Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Political Leaders Coming Out In Support of LGBT Equality

I thought I would have to pick my jaw up off the floor when I heard that former NY GOP State Senate Leader, Joe Bruno came out in support of marriage equality (Click here to read the Daily News article). I remember what an strident opponent he had been to LGBT rights: once referring to homosexuality as an 'abnormal lifestyle;' in 2007 Bruno refused to bring a gay-marriage bill for a vote in the Senate; and, just last year he threatened to pass a Defense of Marriage Act to negate Paterson's directive to state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state. It appears that now that he is retired and not dependent upon the far right religious groups for voter support, he is rethinking his former position. I don't want to be totally unfair here. Bruno did make some significant steps forward when in 2002 he helped to push the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act through the Senate. Maybe there really is hope for New York finally adopting a Marriage Equality bill soon... let's hope!

The times are definitely changing! For the first time ever a seated President has issued a proclamation in support of LGBT rights. President Obama did this through a proclamation that recognizes June, 2009 as Pride Month (Click here to read the proclamation). According to the Religious Institute's President, Rev. Debra W. Haffner, "No other President has ever uttered anything like these words... The fact that he included bisexual and transgender people shows that he 'gets it.'"

If that wasn't enough good news, the U.S. Conference of Mayors went further than the President. Just this week, it passed a resolution titled "Equality and Civil Rights for Gay and Lesbian Americans (Click here to download a copy of the resolution)," including support for marriage equality along with endorsement of federal bills such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, the Uniting American Families Act, and the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Keep your prayers and efforts going and maybe 2009 will be the year we finally see some real changes in NY State... changes that will finally recognize the rights of many of our state's couples and families. It's about time!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Congratulations Eastern Parkway UMC of Schenectady!

After almost two years of discussion and study, the Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church of Schenectady, New York voted today to become a reconciling congregation. After those present were reminded of the hard work done by the leadership of the church over the past two years, they were also reminded that remaining respectful of each others opinions has and continues to be central to the process. Without much further discussion, the well prepared church members on hand voted to become the sixth reconciling congregation of the Troy Annual Conference and one of ten reconciling congregations that will be a part of our new Annual Conference in 2010.