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100 Virginia Faith Leaders to General Assembly: “We stand on the side of love and invite you to stand with us”

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From a group called Interfaith Clergy Concerned. FYI, HB 1667 is an egregious piece of discriminatory legislation introduced by our old pal, Del. “Sideshow Bob” Marshall. The bill would, among other things, provide “civil immunity for any business or nonprofit organization that does not provide any benefit or accommodation with respect to gender identity or sexual orientation.” Blech.

January 23, 2017

We write to you this week to encourage your opposition to bills in both the House of Delegates and the Senate that, in denying full and equal rights and protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Virginians, violate the deeply held convictions of our various faith traditions.

Our faiths call us to work for justice, and to have particular concern for those who are marginalized. Non-discrimination policies give this deeply held faith conviction practical expression with the force of civil law. Thus we strongly encourage you to work for the defeat of HB 1667.

Our faiths call us to celebrate love and commitment, and we hold love and faithfulness as central values of our traditions. Thus it is no surprise that many of us celebrate the commitments of loving people in marriage. We also hold fiercely to our freedom to worship as we feel called, and we both respect and appreciate that freedom as it applies to faith leaders of all communities, including those who choose not to solemnize same gender weddings. Current law is clear in protecting this religious freedom, and both HB 2025 and SB 1324 are unnecessary. Moreover, they confuse free exercise of religious faith expressed in worship with discrimination in public accommodations. Thus we strongly encourage you to work for their defeat.

Our faiths call us to treat others as we, ourselves, would like to be treated. Each of the world’s great religious traditions includes some variation on this golden rule, but laws that force transgender persons to use restrooms inconsistent with their gender identity violates this basic principle of love and respect. Thus we write also to express our gratitude for your work in defeating HB 1612 in subcommittee last week.

We stand with Virginians who have, for too long, been victims of discrimination and, too often, victims of violence simply because they happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. We call on you to stand with us. We believe that each of us bears within that which is holy and deserving of respect and love. Out of these deeply held religious convictions, we stand on the side of love and invite you to stand with us.

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. David Ensign
Clarendon Presbyterian Church
Arlington

Rev. Dr. Kathryn N. Dwyer
Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ
Arlington

Rev. Laura Martin
Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ
Arlington

Rev. Allie Rosner Bass
Arlington Temple United Methodist Church
Arlington

Rev. Nancy Fitzgerald
Arlington Church of the Brethren
Arlington

Rev. Aaron McEmrys
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
Arlington

Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
Arlington

Rabbi Lia Bass
Congregation Etz Hayim
Arlington

Rev. Dr. Margaret True
Clarendon Presbyterian Church
Arlington

Rabbi Gilah Langner
Kol Ami: Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community
Arlington

Rev. Trish Hall
Center for Spiritual Living Metro
Arlington

Rev. Patricia Barth
Bethel United Church of Christ
Arlington

The Rev. John Shellito
Arlington

Rev. Alice Rose Tewell
Arlington

Rev. Sue Browning
Arlington

Rev. Scott Ramsey
Arlington

Cantor Jason Kaufman
Beth El Hebrew Congregation
Alexandria

Juli Wilson-Black
Fairlington Presbyterian Church
Alexandria

Rev. Deborah Porras
Beverly Hills Community United Methodist Church
Alexandria

The Rev. Noelle York-Simmons
Christ Church Episcopal
Alexandria

The Rev. Ann Gillespie
Christ Church Episcopal
Alexandria

Rev. Dr. Robert R. Laha
Old Presbyterian Meeting House
Alexandria

Rev. Katherine Stanford
Old Presbyterian Meeting House
Alexandria

Rev. Robin Anderson
Commonwealth Baptist Church
Alexandria

The Rev. Oran Warder
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Alexandria

The Rev. Gregory Millikin
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Alexandria

Rev. Amber Henry Neuroth
Hope United Church of Christ
Alexandria

The Rev. Ellis T. Bowerfind
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Alexandria

