Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Policy Matters - June 28, 2011

Front Page Headlines

An Unlikely Mix of Force Behind NY Marriage Equality. The story of how the Marriage Equality Act became law in New York is about shifting public sentiment and individual lawmakers moved by emotional appeals from LGBT couples who wish to be wed. But, behind the scenes, it was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and LGBT equality advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition. And it was about a Democratic governor, himself a Catholic, who used the force of his personality and relentlessly strategic mind to persuade conflicted lawmakers to take a historic leap. [New York Times]

Census Shows One-Quarter of Same-Sex Couples Raising Children: Recently released data from the 2010 census reveals that approximately 25 percent of same-sex couples are raising children. The 2010 census was the first-ever census which included same-sex couples and their families. While some statewide statistics about same-sex families have been released, this is the first comprehensive look at same-sex couples and their families nationwide. [ABC News]

California Judge’s Ruling on Prop. 8 Upheld: On June 15th, California Chief Judge James Ware upheld the ruling that Judge Vaughn Walker made, which stated that the ban on same-sex marriage in California (Proposition 8) was unconstitutional. Judge Walker’s ruling was called into question by “traditional marriage” advocates after he retired from the bench in February, and announced that he had been in a long term, same-sex relationship. Lawyers for supporters of Proposition 8 argued that because Judge Walker could stand to benefit from the ban being overturned, he should have recused himself. However, Chief Judge Ware stated that there was no evidence that Walker had any plans to marry and that, more importantly, minority justices cannot be expected to remove themselves from cases that would impact that minority. The case has been appealed to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. [New York Times]

United Nations Passes LGBT Rights Resolution: On June 17th, the United Nations (U.N.) Human Rights Council passed a resolution which affirms equal rights for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is the first U.N. resolution dealing specifically with LGBT rights. It was introduced by South Africa, and passed with 23 votes in favor (19 voted in opposition and three abstained). While the U.S. State Department, which had lobbied extensively for the resolution, called it a “historic step,” some other African nations expressed strong disapproval. With its passing, the resolution commissions a report on the difficulties LGBT people face worldwide. [CNN]


Public Policy Watch

New York State Senate Passes Marriage Equality Bill: On June 24th, the New York State Senate approved the Marriage Equality bill, with a vote of 33 to 29. With a Republican majority in the Senate, the fate of the bill was uncertain up until the moment of the vote; in the end, four Republicans joined all but one of the Democratic Senators to approve the bill. A similar bill in New York failed just two years ago, when the Senate was controlled by Democrats. Many are crediting the victory to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who made passing the bill one of his top priorities for 2011, strongly pushing the Senate to approve it. [New York Times]

Defense Secretary Unlikely to Certify DADT Repeal before Retirement: The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, will retire on June 30th. With that date fast approaching, officials say it seems unlikely that he will certify a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, which prohibits openly lesbian, gay and bisexual people from serving in the military, before his retirement. Gates has stated previously that he would certify the repeal if leaders from all branches of the military gave their recommendations, but it appears that this will not happen before June 30th. If Gates does not okay the DADT repeal before his retirement, his successor, Leon Panetta, will need to certify the repeal before it goes into effect. The repeal will only go into effect 60 days after the President, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Defense Secretary give their certifications. [Politico]

Massachusetts Transgender Advocates Push for Antidiscrimination Bill. Advocates for transgender equality in Massachusetts continue to push for legislation that would include transgender people in statewide anti-discrimination laws. Members of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition rallied at the State House in an effort to persuade representatives to debate their anti-discrimination proposal. While the bill has the support of Governor Deval Patrick and over half of the Massachusetts House and Senate, it has not previously been able to get past the Judiciary Committee. [Boston.com]


A Question from the Field

Dear Policy Matters,

Now that marriage equality has passed in New York, what is in store for other states that still have state-wide constitutional bans on same-sex marriage? On the federal level, do you think it will help lead to the Congress repealing DOMA?

