Press

National Religious Leadership Roundtable celebrates 10th anniversary

Date: 
February 05, 2009

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 — The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, a leading group of pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) faith leaders, is again stepping to the forefront to counter the voices of religious conservatives. While celebrating its 10th anniversary, the roundtable, convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to work toward full equality for LGBT people.

“The National Religious Leadership Roundtable is a critical tool to combat anti-LGBT activism, now more than ever, as conservative religious voices seek to dominate society — despite growing support from people in the pews. We call on conservative religious communities to heal the hatred, we challenge progressive people of faith to speak out in our support and we remind our LGBT communities that supportive communities of faith are alive and well,” says the Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, Institute for Welcoming Resources and faith work director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The roundtable, an interfaith network of leaders from more than 70 religious organizations representing millions of pro-LGBT people of faith, issued the statement at the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in Denver, Colo. The conference, which occurred on the heels of the inauguration, attracted more than 2,000 LGBT rights supporters.

In its statement, the roundtable said, in part, “… when conservative religious voices are lifted in oppression, our pro-LGBT religious voices must be lifted in liberation. … This tradition of lifting up truth and speaking with the voice of LGBT spirituality as a gift cannot be denied. From confronting James Dobson to phone banking on anti-LGBT legislation to being arrested on the streets in protest, the National Religious Leadership Roundtable continues to speak truth to power.” Read the full statement.

Roundtable representatives also urged “mainstream LGBT organizations to prioritize work with faith communities and in all planning assure the presence of LGBT faith leaders with an equal and fully empowered seat at the table.” Read more.

Over the past decade, the roundtable has taken several strong stances on faith-oriented events of the day. Most recently it held a pre-election press conference with dozens of faith leaders from myriad traditions on the steps of San Francisco City Hall calling for the support of the freedom to marry.

“People of faith have played a critical role in the march toward equality,” says Voelkel. “For the past 10 years, the roundtable has lifted pro-LGBT voices of faith in media and direct actions to say that faithful does not equal hateful of LGBT folks. We’re sounding the call for pro-LGBT people of faith to continue this legacy.”

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The National Religious Leadership Roundtable (NRLR), convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is an interfaith network of leaders from pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) faith, spiritual and religious organizations. We work in partnership with other groups to promote understanding of and respect for LGBT people within society at large and in communities of faith. We promote understanding and respect within LGBT communities for a variety of faith paths and for religious liberty, and to achieve commonly held goals that promote equality, spirituality and justice.

The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s 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.