Recognition of same-sex marriage (SSM) & LGBT equality
Part 25: Alabama:
Human Rights Campaign Alabama rally.
Journalist Lee A. Daniels comments on SSM.
3rd presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
votes on a same-sex marriage resolution.
In this web site, the acronym "SSM" refers to same-sex marriage. Also, "LGBT"
refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/Transsexual community.
PC(USA) refers to the Presbyterian Church (USA).
2015-FEB-21: Human Rights Campaign Alabama holds pro-marriage equality rally:
The Human Rights Campaign is one of the leading national organizations promoting human rights for the LGBT community. They held a rally at Birminghams AIDS Outreach.
Ben Cooper, chairperson of Equality Alabama -- the main state group promoting marriage equality expressed disappointment that some Probate Judges are still refusing to issue marriage licenses in the state. He said:
"We are terribly disappointed, yes. The majority of our counties are issuing licenses to all couples, to same-sex couples. And those judges that have decided not to do that are defying [the courts.] ... Those judges that are not issuing licenses at all are actually wasting tax payers money because they should be issuing licenses." 1
2015-FEB-25: Lee A. Daniels comments on same-sex marriage:
Lee A. Daniels is a black journalist based in New York City. He commented on the recent victories for tolerance in the U.S. He wrote:
"... even as the victories expand the 'space' for tolerance, the forces of bigotry work even harder to maintain the barriers of exclusion.
The most dramatic example of that dynamic over the past decade has been conservatives’ furious and in many instances deranged reaction to the Obama presidency. Close behind has been their opposition to the increased support of the right of gays and lesbians to marry as other American do. The advance of that latter sentiment has been nothing short of extraordinary since the ruling of Massachusetts’ highest state court legalizing same-sex marriage there provoked numerous conservative-dominated states to approve constitutional amendments banning it. ..."
"...it’s widely expected that this June the U.S. Supreme Court will affirm those federal court decisions in a landmark case it accepted for review last fall. Even though oral arguments in that case won’t be heard until the spring, the High Court sent a strong signal of its intent last week in rebuffing Moore’s gambit in Alabama and allowing marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples there.
So, one might say a complete victory for legalizing same-sex marriage is at hand. Of course, that will not be a happy moment for those black Americans who oppose legalizing such unions—just as it won’t be for opponents of other backgrounds. And, it must be said, as several polls have shown, that black opposition to homosexuality and lesbianism is qualitatively different from that of the white opposition. That’s the reason anti-gay and lesbian sentiment has no significant impact on black political activity.
But it will be a happy moment for the black freedom struggle overall, because that struggle has been immeasurably aided over the last decade by the coalescing of the debate about the rights due those one may call 'outsider Americans'—not just gays and lesbians and the groups mentioned above, but white women, too. This is the debate over America’s future as a multiracial, multicultural nation, one whose 'outsiders' are demanding 'in' on terms satisfactory to them.
The rise of this new American society—which, of course, is still very much in formation—has underscored a fundamental point about bigotry. It’s almost always all-inclusive: Those who express bigotry against one group of people 'different' from them are likely to be bigoted against others who are different in different ways as well.
That means that 'outsider Americans' must pledge allegiance to a fundamental principle: full citizenship and equal rights for all." 2
We are not able to show Daniels' full essay because we are limited in the maximum number of words we can quote. The full essay is well worth reading, 2
2015-FEB-28: A third Alabama presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) considers the 2014 same-sex marriage resolution and rejects it.
Representatives from the laity and clergy in the Presbytery of South Alabama voted 34 to 22 to reject the proposed re-definition of marriage in the denomination's Book of Order. The central and northern presbyteries previously voted in favor of the measure. They were the 29th presbytery in the U.S. to have rejected the change.
This vote made the national tally about 64 presbyteries in favor of the measure and 29 opposed. Revising the Book of Order requires a majority of 87 of the 172 presbyteries to vote in favor of the change.
Rev. Buz Wilcoxon, senior pastor of the Springhill Presbyterian Church in Mobile, AL led the group in a prayer before the vote. He said:
"We give you thanks for the unity that bonds us together. May we be one as you and Christ are one."
Rev. George R. Sinclair Jr., pastor of Government Street Presbyterian Church in Mobile, AL, said:
"If this amendment were not changing the definition of marriage, I'd be in favor of it. I agree with the intention to honor the civil liberties of gay and lesbian people, [but] I don't think changing the definition of marriage is the way to do that."
Mary Burns, an elder at Trinity Presbyterian in Fairhope, AL, said:
"A lot of us are tired of this because it's pulling the church apart. The church should lead the culture and not be part of the culture. There is a time when the church needs to say no."
Rev. Steven Kurtz, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Gulf Shores, AL supported the amendment. He said:
"We have a chance to open the door to people among us who love each other and want to stay together."
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is in a difficult position. Much of their funding comes from older members who are opposed to marriage equality. Yet large majorities of their older teens and young adults strongly favor same-sex marriage, and find it difficult to stay in a denomiation that has conservative views concerning sexual orientation, gender identity, and science generally. They are leaving in large numbers and few seem to be returning later in life. 3
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Supporters of marriage equality rally in Birmingham," Alabama's13 News, 2015-FEB-21, at: http://www.alabamas13.com/
- Lee A. Daniels, "Gay marriage in Alabama," Frost Illustrated, 2015-FEB-25, at: http://www.frostillustrated.com/
- Carol McPhail, "Presbyterians in south Alabama vote no on same-sex marriage amendment," Alabama Media Group, 2015-FEB-28, at: http://www.al.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2015-FEB-22
Latest update: 2015-FEB-26
Author: B.A. Robinson