Thursday, November 19, 2009

An "Open" Letter to the Members of the NJ Legislature

Today's guest post comes to us from Rev. Gilbert Caldwell, PFLAG National Board member. Below is a letter that he wrote to the members of the NJ legislature in regards to marriage equality.

Dear Colleagues,

You have been elected to represent and serve ALL of the residents of your
particularly District. The human diversity of your District is but a slice of the
rich diversity of our nation. I write you as a Christian cleryman who is African
American who has pastored United Methodist Churches, predominantly white
and predominantly black in membership, in 5 states. I am ally/advocate of
equal rights for same gender loving couples! I know that you as an elected
official are committed to the understanding that you do not just represent
Christians, or United Methodists, or African Americans or persons like myself
who are heterosexual in their sexual orientation. You are in office to serve the
needs of All persons, and some of those persons are in committed, same
gender relationships. The equal access and equality language that is in
our Constitutions; national and state, call upon you to uphold equal access
and equality, regardless of your personal or religious views. I know that will
be reflected in your vote to endorse the legalization of same gender marriage.

As a Christian clergyman, the Golden Rule is at the heart of my life and
commitment; "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for
this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12). But the Monmouth Center
for World Religions and Ethical Thoughts in Lincroft has reminded us that
there is a "Golden Rule" in so many of the Religions of the world: The Bahai
Faith, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism,
Judaism, Native Spirituality, Sikhism, Taoism, Unitarianism, Zorostrianism.

Regardless of my Religious views or yours, the genius of our Constitution
and our "American Way" is that we respect the rights of others and make
sure that our laws respect those rights. We may, in our Religious bodies,
discuss and debate same gender marriage. But, the "Golden Rule" of our
democracy is that marriage is not a religious right, it is a civil right.

I believe your vote on same gender marriage will be your way of expressing
the thought that under the law, "We must do for others, that we would like
done for us." Thank you!


Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell
Asbury Park, N.J.

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