Post submitted by HRC’s Religion and Faith intern Brydie O'Connor.
The Capital Pride Interfaith Service was held on Monday at the Luther Place Memorial Church in Northwest Washington, D.C. Amidst rainbow decorations, a lively choir and a crowd of people of many different faiths, the event’s keynote speaker, Rev. Frank Schaefer, discussed how he defended the LGBT community in his own faith congregation.
As a pastor of the United Methodist Church, Rev. Schaefer faced trial by his church in December after he officiated his son’s same-sex wedding in 2007. At the service Monday night, wearing the same rainbow stole that was in his pocket during his trial, Rev. Schaefer recalled the fear he felt when his church asked him asked if he would continue to officiate same-sex weddings in the future. Despite the possibility that Schaefer could have lost his job and security, he stood before the jury and stated that he would always support the equality of all people, no matter a person’s sexual orientation.
Rev. Schaeffer’s actions were so important because his position as a religious leader has allowed him to participate in creating a nuanced idea about the interaction between religion and LGBT activism. His decision to stand up for equality as a pastor of the United Methodist Church has certainly contributed to a running dialogue about making religion a more welcoming institution for members of the LGBT community. Many other religious leaders around the country have voiced their support of the LGBT community and have created examples of LGBT acceptance in many different religions.
Along with these courageous leaders, religious groups have shown support for the LGBT community as well. At this year’s Capital Pride Celebration, over fifteen religiously-affiliated groups will be marching through the streets of Washington, D.C. in the Pride Parade this Saturday. These examples of open support of the LGBT community by religious leaders and groups greatly contribute to, “creating a world where nobody is forced to choose between who they are or who they love and what they believe.”
HRC’s Religion and Faith Program seeks to engage all faith traditions in a deeper dialogue on questions of fairness and equality for LGBT Americans. For more resources from HRC’s Religion and Faith program, visit http://www.hrc.org/
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