Still Much to Do

For Immediate Release, November 14, 2008

By Affirmation Co-spokespersons Diane DeLap & Tim Tennant-Jayne

The 2008 elections are over. On the one hand, we all breathe a sigh of
relief. No more attack ads. No more constant arguments over what candidate
said what. Also, these elections do bring hope. There is hope for the
future in the selection of a new President and in the ever-increasing number
of elected officials who are openly queer. On the other hand, the 2008
elections gave us several setbacks in civil rights.

"Same-gender marriage" bans passed in Arizona, Florida, and most
disappointingly, California where the status of thousands of same-gender
marriages is now unknown. We say "same-gender marriage" in quotes because
for us it's not "gay marriage" or "lesbian marriage." Also, the use of the
term "one man and one woman" in most of the legislation ignores the many
transgender and intersex citizens who are forced, under these statutes, to
remain unmarried. Civil marriage should simply be the life commitment of
one person to another. This is something fundamental and taken for granted
by a large portion of our populace. In addition, a ban on adoptions by gay
and lesbian couples and non-married heterosexual couples passed in Arkansas.
Our country has, since its beginning, rejected the influence of religious
opinions on civil law. The laws passed this week reflect a broadening
influence of religious fundamentalism on governments that could lead to far
more serious issues in the future.

Even where marriage rights are achieved at the state level, same-gender
couples still have to spend thousands of dollars on legal documents to
achieve the over 1,000 federal protections any opposite-gender couple can
get with a marriage license and a simple ceremony, either religious or
civil. We tire of paying first class taxes for second class citizenship in
a few states, third class citizenship in most of them.

There are those voices that claim this is just following biblical teachings.
Yet the fundamentals of those teachings are our equality before a God who
loves each of us as we are, wills the best for us, and urges us to treat one
another as we wish to be treated. There are those voices that claim this is
not the same as racial struggles for equal rights. The similarity is that
we can no more change our sexual orientation or gender identity than others
can change the color of their skin.

Affirmation will continue to work to open the hearts of The United Methodist
Church so that one day "Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds" will become a
reality. We will also work to rescind state and federal laws that relegate
us to second- and third-class citizenship.

We rejoice in the support of the United Methodist congregations,
conferences, pastors, members, and bishops in California who recognize the
basic human and civil right of two people legally uniting their lives.

There is, unfortunately, even in 2008, still much to do.

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As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer
people, Affirmation radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming
gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church
as we journey with the Spirit in creating God's beloved community.

Affirmation is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with
no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

How to Contact Us: email: umaffirmation@...
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Affirmation web: http://www.umaffirm.org