Sincerely,

Darcy

Dear Darcy,

Thank you for contacting Policy Matters. After New York’s historic vote, same-sex marriage is now legal in six states, plus the District of Columbia. This means that there are now roughly 35 million people in the United States living in places where same-sex marriage is legal. While there are many varying opinions on what passage of the Marriage Equality Act in New York means for the rest of the country, there are some states that are more likely to follow New York than others. Here’s a rundown:

  • Rhode Island could revive a same-sex marriage bill which died in the legislature earlier this year.
  • Maine and Oregon are likely to be the focus of activists who want to introduce ballot initiatives to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage.
  • Maryland could revive legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage. Democrats were reluctant to pursue the bill earlier due to concerns that it lacked support.
  • California could also introduce ballot initiatives to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage, but because Prop. 8 is being appealed through the court system, many activists think it wiser to let the appeals process run its course.
  • Delaware and New Jersey have Democratic-controlled legislatures, which mean that same-sex marriage advocates are likely to push for legalization there.

It is notable that the decision in New York follows recently revealed results of the Gallup Poll, which indicated that 53 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. government should recognize same-sex marriages; the decision in New York is likely a result of this shift in public opinion. Hopefully, the legalization of marriage equality in New York will provide the momentum needed to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples who do not yet live in a state where they can legally marry.

Thank you for moving equality forward,

Policy Matters

P.S. Have you downloaded your new edition of Bringing the Message Home yet? Get your 2010 version of the how-to guide to PFLAG advocacy now and share it with your chapter. Visit. www.pflag.org/btmh for more information now and please be sure to review our 2011 version later this season.

And please join us for the 2011 PFLAG National Convention, where you can join us for a Lobby Day in Washington, DC!

Please note that Policy Matters will return on July 12, 2011. If you would like to have a policy-related question featured in our next edition, please e-mail rperry@pflag.org with your question no later than July 8, 2011.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Retired Methodist Minister, Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, on Marriage Equality in New York

As a member of the board of PFLAG National, it is difficult to explain the joy that is mine now that now that New York State has legislated marriage equality. The love and courage that I have seen in the parents of lesbian, gay and transgender sons and daughters who are members of the board has been inspiring. I am a parent and a straight ally of LGBT rights in church and society. The human rights struggles of LGBTQ persons and couples cannot be separated from the struggles that were ours in the Civil Rights movement; I remember well my joy when signiicant legislation was passed in the journey to racial justice. 

And today, as an old "foot soldier" of the Civil Rights Movement who is African American, I rejoice in response to the passage of marriage equality in New York state.

Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell
Member of the National Board of PFLAG
A retired United Methodist Minister

Friday, June 24, 2011

PFLAG NATIONAL CELEBRATES NY STATE MARRIAGE EQUALITY VICTORY!

PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) - the nation's largest grassroots-based family organization for families, friends and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people – has issued the following statement regarding the 33 - 29 vote in favor of marriage equality in New York State.

“We applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State legislature for their historic vote in favor of marriage equality. This step towards equal civil rights – in one of the largest states in our nation – affirms recent polls that most Americans are now in favor of marriage equality for our LGBT loved ones. PFLAG mothers and fathers all over the state of New York will be celebrating with their sons and daughters, who can now legally marry the people they love in their hometowns,” said Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National.

“After years of actively fighting for marriage equality in New York State, I am elated that both of my sons – gay and straight – will now have the same basic civil right to marry the person they love in the state in which they were raised,” said Dale Bernstein, PFLAG National Board Member, PFLAG Mom, and lifelong New York resident.

PFLAG National is committed to securing full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, by providing support, education and advocacy. Founded in 1973 by mothers and fathers, PFLAG has more than 200,000 members and supporters in more than 350 chapters throughout the United States. To learn more, please visit www.pflag.org.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

UMC Minister Amy DeLong Found Guilty

Photo credit: Stacy Bengs

Sad and frustrating news out of Kaukauna, WI, where UMC Minister Amy DeLong was found guilty of marrying a lesbian couple.


