"Inclusion, protection and celebration of all": A statement from the bishops

This week in 2015, in its landmark Obergefell ruling, the Supreme Court established fundamental marriage equality for LGBTQ persons throughout the nation.  We greeted that decision with joy, recognizing as it did that equal treatment under the law is not only a democratic principle, but also one that recognizes the inherent, God-given goodness of every human being, and supports societal structures which enshrine our communal recognition of that goodness.

Eight years later the current Supreme Court has issued a ruling which could legitimize the false notion that First Amendment rights allow religious conviction to be cited as an excuse for unequal treatment under the law and the failure to protect those who may be vulnerable to bigotry or hatred.  Any ostensible religious conviction used to enshrine inequality or injustice is antithetical to the Christian Gospel, and to our baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being.

This ruling comes at a time when a tidal wave of anti-LGBTQ legislative efforts have been introduced across the country, threatening protections for LGBTQ persons and causing fear among many, including our own church members, family members and siblings of every sort.  Meanwhile, schools and libraries confront nationwide efforts to ban books and restrict the honest facing of our nation’s history in matters of race and justice.  Here we are reminded of the prophet Jeremiah, who proclaimed, “They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying ‘Peace, Peace,’ when there is no peace.” [6:14]

We wish, in this moment, to declare ourselves and our diocese fully committed to the fullest inclusion, protection and celebration of all children of God, and to advocate tirelessly for the same not only in our houses of worship, but in our communities and our nation.

We join with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who affirmed this week:  “This may feel like a moment of difficulty and darkness, and it is.  And yet the work goes on. … I believe deep in my soul that God is always seeking to create a world and a society where all are loved, where justice is done, and where the God-given equality of us all is honored in our relationships, in our social arrangements, and in law.” 

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan
The Rt. Rev. Carol J.W.T. Gallagher, Assistant Bishop