (Scripture, Theology, Sexuality)

Moore, Stephen D.  God’s Beauty Parlor: And Other Queer Spaces in and Around the Bible Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Naphy, William G: Born to be Gay: A History of Homosexuality 

Nelson, James B., and Sandra P. Longfellow, editors. Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection (Westminster/John Knox Press)

Noort, Edward, and Eibert J. C. TigchelaarSodom’s Sin: Genesis 18-19 and its Interpretations  Brill.

Nyland, AnnStudy New Testament For Lesbians, Gays, Bi, And Transgender: With Extensive Notes On Greek Word Meaning And Context (Smith and Stirling).

O’Brien, Glen: Praying from the Margins: Gospel Reflections of a Gay Man (The Columbia Press, Dublin. 2001)

O’Neill, Craig, and Kathleen Ritter. Coming Out Within: Stages of Spiritual Awakening for Lesbians and Gay Men San Francisco, CA: Harper SanFrancisco.

O’Neill, Dennis Passionate Holiness: Marginalized Christian Devotions for Distinctive People

Pagola, Jose: Jesus, an Historical Approximation (Kyrios)

Patterson, Linda J. Hate Thy Neighbor: How the Bible is Misused to Condemn Homosexuality

Peddicord, Richard: Gay & Lesbian Rights: A Question: Sexual Ethics or Social Justice? (Sheed & Ward, 1996)

Perry, Troy, with Charles L. LucasThe Lord Is My Shepherd and He Knows I’m Gay: The Autobiography of the Reverend Troy D. Perry Nash Publishing.

Pomfrett, Scott: Since My Last Confession: A Gay Catholic Memoir (Arcade Publishing, 2008)

Ramer, Andrew. Queering the Text: Biblical, Medieval, and Modern Jewish StoriesLethe Press.

Ramer, Andrew: Gay Soul: Finding the Heart of Gay Spirit and Nature with Sixteen Writers, Healers, Teache

Ramer, Andrew: Two Flutes Playing: A Spiritual Journeybook for Gay Men (White Crane )

Robinson, Geoffrey: Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church (The Columba Press, 2007)

Rogers, Eugene F. Sexuality and the Christian Body: Their Way into the Triune God Oxford: Blackwell.

Rogers, Jack Bartlett. Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press.

Rudy, KathySex and the Church: Gender, Homosexuality, and the Transformation of Christian Ethics

Salzmann, Todd A., and Michael G LawlerThe Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology 

Scanzoni, Letha, and Virginia R. Mollenkott. Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? Revised and Updated: Positive Christian Response, A
(Updated and revised in 1994.)

Schinnick, Maurice: This Remarkable Gift: Being Gay & Catholic (Allen & Unwin, 1998)

Scroggs, Robin: New Testament and Homosexuality (Augsburg Fortress, 1984)

Sharpe, Keith. The Gay Gospels: Good News for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered People O-Books.

Sheridan, Vanessa.  Liberating the Transgendered Christian Pilgrim Press.

Siker, Jeffrey L: Homosexuality and Religion: An Encyclopedia

Smith, Richard: AIDS, Gays, And the American Catholic Church The Pilgrim Press, 1994

Sphero, M.W. The Gay Faith: Christ, Scripture, and Sexuality Herms Press.

Spong, John Shelby. Living in Sin?: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality Harper & Row.

Stevenson, Thomas B:  Sons of the Church: The Witnessing of Gay Catholic Men

Stone, Ken, editor. Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible (Library Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies) Pilgrim Press.

Stone, Ken: .Practicing Safer Texts: Food, Sex and Bible in Queer Perspective   T & T Clark International.

Stone, Ken. Sex, Honor, and Power in the Deuteronomistic History JSOT Press.

Storey, WilliamA Book of Prayer: For Gay and Lesbian Christians (Crossroads, 2002 )

Stuart, Elisabeth: Daring to Speak Love’s Name: A Gay and Lesbian Prayer Book Hamish Hamilton, 1992

Stuart, Elisabeth: Just Good Friends: Towards a Lesbian and Gay Theology of Relationships (Mowbray, 1995)

Stuart, Elisabeth: Christian Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender (Gracewing, 1995 )

Stuart, Elisabeth and Adrian Thatcher: People of Passion: What the Churches Teach About Sex (Mowbray, 1997)

Stuart, Elisabeth: Religion is a Queer Thing: A Guide to the Christian Faith for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered People (Cassell, 1997)

Stuart, Elisabeth: Gay & Lesbian Theologies: Repetitions With Critical Difference

Sullivan, Andrew: Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality (Picador, 1995)

Sullivan, Andrew: Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival (Chatto & Windus, 1998)

Tanis, Justin Edward. Trans-Gendered: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith . Cleveland, Ohio: Pilgrim Press.

Thatcher, Adrian and Elisabeth StuartPeople of Passion: What the Churches Teach About Sex

Tigert, Leanne McCall, and Maren C. Tirabassi.All Whom God Has Joined: Resources for Clergy and Same-Gender Loving Couples  Pilgrim Press.

Tigert, Leanne McCall, and Maren C. Tirabassi. Transgendering Faith: Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality  Pilgrim Press.

Vasey, MStrangers and friends: A new exploration of homosexuality and the Bible

Via, Dan Otto, and Robert A. J. GagnonHomosexuality and the Bible: Two Views Fortress Press.

White, Mel. Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America New York: Plume.

Wilson, Nancy LOur Tribe: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Bible (Updated and revised in 2000.)

Wink, Walter, editor. Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches Augsburg Fortress.

Woods, Richard: Another Kind of Love: Homosexuality and Spirituality (St Thomas More Press, 1988)

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