The Rev. David M. Crosby
Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill
Alexandria

Rabbi Jack Moline
Interfaith Alliance, Washington DC
Alexandria resident

Rev. Jeanette Leisk
Alexandria

Rev. Robert C. Blinn
Alexandria

Rev. Sharon K. Core
Alexandria

Elder Priscilla Andre-Colton
Alexandria

Rev. Casey Fitzgerald
Alexandria

The Rev. Heather VanDeventer
Alexandria

Rev. Dr. Stephen Hyde
Ravensworth Baptist Church
Annandale

Rev. Dr. Lisa Rzepka
John Calvin Presbyterian Church
Annandale

Rev. Clara Young
Annandale
Rev. Dr. Linda J. Dickerson
Northside Presbyterian Church
Blacksburg

Rev. Leah Grundset Davis
Alliance of Baptists
Bristow

Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael
Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church
Burke

Rev. Jason C. Lody, FCM
St. Anthony of Padua American National Catholic Church
Centreville

Rev. Tracy Howe Wispelwey
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Charlottesville

Rev. Lawrence B. Coleman
Chesapeake

Rev. Dr. Earl Zimmerman
Daniels Run Peace Church
Fairfax

Rev. Henry G. Brinton
Fairfax

Rev. Mary Rogers
Fairfax

Rev. Yena Hwang
Fairfax

Rev. Emma Chattin
Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia
Fairfax City

Rev. Nariaki Hayashi
Ekoji Buddhist Temple
Fairfax Station

Rabbi Laura Rappaport
Fairfax Station

Rabbi Jeffrey Saxe
Temple Rodef Shalom
Falls Church

Rev. Dr. Kevin L. Ogle
First Christian Church of Falls Church
Falls Church

Rev. James K. Sledge
Falls Church Presbyterian Church
Falls Church

Rev. E. Russell “Rusty” Lynn
Falls Church Presbyterian Church
Falls Church

Rev. Faith Woods
Celebration Center for Spiritual Living
Falls Church

Mr. Jim Best
Floyd Friends Meeting
Floyd

The Rev. Ann H. Truitt
Priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
Front Royal

Rev. Dr. Rob Vaughn
Community of Faith United Methodist Church
Herndon

Rev. Joseph Reynolds
Holy Trinity Parish
Herndon

Rabbi David Greenspoon
Congregation Sha’are Shalom
Leesburg

The Rev. Daniel Velez-Rivera
Saint Gabriel’s San Gabriel Episcopal Church
Leesburg

Rev. Dr. Dan King
Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun
Leesburg

Rev. Sunday Cote
Center for Spiritual Living Leesburg
Leesburg

Rev. Samantha J. Tuttle
On Earth United Church of Christ
Leesburg

The Rev. Stuart E. Schadt
Trinity Episcopal Church
Manassas

The Rev. Vinnie Van Lainson
Trinity Episcopal Church
Manassas

Rev. Madelyn E. Campbell
Bull Run Unitarian Universalists
Manassas

Dr. Melissa Kirkpatrick
Director of Education Ministries
Manassas Presbyterian Church
Manassas

Mr. Matthew Messenger
Union Presbyterian Seminary
Manassas

Rev. Aaron Fulp-Eickstaedt
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
McLean

Rev. Susan Graceson
McLean

Rev. Katie Strednak Singer
McLean

Rev. Jung Pyo Hong
McLean

Rev. David A. Miller
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax
Oakton

Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax
Oakton

Rev. Russell Heiland
Unity of Fairfax
Oakton

Mr. Ron Karstetter
Community Care Coordinator
Unity of Fairfax
Oakton

Rev. Allison Unroe
Fairlawn Presbyterian Church
Radford

Rev. Joan Bell-Haynes
United Christian Parish
Reston

Rev. Dr. Debra Haffner
Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston
Reston

Rev. Joseph Gann
Reston

Rev. Julie M. Price
Reston

Rev. MaryAnn McKibben Dana
Reston