Here we acknowledged and celebrated recent advances in marriage equality in our respective states – advances in which people of faith and religious organizations played key roles. As Sharon Groves, Director of HRC's Religion and Faith Program, reminded us, "The faith work in all the states was the 'win work' in all the states."
We also shared what worked best in our respective campaigns, and strategized and planned for further nationwide advances in the journey toward full equality for LGBT individuals, couples and families. It was a very inspiring event, and one I was honored to be part of as Executive Coordinator of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN.
Following are some images of my time at HRC's "Triumphs of Faith Five State Debrief," an event that afforded me the privilege to meet and work with some of the truly great U.S. religious leaders of our time.
Right: With friends Adele Brown and Jim Smith. Adele is lead organizer with the Jewish Community Action in Minnesota, while Jim is a fellow board member of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN and the Program Director for DignityUSA.
Above: Director of HRC's Religion and Faith Program, Dr. Sharon Groves (center), with Religion and Faith Program assistant Michael Toumayan and Leslie Watson Malachi, who was our phenomenal facilitator for the two-day debrief (left).
Above: The faith team from North Carolina. From left: Caitlin Breedlove (Co-Director of Southerners On New Ground), Ryan Rowe (Field Organizer for the Human Rights Campaign), Bishop Tonyia Rawls (Founding Pastor of Unity Fellowship Church Charlotte, Founder and Executive Director of the Freedom Center for Social Justice, and Prelate of the Fourth Jurisdiction Unity Fellowship Church Movement), Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman (Senior Pastor of the Clinton Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the Third Vice President of the North Carolina NAACP) and Dr. Karin Quimby (Southern Regional Field Director for the Human Rights Campaign).
Above: Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman at the HRC debriefing.
Above: The Minnesota faith team! Thanks to my friend Adele Brown for this photo! I'm standing at right with (from left) Kathleen Campisano (Senior Field Organizer for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Faith Organizing Manager with the Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources), Emily Eastwood (Executive Director of Reconciling Works: Lutherans for Full Participation), Adele Brown (lead organizer with Jewish Community Action), Rev. Grant Stevenson (Faith Director for Minnesotans United for All Families), Javen Swanson (Deputy Faith Director for Minnesotans United for All Families), Jim Smith (board member of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN and Program Manager for DignityUSA), and Rev. Rebecca Voelkel (the Institute for Welcoming Resources and Faith Work Director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force).
Above: Sharon Groves (left), Director of the Religion and Faith Program at HRC with the faith team of Washington State: Rev. Dedra Peevey (Faith Director of Washington United for Marriage), Barbara Guzzo (Co-Founder of Catholics for Marriage Equality WA), Kirby Brown (member of the Steering Committee of Catholics for Marriage Equality WA), Kari Lipke (Regional Director for Reconciling Works: Lutherans for Full Participation) and Aubrey Thonvold (Faith Outreach Specialist with the Pride Foundation for the Washington marriage equality campaign).
Above: Rev. Dedra Peevy of Catholics for Marriage Equality WA.
Above: Rev. MacArthur H. Flournoy, theologian, author, preacher, and Deputy Director of the Religion and Faith Program for the Human Rights Campaign.
Above: Rev. Dr. Marvin Ellison of Maine's Bangor Theological Seminary.
As I noted at the beginning of this post, people of faith played a critically important role in the recent advances in marriage equality. And included among these 'people of faith' are many Catholics!
In the photo above I'm standing at left with Catholic marriage equality leaders from Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington. Pictured next to me from left: Anne Underwood, Co-Founder of Catholics for Marriage Equality – Maine; Ryan Sattler, primary Catholic lay organizer for the Maryland Marriage Equality Campaign; Joseph Palacios, Co-Founder of Catholics for Equality; Cynthia Beliveau of Catholics for Marriage Equality – Maine; Jim Smith of Catholics for Marriage Equality – Minnesota; Barbara Guzzo, co-founder of Catholics for Marriage Equality – Washington; Jeannine Gramick, Co-Founder of New Ways Ministry; Marianne Duddy-Burke, President of DignityUSA; Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry; and Chris Pumpelly, Communications and Development Director of Catholics United.
Above: Anne Underwood, Co-Founder of Catholics for Marriage Equality - Maine.
Above (from left): Marianne Duddy-Burke, President of DignityUSA; Jim Smith, Program Manager for DignityUSA and board member of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN; Sister Jeannine Gramick, Co-Founder of New Ways Ministry; and Frank DeBerardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry.
Left: Dr. Joseph Palacios of Georgetown University, co-founder of Catholics for Equality, sociologist of religion, and author of The Catholic Social Imagination: Activism and the Just Society in Mexico and the U.S. Sitting behind Joseph is Chris Pumpelly, Communications and Development Director of Catholics United.
Above: Standing with (from left) Barbara Guzzo, Joseph Palacios and Anne Underwood.
Above: Rev. Dr. Delman Coates, Senior Pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland. Rev. Coates was uniquely instrumental for the Maryland campaign and provided leadership to the cadre of African American faith leaders supporting the pro-marriage equality measure 'Question 6.' To view the TV ad featuring Rev. Coates, click here.
Above: Marty Rouse, the National Field Director for the Human Rights Campaign.
Above: Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational fellowship of Pastors and Christian leaders representing 100+ churches and faith-based organizations.
Dupont Circle apartment (in the tallest building pictured above) so that I could have the place to myself. David, meanwhile, wrote up detailed directions that made my navigating of the city both fun and easy! Thanks, guys!
One place I visited while in D.C. was the National Museum of the American Indian (left). For images and commentary on this visit, click here.
Recommended Off-site Links:
Marriage Equality Campaigns: The Difference Faith Makes – Sharon Groves (The Washington Post, November 20, 2011).
In Minnesota, Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Want to Move Quickly on a Bill – T.W. Budig (Star News, December 19, 2012).
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
O Happy Day
Quote of the Day – December 9, 2012
Quote of the Day – November 19, 2012
Something to Celebrate!
Both 'Marriage Amendment' AND 'Voter Photo ID Amendment' Rejected by Minnesota Voters
In Maine and Maryland, History is Made
In the Eye of the Storm, A Tree of Living Flame
Into the Fray
The Minneapolis (and Online) Premiere of Catholics for Marriage Equality