Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Minister on Marriage Equality

A note to share on one of my personal & professional struggles for change in the world. Governor Paterson has introduced a bill for marriage equality to the New York State congress. I have written to my state senator: As your constituent, and as an ordained resident minister in the state of New York, I request the right to marry all loving and committed couples, and to officiate their access to the civil privileges and responsibilities of marriage. I applaud governor Paterson's support of equal marriage, and I am asking for your support and your vote for the Governor's program bill to provide equal marriage for lesbian and gay couples in the state of New York. New York is always on the forefront of equal rights movements of all types. We enjoy civil liberties in New York that we take for granted, however we always pave the way for progressive change across our nation. Our stance is a strong vote towards a future without hate, where people enjoy simple but profound freedoms regardless of their color, their religion, or the gender of their true love. As an ordained minister, the lack of equal rights legislation is preventing me from performing my ministerial and civil duties when I am asked to perform joint civil and religious ceremonies of love and commitment for gay or lesbian couples. This legislation is pivotal to my granting access to civil liberties and equal rights, hampering my full access to the same rites/rights and rituals I am privileged to perform for heterosexuals. I hope you'll vote for this important legislation and make clear that New York is a state that honors and respects all loving couples and all families equally, and grant the freedom to ministers like myself to do what is right for committed and loving couples. Rev. Criss Ittermann I wanted to publicly post this as a reminder that it is not all religions, nor all religious persons, priests or ministers who are in opposition to marriage equality. I support the change and my church of ordination respects the equal rights of all people regardless of religion, sexuality, gender, race, (dis)ability, etc. I have already vowed that the first wedding ceremony I perform will be a same-sex marriage. I know we are closer than ever before, and I will happily and proudly officiate once this legislation has passed. Here's hoping that President Obama keeps his promises to the Gay community, that New York remains on the forefront of change in our nation and stops dragging its feet. I bless and thank all states that have already recognized that equal access to marriage is pivotal to remaining a society that is free and respects basic human liberties, and here's hoping those states that have recognized then overturned equal rights to marry wake up and smell the freedom coffee brewing.

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