Rev Troy Perry Speaks about November 4, 2008
Tuesday night, November 4th, was one of the most bittersweet nights of my life.
In one breath, the United States of America changed history by electing Barack Obama the 44th president of our country, breaking the ultimate social barrier by electing the first African-American to the highest office in our nation. For this, I am thankful.
In the next breath voters enacted constitutional amendments in the states of Arizona and Florida that would recognize only marriage between a man and a woman.
In my own state of California, by a narrow vote, our rights to marry were taken away.
Phillip, my husband, and I had sued and won to have our marriage, which had taken place in Canada, declared legal, along with the right of gay and lesbian persons to marry in our state.
Today a lawsuit to declare the vote unconstitutional has been filed by our friends, Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, who stood with us for the right to marry. Other lawsuits have been filed by the ACLU, as well as our own city of Los Angeles, among others, to stop the Proposition from taking effect. It is our belief that only our State Legislature can pass a revision to our State Constitution.
Those who paid for the "Yes on Proposition 8," according to the Los Angeles Times, were, in large part, the Mormon Church, the Knights of Columbus, Focus on the Family, and the National Association of Evangelicals. I believe they are trying to insert their theological beliefs into our State Constitution.
When slaves were freed after the US Civil War, many states moved to enact "Jim Crow laws" to make freed African-Americans second-class citizens. I believe our enemies are trying to do the same thing to the Lesbian and Gay community. Those laws lasted another hundred years before state and federal courts started striking them down. We cannot let this happen! Phillip and I promise all of you that we will continue to fight this injustice as long as we live. So help us God!
An Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama
Dear President-elect Obama:
I am pleased to add my warm congratulations to those of people of goodwill across America and around the world on the occasion of your election to the presidency of the United States.
Over the past two years, you and your campaign have inspired America, registered millions of new voters, brought millions of first time participants in the political process, turned red states into blue and purple states, and inspired hope during these very difficult times.
Now the hard work begins.
Ultimately, nothing will prove more important to your administration's success and America's revitalization than these two things: keeping alive the hope you inspired throughout your campaign and assuring that all citizens have equal standing before our government and under our laws.
You assume office at a difficult period in our nation's life. We've gone seriously off track. Too many of our people are hurting. We're wracked by a faltering economy and mired in a war with no end in sight. Faith in our institutions, including the White House, the Congress, corporations, financial institutions and, yes, faith communities, has declined precipitously. Immigrants, once welcomed as the strength of our nation, are now too often the targets of frustration and resentment. Millions are uninsured or under-insured.
Your task of inspiring and sustaining hope is all the more challenging because we've been disappointed too often. In 1968, the year I founded Metropolitan Community Churches, Candidate Nixon campaigned on the theme "Bring Us Together." President Nixon's administration left us divided and disillusioned. Candidate Clinton promised to end the ban on gays in the military. President Clinton failed to deliver. And the current occupant of the White House promised to be a "Uniter, Not A Divider." That's more than a violation of the truth-in-advertising laws – it's yet one more broken promise by our nation's leaders.
Mr. President-elect, here's my advice: Fight with all your might to fulfill your promise to renew hope in our land; settle for nothing less and fend off the thousand daily tugs and nudges that would deflect you from bringing hope to our people, especially those who have been most deprived of it: the poor, minorities, urban youth, immigrants, our gay and lesbian citizens, who still are denied full equality under our nation's laws, and even more so, our transgender brothers and sisters, who are the too-frequent-targets of violence, hate crimes and even murder that goes under-reported by the media and under-prosecuted by law enforcement.
In 1977, I was a member of the first delegation of gay rights leaders invited to meet at the U.S. White House to advise the U.S. President and his administration. I have never forgotten what I felt on that day. It was a different time – it was legal to discriminate against LGBT people with impunity. Psychiatry labeled us sick, churches called us sinners. Even our private, intimate love was criminalized. But on that day in 1977, I walked the halls of the White House as an openly gay man and a guest of the President of the United States. My nation welcomed me into that place and it was a powerful experience: I knew I had a right to be there and I felt at home in the symbol of our democracy.
Mr. President-elect, I am convinced that history will judge you and your administration a success if you conduct your presidency so that our nation's people feel what I felt and know what I knew on that day in 1977. Let this be the measure of your success: Whether at the end of your term, you have left citizens from every walk of life knowing that the White House is once again truly the people's house and that the government is the government of all our people; that all people have equal standing there and are treated equally under the law.
As you prepare for your new duties, please know that millions of us are wishing you the very best, and holding you in our prayers, and cheering you on.
With all good wishes, I remain
Rev Perry will be at MCC
Albuquerque November 7-9, 2008
at MCC San Diego November 14-16, 2008
October marks 40 years since the founding of Metropolitan Community Church
Read the press release for this weekend's (10/3-5) festivities !
Friday night - Call Me Troy screening at MCCLA (pictures)
Saturday night - Celebratory dinner (pictures)
Sunday morning - 9am and 11am worship services (pictures)
Many of the pastoral leaders of MCCLA were present for the festivities -
Rev Elder Troy Perry (1st), Rev Elder Nancy Wilson (7th), Rev Lee Carlton (2nd), Rev Don Pederson (4th) and Rev Neil (9th - current);
Not shown: Elder Larry Rodriguez (6th) and Rev Mike Nikolaus (8th).
RIP: Rev Elder Jim Sandmire (3rd) and Rev Elder Jeri Ann Harvey (5th)
Rev Perry celebrates the life of his friend, Rev Elder Jeri Ann Harvey
MCC Moderator, Rev Elder Nancy Wilson has issued a press release (click here), as has Rev Perry (click here) relating to the May 15th California Supreme Court ruling.
The California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in our favor.
Further details - click here