Yes, you read that correctly - a pastor was found guilty of performing a wedding ceremony. Is that really what it's come to now?




Of course, she was found not guilty of "being a self-avowed practicing homosexual." So at least there's that.

Read all the details in this article from the Associated Press: Associate Press/Amy DeLong

DeLong's website, Love on Trial, can be found by clicking here.

And if this whole thing is as upsetting to you as it is to us, please send your words of support to Amy DeLong by clicking here. Tell her you're a PFLAG member - or supporter - and that you support HER.  Loving words will go a long way.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Education Department Affirms Right to Form Gay-Straight Alliances

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released a Dear Colleague letter affirming the rights of students to form gay-straight alliance (GSA) organizations on campus.  The letter, written by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, emphasized the serious problems of bullying and harassment in U.S. schools, especially with regards to LGBT students.
Harassment and bullying are serious problems in our schools, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students are the targets of disproportionate shares of these problems. Thirty-two percent of students aged 12-18 experienced verbal or physical bullying during the 2007-2008 school year;and, according to a recent survey, more than 90 percent of LGBT students in grades 6 through 12 reported being verbally harassed — and almost half reported being physically harassed — during the 2008-2009 school year.High levels of harassment and bullying correlate with poorer educational outcomes, lower future aspirations, frequent school absenteeism, and lower grade-point averages. Recent tragedies involving LGBT students and students perceived to be LGBT only underscore the need for safer schools. 
Secretary Duncan highlighted the positive effects GSAs have in schools:
Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and similar student-initiated groups addressing LGBT issues can play an important role in promoting safer schools and creating more welcoming learning environments.  Nationwide, students are forming these groups in part to combat bullying and harassment of LGBT students and to promote understanding and respect in the school community.  Although the efforts of these groups focus primarily on the needs of LGBT students, students who have LGBT family members and friends, and students who are perceived to be LGBT, messages of respect, tolerance, and inclusion benefit all our students.  By encouraging dialogue and providing supportive resources, these groups can help make schools safe and affirming environments for everyone.
And he goes on to articulate the disturbing reality that many LGBT students experience in school when trying to form GSAs: their clubs often face a multitude of barriers from schools themselves:
But in spite of the positive effect these groups can have in schools, some such groups have been unlawfully excluded from school grounds, prevented from forming, or denied access to school resources.  These same barriers have sometimes been used to target religious and other student groups, leading Congress to pass the Equal Access Act.
The letter strongly encourages public schools to comply with the Equal Access Act, which requires that all public secondary school students be given equal access to clubs and organizations, and protects all kinds of student organizations.  Also, it announces a new set of guidelines that the Department of Education’s General Counsel is issuing, which aim to create school environments in which students, including LGBT students, can feel safe and free to be themselves. 
Overall, this announcement makes it clear that the U.S. Department of Education is committed to building safer schools for all students, including LGBT students. 
Please thank Secretary Duncan for his support of the rights of LGBT student organizations in public schools by calling 1-800-872-5327, emailing or writing to the U.S. Department of Education (400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202) today!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The United Methodist Church: Time For A Transformation?

Another blog post from PFLAG National Board Member Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, a retired United Methodist Minister of the Rocky Mountain (Denver) Conference:

"Gays and Lesbians have a more difficult time than we (blacks) did. We had our families and our churches on our side. All too often they have neither."  
- James Lawson

I re-discovered these words of James Lawson, now a retired United Methodist minister who was/is a proponent and living example of, as well as teacher of nonviolence in the Civil Rights Movement. His relationship with Martin Luther King and leadership in "The Movement" is well documented and well remembered by those of us who were foot soldiers during that time.

My search for this quotation from Jim was prompted by the headline of a United Methodist News Service story, Gandhi urges graduates to 'transform' Africa. Gandhi, who is the grandson of Mohandis "Mahatma" Gandhi, was the speaker at this year's Africa University graduation in Zimbabwe. 

