We hope the 2015 holidays brought happiness to you and your friends and family.
However, we know that some members of the LGBT community may have had a hard time connecting to the season. Therefore, Equality Illinois compiled a booklet of faith messages geared at many of the themes of the holidays: inclusion, love, freedom, family, and much more.
We hope that this brochure demonstrated that there is a place for everyone in the LGBT community as we collectively celebrated the warmth of the holidays.
- Identify welcoming congregations;
- Build stronger relationships with communities of faith who share our interest in issues of justice and fairness;
- Emphasize the positive relationship between religion and equality for all versus the persistent misconception that the majority of faith communities oppose equality for LGBTQ people.
“Equality In Your Faith Community: A Guide to LGBT-Inclusive Religious Practices” is a comprehensive compilation of contributions from faith communities across Illinois and is designed to share best practices based on real experience and grassroots learning. Some communities of faith already practice these thoughtful and creative ways to show their support, and some are looking for ways to further their inclusion and deepen their welcome. Many are seeking a way to become a welcoming and affirming community through and through. We trust this guide will serve the needs of all communities of faith regardless of where they are in their inclusive journey. This comprehensive guide can be read and downloaded here.
If you would like to see a condensed version of this guide, please download the companion brochure (pictured left) EQIL Equality in Your Faith Community, which you can print and share with your community of faith!
Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov introduces clergy members in support of the freedom to marry at a Springfield news conference in 2013. In a mix of Equality Illinois’ faith outreach and advocacy, the faith leaders then spread out through the state Capitol to meet with lawmakers.
THE RELIGIOUS CASE FOR THE FREEDOM TO MARRY
Thanks to Equality Illinois’ sustained outreach, faith leaders throughout the state declared support for the freedom to marry and were instrumental in the successful passage of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. To counter the opponents’ voices, Equality Illinois printed The Religious Case for the Freedom to Marry and built a broad and multi-denominational faith coalition:
- -More than 300 clergy from throughout Illinois signed “An Open Letter from Illinois Clergy and Faith Leaders on Marriage,”
- -Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, and Rev. Dr. B. Herbert Martin of the Progressive Community Church of Chicago and 22 other clergy circulated a letter to African-American faithful,
- -The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Metropolitan Chicago Synod passed a resolution, and
- -The bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America – Metropolitan Chicago Synod, and the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church issued statements in support of the freedom to marry.LGBT SUPPORTIVE RELIGIOUS OFFICIANTS
As part of our ongoing mission to identify welcoming congregations and build stronger relationships with communities of faith who share our interest in issues of justice and fairness, we put together these listings of clergy who are willing to perform these marriage and civil union ceremonies, either in their institution or another venue of your choosing.
Please keep the following in mind when looking through this list and making a choice:
–Some communities of faith may only perform ceremonies for members of their congregation; this may involve becoming a member of that community.
–Some communities of faith may require pre-ceremony counseling; many times this is similar to a class or brief set of courses, typically to prepare a couple for living life as a couple, or to educate the couple in that particular faith.
–Some communities of faith may not be able to perform an interfaith ceremony, and may require that both partners be of the same faith.
–Some communities of faith may charge a fee for the use of their sanctuary, musicians, clergy, etc.
–Some communities of faith may be willing to perform your ceremony, but may not be able to perform it in their house of worship, according to their community’s rules. You may have to elect to have the ceremony at an off-site venue.
–Some communities of faith do not have a regular house of worship but will happily perform the ceremony.
We strongly urge you to contact the clergy member or place of worship FIRST and get all the details before making your final choice.
We, at Equality Illinois would like to congratulate you and your partner on your upcoming marriage and, as always, we promise to continue the battle for equality for all citizens of Illinois.
LGBT FAITH RESOURCE GUIDE
Whether you are a newly out LGBTQ person in your community of faith, someone who is a friend or family member of an LGBTQ person, or perhaps just someone looking for information, we hope that this guide can be of use to you. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list; there are many resources available, and no one book or website has all the answers. Our hope is that we may offer you access to information to help you begin to answer your questions. Read it HERE.
STORIES FROM THE HEARTLAND AND INTERFAITH EQUALITY PRAYER BREAKFASTS
Equality Illinois traveled the state and posed these questions to clergy: Why do you support marriage equality? What is your definition of love? The answers we received are documented in our “Stories from the Heartland” video series. The videos from this series as well as our annual Interfaith Equality Prayer Breakfast are all part of our “Faith and Freedom Initiative,” which focuses on building partnerships with affirming clergy and congregations across Illinois.