Rev. James C. (Jay) Leach is a minister at Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte
The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. You can sign-up for these emails here.
Last Friday, thousands of Unitarian Universalists gathered for an inspiring “Faith Community Rally Against Homophobia & Transphobia” in my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. With debate about an anti-LGBT constitutional amendment all but guaranteed in an upcoming special session of our legislature, the Standing on the Side of Love campaign partnered with local faith leaders, Equality North Carolina, the Human Rights Campaign and others to raise our voices against this bigoted proposal.
Our rally was widely covered in the press and we successfully gathered hundreds of signatures to business leaders and legislators expressing our opposition.
Many of you recently signed on to our petition calling on leaders of North Carolina-based corporations to oppose this effort to write discrimination into our state’s constitution. With more than 2,000 of you taking action, these businesses, including Bank of America, are starting to hear us, but they have NOT yet come out to oppose this discriminatory legislation.
Because I live here, I can tell you: Bank of America holds tremendous power in North Carolina and could influence other businesses to join them in calling on our state legislature to reject this proposed anti-LGBT amendment. While the bank is progressive in offering same-sex partner benefits, they need to understand that offering this benefit without also opposing this legislation leaves their LGBT employees vulnerable and creates an environment that is bad for business.
I am asking for your immediate help. We need to persuade Bank of America to oppose this legislation in the state where they are headquartered. Will you join us in letting Bank of America know that institutionalized discrimination is unjust, bad for business and bad for our community? There’s an easy action you can take that has the potential to make a big difference.
Please take a moment and make a quick phone call to Bank of America spokesperson Scott Silvestri.
Scott Silvestri, Spokesperson, Bank of America: 1-980-388-9921
Please let Mr. Silvestri know that we are asking Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and other bank executives to encourage state lawmakers to reject this anti-LGBT amendment. Please leave a message if you are unable to speak to anyone.
Here is a script you can use:
“Hello, my name is ________. (If you are a customer at Bank of America please say that.) I am calling to urge CEO Brian Moynihan and others at the bank to oppose the effort to add an anti-gay amendment to the North Carolina state constitution. Please ask Mr. Moynihan and others to publicly denounce the amendment because it is bad for Bank of America’s customers, bad for Bank of America’s employees and bad for business. Thank You.”
After you make the call, please share how it went on our Facebook wall or by responding to this email:
Standing on the Side of Love Facebook Page:
The thrilling victory in New York last week shows us what can happen when we join together. Now we need your help in my state. Please, join this important effort to head off anti-LGBT bigotry. Standing together on the side of love, we really can make a difference!
Rev. James C. (Jay) Leach, Minister
Unitarian Universalist Church of CharlotteMore >
by Bob Lane, Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church Immigration Task Force
It was a long day. It started with the tight plastic handcuffs on my wrists and the Sheriff’s bus transporting us––17 women and 8 men––to jail. We had been arrested for obstructing the golf tournament for the members of the Castlewood Golf Club in Pleasanton, California, where I live. We wanted to call out the members of the Club to stop the injustice they were continuing to commit against the workers they had locked out of their jobs 16 months earlier. The Club claimed the lockout was the result of a contract dispute, but its conduct in those 16 months plainly showed it wanted to get rid of these workers, many of whom are immigrants, and their union, Unite Here!
The ongoing injustice against the workers was a big reason we were on the bus, but there was more. We had all seen the workers’ courage as they showed up to picket day in and day out for 16 months. We had witnessed their dedication to securing health care for their spouses and children and to asserting their own dignity in the face of the Club’s abuse. We saw the support and care they gave to each other. We saw them come together.
But the most important reason we were on that bus is simply because they asked. They asked us to join with them in their struggle, to stand beside them to resist injustice and to insure dignity for people who work with their hands. They invited us to make their fight our own. And they gave us the opportunity to feel the fellowship that is part of every struggle for justice. They offered us the chance to be brothers and sisters with them, and with each other. Because they asked us, it was easy to get on the bus.
Fourteen hours later we were free again, freer than we had been before we got on the bus. It was a long day, but it was a good day. A very good day. The alliance between the interfaith community and local unions in support of the workers is something we need to hear about at this moment in our country’s history. Today in our society, if you want to see the incarnation of community forged in the fight for justice you don’t need to look any further than unions. Solidarity for justice is the hallmark of their action. We have much to learn from them.More >
“We are many religions gathered to declare a universal truth: we are all one human family. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face discrimination, harassment and violence all over the world and right here in North Carolina. We are here to declare a vision of a beloved community where all are respected and valued.”