He, Jim Lawson and I -- along with scores of others -- were arrested at the 2000 Cleveland United Methodist General Conference, protesting anti-gay UMC language and legislation. At the Soulforce demonstrations at the conference, Jim Lawson spoke the eloquent words above.

We are on the brink of the Amy DeLong trial and as we hear, some say that delegates from Africa to the 2012 General Conference will vote to maintain our discriminatory United Methodist legislation. I wonder how many at the Africa University graduation knew this bit of Arun Gandhi's history? For in our struggles for racial justice and equality, Africans in Africa, and African Americans in the USA had our families and our churches as our allies in our struggles; as Jim Lawson reminds us, this is not always true for LGBT people in their struggles for justice.  

African and African American delegates at the 2012 General Conference could help to "transform" The United Methodist Church if they vote to affirm rather than reject those whose sexual orientation is same gender loving.

Could it be that the words and the presence of Arun Gandhi at Africa University might encourage The UMC to become a Church for the 21st century, and not a reflection of centuries long gone?

Many of us are praying and hoping this will be true.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Policy Matters - June 14, 2011

Front Page Headlines

Illinois Begins Issuing Civil Union Licenses. Same-sex couples in Illinois celebrated on June 1st, lining up before sunrise to obtain newly-issued civil union licenses. This is the result of a law signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in January, which grants same-sex partners who wish to enter a civil union many of the rights afforded to straight married couples, such as “the power to decide medical treatment for an ailing partner and the right to inherit a partner’s property.” One of the champions of this law, Illinois Rep. Greg Harris, was honored on June 2nd at a Chicago PFLAG National event.

Catholic Adoption Agency Says They Will Refuse Services to Same-Sex Couples. With the state of Illinois allowing same-sex partners to obtain civil unions as of June 1st, adoption agencies cannot refuse to serve same-sex couples who have a civil union. However, Catholic Charities’ adoption agency, which has traditionally referred same-sex couples to secular agencies, has threatened to refuse services to same-sex couples. While Catholic Charities is hoping for an amendment that will allow religious agencies to continue discriminating against same-sex couples, the state of Illinois has asserted that if Catholic Charities continues this discrimination, they will no longer give state funding to their organization. Currently, Catholic Charities receives over $30 million a year from the state of Illinois.

Air Force Service Member Discharged Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. An airman in the United States Air Force was discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) ban on openly gay people serving in the military. The service member was discharged on April 29th, but the Air Force did not make an announcement until June 2nd. This is the first military discharge under DADT since President Obama signed legislation that is the first step towards ending the discriminatory policy. The military can continue to discharge service members under DADT until the repeal is finalized.

No Widespread Military Resistance to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal. Approximately half of United States troops (approximately one million) have been given training about the implementation of the DADT repeal. Military officials have informed the Pentagon that most troops are not being adversely impacted. To those service members who morally object to the repeal, Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that all troops are required to complete their enlistment regardless of their moral stance on LGBT people serving openly.

Some Georgia Schools in Hot Water with the ACLU for Internet Filter. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned Gwinnet County, Georgia schools that filtering of and barring student access to websites that mention sexual orientation or gender identity would be met with legal action if not stopped. As of the release of this update, Superintendant of Gwinnet County Schools, J. Alvin Wilbanks, has not yet responded to the ACLU’s request.


Public Policy Watch

Nevada Passes Anti-Discrimination Bills. On June 1st, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law two bills that aim to protect transgender people. One law prohibits discrimination against transgender people in public places, while the other prohibits discrimination against transgender people in the housing and property realm. These laws follow a prohibition on discrimination against transgender people in the workplace that Governor Sandoval signed on May 14th.

Maine Lawmakers Keep Protections for Transgender People. Both the Maine House and Senate rejected a bill that would have stripped transgender individuals of protections which allow them to access public accommodations, such as restrooms and locker rooms.

