We seek to become more open and affirming of all persons without regard to their gender, race, skin color, marital status, class, national origin, age, physical condition, mental ability, or sexual orientation.
To further our ability to understand and bring to the forefront issues of discrimination in the larger community, we have passed an Open and Affirming Resolution and formed the Open and Affirming Committee.
Our Open and Affirming Resolution
On May 1, 1994, the congregation overwhelmingly adopted this resolution, which was amended in May 2004 to include transgender persons:
We the members of the United Church of Christ in New Brighton, declare that we are an "open and affirming" congregation of the United Church of Christ. We seek to become more open and affirming of all persons without regard to their gender, race, skin color, marital staus, class, national origin, age, physical condition, mental ability, or sexual orientation. We welcome to our congregation all who seek to follow a Christian way of life and want to be part of a Christian community.
We believe that all people are created in God's image and that our value as human beings is given to us by God and that God loves everyone without exclusion. We celebrate God's wonderful gift of human sexuality and the nourishing, life-enhancing place it can have for us.
We encourage and support the developing and nurturing of relationships -sexual or not - which are characterized by mutuality and honesty, fidelity and respect, commitment and stability, love and care.
We know that, in the history of the Church and our culture, Christians and others have been very rejecting of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender people. We believe God calls us to move away from these rejecting attitudes and actions - especially in the Church's life.
We pledge to continue the struggle toward full inclusion of all God's people into the United Church of Christ and the Church universal. We very specifically welcome Christian people of all sexual orientations to share in the life and leadership, ministry and fellowship, worship and sacraments, responsibilities of our cultural and secular organizations, our state and nation.
We commit ourselves to oppose discrimination and prejudice against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in our attitudes and relationships, our culture and secular organizations, our state and nation.
We continue to welcome all people to share in the life of our congregation - including those who have difficulty accepting all these declarations. We are a United Church of Christ, committed to being a sign of God's open and affirming love for all people.
United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, an officially recognized ministry within the UCC - http://www.ucccoalition.org. Rev. Rebecca Voelkel is the Interim National Coordinator, as of May 2004.
Institute for Welcoming Resources
A project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Making sense of Minnesota’s Proposed Marriage Amendment
The following information and answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the Proposed Marriage Amendment are intended to help you know what you’re voting on, help others understand the amendment, and initiate conversations with people who are undecided about how to vote or confused about the facts.
(Prepared by C. Crowe, with credit to Jewish Community Action and MN United for All Families for many of the words.)
The amendment and what it will/won’t do
How the Marriage Amendment will read on the ballot in November: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?” A “Yes” vote limits rights of GLBTQ people.
The question does not ask if gay marriage should be legalized. Defeat of this amendment will not legalize same-gender marriage.
We do not want to see discrimination enshrined into the constitution, a document used to expand rights, not limit them. We are asking that you VOTE NO and oppose the amendment.
Many people, both GLBTQ and straight, do not know if they want to get married. The important thing to remember is we, as a nation, must strive toward freedom and equal rights, for everyone. Consider for a moment the deep pain and disenfranchisement that comes from being constitutionally banned from ever having the opportunity to do something, just because of who you are!
How did the amendment get on the ballot? The 2011-2012 MN State legislature voted to put this issue on the ballot even though there is already a law in MN preventing same-sex marriage. The Governor does not have the ability to veto in these cases. The legislature can bypass the Governor by “putting it on the ballot” for the people of MN to vote on.
Helping others understand
Some people have said that everyone they know is already a “no” vote. DO NOT ASSUME the amendment will be defeated. Many Minnesotans are completely unaware that this is on the ballot. Furthermore, the language is confusing. If people are indeed supportive of marriage equality, they must VOTE NO on the marriage amendment. Ask people to pledge on line at mnunited.org to VOTE NO. Pledge forms also available at UCCNB.
There are people who oppose the amendment that don’t always vote. We need to reach these folks and encourage them to vote and VOTE NO on the amendment. No one is required to vote for anything else on the ballot if they don't want.
There are other people who are undecided, often referred to as the “moveable middle.” These people, if given information, may be willing to VOTE NO. It’s important to connect with this group to help them understand why defeating the amendment by VOTING NO is important. Handouts are available to help start such a conversation. (Contact C. Crowe.)
Here in Minnesota
Minnesota already has a law on the books that prevents the state from recognizing same gender marriage. It is called the Defense of Marriage Act. If the amendment passed, it would cement this definition in our constitution.
Per the current state law, there are 515 legal benefits and protections of marriage that same-gender couples cannot enjoy.
The state of Minnesota does not offer domestic partnership benefits to same-gender couples. The state offers no legal protections for committed gay and lesbian couples. In our state’s current arrangement, gay and lesbian couples and their families are not granted fair treatment under the law.