HRC Blog

History Made at Lutheran Conference

This post comes from Ashley Vogel, HRC’s Religion & Faith Program intern:

Last week, history was made as a presiding Lutheran bishop spoke before an LGBT faith group for the first time as part of Reconciling Works’ biennial conference. Reconciling Works is an advocacy group that has been working since 1974 for the full inclusion of LGBT Lutherans in the Church and in society.

Another first for the conference was a lobby day in which hundreds of LGBT and allied Lutheran clergy and lay people descended upon Capitol Hill to talk with their senators and representatives about legislation on important issues such as employment non-discrimination, bullying, and marriage. By way of Reconciling Works, the Lutherans are the first faith community to host a conference that includes a lobby day exclusively on social justice for the LGBT community. It was exciting to be a part of these historic firsts through HRC!  As an intern in HRC's Religion & Faith program, I assisted Reconciling Works with the scheduling of over 125 meetings with Hill offices and the research and development of various lobby day resources. I also had the experience of serving as a lobby day group leader for my home state of New Jersey, guiding my delegation to our congressional offices and guiding them on how to tell personal stories and make asks of their elected officials.

The lobby day was a tremendous success, with Rep. Ron Kind (WI-03) deciding that afternoon to cosponsor the Student Non-Discrimination Act after a meeting with constituents from ReconcilingWorks. Discussing legislation was a key component of the lobby day, but perhaps even more powerful was seeing all of the clergy and lay people fighting for LGBT rights and proudly claiming their faith in support of full equality and representing a new, inclusive face of Christianity in political advocacy.

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