Seth’s Law Advances in California Legislature. On June 1st, the California State Assembly passed Seth’s Law, anti-bullying legislation, that will implement mandatory policies in public schools aiming to reduce and prevent bullying. The law is named for a 13-year-old gay Californian who died by suicide. The legislation needs to be approved by the California Senate and signed by Governor Jerry Brown before it can be implemented.

The Case for Passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy has found that 15 to 43 percent of LGBT people have encountered job discrimination. Job discrimination is especially common for transgender individuals: over 90 percent of transgender people have been harassed or mistreated at work. Discrimination in the workplace leads to economic inequalities for LGBT people. It is important, therefore, that we continue to work towards passage of ENDA, which would protect LGBT individuals from discrimination and harassment at work, and increase their employment and financial stability.

Connecticut Anti-Bullying Law Advances in Legislature. The Connecticut State Senate unanimously passed a bill in May that expands the definition of bullying to include cyber bullying as well as offering protections to those who are bullied based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill also requires schools to create and implement “safe school climate plans”. The bill has been passed on to the State House.


A Question from the Field

Dear Policy Matters,

I thought DADT repeal was finalized, yet I continue to learn about ‘harmful DADT repeal amendments’ in federal budget negotiations. Can you please explain what the current status of DADT repeal is?

Sincerely,

Joseph


Dear Joseph,

Thank you for contacting Policy Matters. While President Obama did sign the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 last December, DADT will still be in place until Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, President Barack Obama, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, agree and certify that repealing the law will not harm the military’s readiness. After that, there has to be a 60-day waiting period until the repeal is fully in effect. While both Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chief Chairman Mullen have voiced their support for the repeal of DADT, neither they nor the President have written certifications that repealing DADT will not impede military readiness. President Obama did assert in his 2011 State of the Union address that the DADT repeal would be finalized this year. However, Joint Chief Vice Chairman James E. Cartwright stated that while repealing DADT in 2011 is “a good goal”, he and other Pentagon leaders could not guarantee that the repeal will be completed by the end of 2011. He also stated earlier this year that the military would begin instructing its forces about the repeal in February 2011.

There have been several bills and amendments introduced in Congress that aim to delay the repeal of DADT. In January, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) introduced a bill called the Restore Military Readiness Act of 2011, which would require that, in addition to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all four chiefs of the military branches sign certifications that repealing DADT is not harmful to the military’s readiness. Rep. Hunter has since used these same ideas in a military budget amendment in an effort to delay the repeal of DADT.

The “harmful DADT repeal amendments” you refer to were introduced in the House’s budget negotiation debates. In May, three amendments were introduced in, and approved by, the House Armed Services Committee, while discussing the military budget under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. They do not aim to undo the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010; rather, they all aim to delay the implementation of the repeal. One amendment, introduced by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), restates that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) applies to military service members. The second amendment, introduced by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), stated that weddings on military bases have to be in compliance with DOMA. The final amendment, introduced by Rep. Hunter, essentially replicated his Restore Military Readiness Act of 2011 in that it would require all four military chiefs to sign off on the DADT repeal before it can be finalized.

Even though these amendments were approved by the House of Representatives, it is highly unlikely that the Democratic-controlled Senate would approve them. However, we need to ensure that these amendments are not passed and that DADT can be repealed quickly and easily. It is essential that LGBT people are able to serve openly in the military. Please contact your Congress Members today and urge them to stand up for DADT repeal by voting against these amendments. If you have any questions on how to contact your members of Congress, please do not hesitate to contact our Associate Director of Policy and Programs.

Thank you for moving equality forward,

Policy Matters

P.S. Have you downloaded your new edition of Bringing the Message Home yet? Get your 2010 version of the how-to guide to PFLAG advocacy now and share it with your chapter. Visit. www.pflag.org/btmh for more information now, and be sure to visit this webpage in July to get the 2011 version hot off the presses!

And please join us for the 2011 PFLAG National Convention, where you can join us for a Lobby Day in Washington, DC!

