Press

NRLR applauds the passage of the Social Statement on Human Sexuality by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Date: 
August 20, 2009

MEDIA CONTACT:
Pedro Julio Serrano, Communications Coordinator
(Office) 646.358.1479
(Cell) 787.602.5954
pjserrano@theTaskForce.org

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 — The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, applauds the passage of the Social Statement on Human Sexuality, "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust," at the biennial assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Minneapolis, Minn. The social statement among other things, lays a theological foundation for a liberalized policy on lesbian, gay and bisexual clergy and acknowledges the validity of same-sex relationships that are "chaste, monogamous and lifelong."

Statement by Emily Eastwood, Executive Director
Lutherans Concerned/North America
National Religious Leadership Roundtable Member

"This is a day of progress and compromise. By a two-thirds majority the church has supported families of all kinds and has acknowledged without judgment the wide variety of views within the ELCA regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion. The document recognizes the ministries of congregations which conduct blessings of same-gender relationships and same-gender marriages where such marriages are legal. The social statement is tolerant of our differences both in scriptural interpretation and practice. It supports our unity without requiring uniformity. There is still much work to do, but the door to full inclusion of LGBT members and their families is now most definitely open.

"The social statement now forms the basis for policy and advocacy on issues related to families and sexuality both for ministry and advocacy in church and society. It now serves as a teaching document that describes the world and society that the ELCA lives and works in to provide ministry and spread the Gospel. It also provides the basis and guidance for the formulation of policy and the creation of programs. We are encouraged and hopeful that on Friday this foundation will result in the church's elimination of the current ban on ministers in committed same-gender relationships.

"We celebrate in particular the emphasis of the social statement on the centrality of family in the life of the church and society — all families without differentiation. For too long the church has failed to recognize the centrality of family and acceptance in the lives of its LGBT members. Now, the healing of the rift that leads to wholeness can begin."

–30–

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.