-Rev. Jay Leach, Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte
Thousands of us marched from the Charlotte, NC Convention Center yesterday to nearby Marshall Park, for a Standing on the Side of Love Faith Community Rally Against Homophobia & Transphobia. We partnered with local UU congregations and ministers, interfaith clergy in Charlotte, Equality North Carolina, HRC, Faith in America, and Time Out Youth, all of whom infused the rally with a local focus and audience.
Our primary goal? To oppose the anti-LGBT marriage amendment that will likely get a vote here by the legislature in September.
Want to watch the full rally footage? Click here: http://www.uua.org/justice/issues/bgltequality/ga/184808.shtml
Here is a run-down of the coverage.
This news station framed the debate well, soliciting the feelings of teenagers who called the amendment “bullying on a larger level.” Loan Tran, with Time Out Youth, offered a personal, eloquent speech:
The Charlotte Observer has a wonderful slideshow:
…and an accompanying article entitled “Liberal denomination stands up for its causes”:
There are more than a few gay and lesbian UU ministers. The Rev. Robin Tanner, pastor of Piedmont Unitarian Universalist in Charlotte, is a lesbian. On Friday, she was among the speakers at the rally at Marshall Park, where participants – wearing T-shirts that spelled out “LOVE” – also registered their opposition to a proposed N.C. constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
News 14 Carolina interviewed local parent Sue Noll, who spoke eloquently about wanting all four of her children — to of whom are gay — to be treated fairly:
Q Notes, a local LGBT-focused publication, covered the full breadth of speakers, including Rev. Mark Kiyimba of the UU Church of Kampala, Uganda; Rev. Tonia Rawls, Bishop of the Unity Fellowship Church; and Ian Palmquist, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina:
At the forefront of the rally were concerns over a proposed state constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples. Ian Palmquist, the outgoing executive director of the statewide advocacy group Equality North Carolina, spoke at the rally.
“We are facing real challenges right now in North Carolina,” Palmquist said. “Right-wing lawmakers have introduced an amendment not only to deny marriage equality to same-sex couples but also to potentially ban civil unions, domestic partnerships and even domestic partnerships that employers offer.”
Palmquist added, “This amendment is bad for business, bad for North Carolina and bad for the faith community and we will not allow it to become a part of our state’s constitution.”
Bishop Tonyia M. Rawls, minister of the Unity Fellowship Church of Charlotte, was one of the faith leaders who spoke in opposition of NC’s proposed anti-LGBT amendment:
Equality North Carolina’s Ian Palmquist spoke about the harms of NC’s proposed anti-LGBT amendment and the work to stop it. You can learn more about Equality North Carolina by visiting equalitync.org.
Thanks to all who braved the heat and rain to make a difference. Together, we showed North Carolina that people of faith believe in inclusion and acceptance of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Dear Sen. Parker, Skelos, McDonald and Ball,
I am writing to urge you to make sure a vote for Marriage Equality is brought to the Senate before the end of this session. I look forward to your positive vote in favor of Marriage Equality for Gay and Lesbian New Yorkers.
As a minister at the First Unitarian Congregation in Brooklyn Heights, I have so far performed 29 weddings with more scheduled this year. With each of those weddings I get to know these loving couples months or seasons ahead of time through conversations, shared meals, and pre-marital counseling. Each of these marriages are full of love and mutual support. However, the State only recognizes 27 of these couples. The remaining two couples were celebrations between two men and two women. My faith tradition considers them married, although my secular government does not.
Why does the State of NY wish to infringe upon the religious practices of its citizens? Why would it want to limit the secular civil rights of its citizens? Why does it want to get involved in the private affairs of loving couples wishing to enjoy the same privileges and rights the majority so enjoy?
Please take this matter as seriously as the majority of New Yorkers do. Please take action today. Please help New York catch up with the right side of history, and the right side of morality. Vote for Marriage Equality today.
Rev. Jude Geiger
Minister of Lifespan Religious Education
First Unitarian Congregation, Brooklyn, NY
Congratulations to the First Parish Church of Beverly, Massachusetts!
On Saturday, June 18, the congregation gathered together to dedicate their new Standing on the Side of Love banner.
As they raised the banner outside the church, which dates to 1772, Rev. Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson told those present, “our faith teaches us to choose love…by placing this banner on our church…this is not the end of the story…this is the prologue of what we are going to accomplish together under this heading.”
Does your congregation need a banner? Click here to visit our online store today.More >