Please note that Policy Matters will return on June 28, 2011. If you would like to have a policy-related question featured in our next edition, please e-mail rperry@pflag.org with your question no later than June 24, 2011.

Monday, June 13, 2011

UMC Minister Amy Delong On Trial

Today's guest blogger is PFLAG National Board Member Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, a retired United Methodist Minister of the Rocky Mountain (Denver) Conference:


Amy DeLong, an ordained United Methodist Minister, will go on trial on June 21, 2011 for performing a Holy Union of two women in 2009. and because she has been open about her committed relationship to her female partner of 15 years. The United Methodist Church has for many years abided by language and legislation enacted by the legislative body of the denomination, a General Conference of many years ago, that prohibits United Methodist clergy from performing Holy Unions for same sex couples. The denomination also puts on church trial, clergy who have been charged because they acknowledge that they are in a same gender relationship. Many of us are praying and hoping that Amy Delong will be judged not guilty in 2011 as Tituba was in 1692 in the Salem witch trials.

Who was Tituba? I first heard of her in one of the classrooms of a racially segregated school in Texas where I grew up many,many years ago. Our teachers, all of whom were black as was the student body, felt that it was important for their black students to become acquainted with black persons whose names and lives were an important part of history.Too often their stories were made invisible by a culture and practice that rendered them second class. Tituba was a slave who belonged to a Rev. Samuel Parris. She was one of the first three women to be arrested who were accused of engaging in witchcraft during the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials. Tituba, who in some writings is described as the "black witch" was dark of skin because of her ancestry that was thought to be South American Indian. Before arriving in Salem, she spent time as a slave in Barbados. Tituba was not hanged as were many of the women, but the visions that she described and the demons she claimed she saw, made her a "witch" in the minds of many of those who knew her.

The coming trial of Amy DeLong cannot help but cause me to remember what I have heard and what I have read about those long ago trials in Salem.

The United Methodist Church in its language and legislation and its trials, has made of clergy who help same sex couples celebrate the love from God that they express toward each other, Witches. And, if those clergy acknowledge that they are in a same-gender loving relationship themselves as Amy has done, their "Witch-ness" is compounded. We now regret the insensitive irrationality of the Salem Trials. I wonder how will The United Methodist Church express its regret, when in that time that is certain to come, performing a same sex union and/or being open about one's same gender relationship, will no longer be considered "incompatible with Christian teaching" as our current United Methodist Book of Discipline states?

How ironic it is that in a year when The Presbyterian Church (USA) through voting at the regional level, affirmed the ordination of same gender loving clergy, we in The United Methodist Church are bringing Amy Delong to trial?

My hope is that the Rev. Amy DeLong will be found not guilty as those who judge her remember how wrong the Methodist denomination was when some in the Church once used the Bible to support slavery, racial segregation and prohibitions against the ordination of women. And, if those memories are insufficient to render her not guilty, may her judges recognize that if the military now believes that the practice of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is morally unjustifiable, why cannot The United Methodist Church do the same?

We used to sing in the marches and the protest lines of the Civil Rights Movement, a Spiritual that ended with these words; "Before I'll be a slave, I'll be buried in my grave, and go home to my Lord and be free." I have known Gay United Methodist clergy who because of the restrictions of their Church against them being open about their Gay sexual orientation, in death have experienced the affirmation and acceptance of a loving God, that was denied them by their Church while they lived.

May the members and friends of PFLAG, those related to other Gay rights organizations, and those in religious bodies that now accept clergy like Amy DeLong, let The United Methodist Church know they are watching and hoping and praying as she is being tried. May her trial be "The Last United Methodist Trial" of a clergyperson whose "Call to Ministry" compels them to be in ministry to and with all persons and to be open about their sexual orientation.

**********

For more information about Amy DeLong, including her personal statement on the trial, please visit www.loveontrial.org.

To read the UMC's position, please click here to visit www.umc.org.