By Susan Silverio, Welcoming Congregation Ministry Team
At UUFR’s annual meeting on June 6, we need you to vote for an important new statement of conscience that will allow us to stand up against trans-phobic and anti-LGBTQ+ laws in North Carolina and across the country. (To attend, join us on Zoom at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 6.)
In April, North Carolina made headlines when legislators introduced outrageous bills that would have banned transgender girls from sports teams and forced teachers to report students for “gender nonconformity.” At the time, our Welcoming Congregations Team was eager for UUFR Tto join the list of organizations and institutions which were adamantly opposed to that legislation.
However, according to UUFR by-laws, that was not a possibility because the congregation had never voted on a statement of conscience on this topic.
Luckily, those bad bills died. But let’s face it: we all know legislatures, school boards, and institutions aren’t going to stop trying to do stuff like this.
This is why the team has proposed that UUFR adopt the following statement of conscience to allow us to respond to any attempts to violate the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in the future:
“The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh affirms the inherent worth and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people of all ages and is committed to actively working for the full inclusion, rights, and self-determination of those individuals in our own congregation, in Unitarian Universalism, and in society at large.
Therefore, we resolve to actively promote the enactment of laws, constitutional amendments, policies, and practices at all levels of government, in our institutions, and in society as a whole which provide for said inclusion, rights, and self-determination, and to take specific actions to defeat all attempts at any infringement of them.”
Please vote “yes” at the annual meeting, and if you have any questions, please contact Susan Silverio at (904) 583-1792.
This statement fits in with UUFR’s long history of support and advocacy for LGBTQ+ people and issues. Beginning with our earliest ministers in the late 1980’s, UUFR ministers have performed LGBTQ Services of Union. Here is just a taste of the actions we’ve taken in recent years:
- In 2004, UUFR voted unanimously for a “statement of conscience” to support the “basic right of same-sex couples to marry and to share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitments of civil marriage.”
- In 2011-12, UUFR provided space and support for phone banks making over 80,000 calls against passage of Amendment 1 to the NC State Constitution which made same sex marriage illegal in North Carolina.
- After the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, on October 10, 2014, UUFR ministers John Saxon, Rev. Tom Rhodes, and Rev. Karla Brockie were at the Wake County Courthouse to provide free marriage services for the first same sex couples granted marriage licenses.
- In 2017, more than 100 members and friends participated in the work to recertify UUFR as a UUA Welcoming Congregation.
We continue to do all we can to support the LGBTQ+ community, including inclusive religious education, participation in PRIDE parades and OUT!Raleigh festivals, and services that feature the stories of LGBTQ members. For more than 20 years, we have hosted a monthly LGBT Game Night currently in cooperation with the LGBT Center of Raleigh, and we permanently display a Pride flag at our main entrance.
Yours in faith, our Welcoming Congregation Ministry Team: Georgia Springer, Joyce (Gad) Pollack, Judi Egbert, Kathy Bundy, Greg Hunt, Susan Silverio
If you want to get involved with our team, contact [email protected].