Religious Leaders join Equality Week
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
Hundreds — possibly thousands — of religious leaders across the country will devote their sermons during the week of March 21–27, 1999 to calling for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people. Congregations across the country will be called upon to support the full equality and dignity of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and to challenge the anti-gay attacks of the religious right. Equality Begins at Home is the first-ever coordinated political campaign of actions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender equality. Religious-themed actions and organizing will be a major component of the week's events.
"For many of us faith fuels our passion for social justice, while others of us feel forced to choose between our faith and our sexual orientation," said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director Kerry Lobel. "These Equality Begins at Home faith-based events and coalitions are critical to countering the homophobia and misinformation of the religious right. We thank all religious leaders and faith-based activists who join us in this historic week," added Lobel.
As part of Equality Beings at Home faith-based organizing, Equal Partners in Faith is developing a Proclamation of Equality for religious people — of all faiths — to sign. This proclamation will be read at prayer vigils, rallies, and worship services during Equality Begins at Home week. Equal Partners in Faith is a multi-racial, multi-faith national network of religious leaders and people of faith committed to equality and diversity.
"We are going to show mainstream America that this is not a polarization issue. There are many people of faith who support the full equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people," said Reverend Steven Baines of Equal Partners in Faith and an ordained Southern Baptist minister.
In Michigan, houses of worship across the state will fly rainbow flags during EBAH week, and religious leaders will speak out against hate violence. In California, there will be an interfaith service at the capitol building. Other states planning worship services and other faith-based activities for equality include Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Virginia, and Wyoming.
Equality Begins at Home is coordinated by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and organized by the Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Statewide Political Organizations.
The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movementís premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.
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