Thursday, June 24, 2010

MLP's Legislative Goals

To Create a Church for All.

1. Removal of G-6.0106b from the Book of Order
This addition to our constitution, passed in 1997, was intended to exclude LGBT Presbyterians from serving as ordained officers of the church (Deacons, Elders, and Ministers of Word and Sacrament). It imposed a requirement of celibacy on people who are gay and lesbian, and denied their calling to “the rights and duties of membership.” It heretically implies that we can achieve our own grace by heterosexual marriage or chastity in singleness.

We support the deletion of G-6.0106b (Overture from Hudson River Presbytery and others). We also support those overtures that suggest replacement language that eliminates the exclusionary intent of the paragraph (Overture from Detroit Presbytery and many others). We support the overture from San Fernando Presbytery calling for full inclusion of all members under the proposed new Form of Government.

We oppose any overture or concurrence, including 06-04 from San Diego Presbytery that would re-establish the exclusionary standards and language of the 1978 Assemblies, in effect declaring the Gospel and the church open only to heterosexuals.

We are in agreement with the 218th General Assembly which removed the “force and effect” of these interpretations and definitions, and we believe this Authoritative Interpretation should stand.

2. Establishing Marriage as a Blessing and Covenant Available to All People
Marriage is already being redefined in our civil life, as several states in our country and several other countries, have made marriage legal for same-gender couples. Even more government entities have supported equal benefits for registered Domestic Partners. Equal marriage is being lived out by many families, gay and straight, who have affirmed their covenant relationship in loving partnerships of many years’ duration, with and without benefit of legal or religious sanction.

We support the amendment of W-4.9000 to define marriage as a covenant that is not restricted to heterosexual couples. We support the Boston, East Iowa, Albany, Chicago and Des Moines presbyteries’ overtures and concurrences that allow pastoral/session discretion in performing weddings in those states that have legalized marriage for all couples.

Finally, we support those overtures that call on the Pension Plan to provide Domestic Partner benefits for all church employees, including same- gender couples.

3. Affirm the Authoritative Interpretation of G-6.0108
We support the ability of candidates for ordained office to declare a “scruple” or dissent from either the belief or practice of the ordination standards of the Book of Order. This is a very old practice of the church to protect the conscience of individuals, and was raised up to new uses by the Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church. We support the Authoritative Interpretation passed by the 218th GA, re-affirming this provision. We oppose the Mid-South overture that would overturn it.

4. Affirm the Correction of the Heidelberg Catechism Translation
We support the continuing work of the committee on the Heidelberg Catechism, and their collaboration with colleagues in the Christian Reformed Church and Reformed Church in America, to provide a new and uncorrupted translation to be a part of our Book of Confessions.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Legislative Analysis by Presbyterian Voices for Justice

While MLP focuses upon spiritual, ordination and marriage equality, we care about all important matters facing our Church. For analysis of all justice matters, we commend the analysis from Presbyterian Voices for Justice from Sylvia Thorson-Smith and Doug King.

Legislative Analysis by Presbyterian Voices for Justice
by Doug King and Sylvia Thorson-Smith