For Immediate Release
NRLR Responds to Endorsement of Policy Changes by the Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
WASHINGTON - The National Religious Leadership Roundtable,
convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, responded to the
announcement by the church council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America (ELCA) directing the churchwide assembly in August to
approve the "Social Statement on Human Sexuality," implement it, and
direct the removal of the policy that prohibited service in ministry by
those in committed, same-gender relationships. Also, the church council
reaffirmed its recommendation to the August assembly on rules to govern
its activities by defeating a motion that would have required a
super-majority of the voting members to pass not only the social
statement but also any matters that came before the assembly on any
Statement by Emily Eastwood, Executive Director
Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA)
National Religious Leadership Roundtable Member
"The Social Statement on Human Sexuality acknowledges what we have
known for the last 30 years, that we Lutherans are not of one mind on
issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion.
Still, this document recognizes that LGBT people are, and always have
been, part of the great diversity of God's creation - finally.
"The statement lifts up a common ethical standard for straight and
gay alike, but, sadly fails to endorse a right or a rite of same-gender
blessing or marriage. At the same time, however, the statement
acknowledges that individual congregations of the ELCA are already
offering such rites which inherently hold couples publicly accountable
for living exemplary lives of fidelity, mutuality and respect.
Ultimately the church and society cannot rightly expect monogamy (being
married to one person at a time) without offering a rite of marriage to
"For the first time in the history of our church, a recommendation
for the elimination of the policy of discrimination against ministers
in same-gender relationships will come to the floor of the churchwide
assembly, brought by the churchwide organization itself. The council
recommendation takes a major step for justice and equality. But this is
an interim step. Next comes synod assemblies where synods can weigh in.
And then the churchwide assembly, its deliberations and final action.
So we are cautious and have much work to do.
"Also, this action by the church council to defeat any attempt to
change voting procedures is one of basic fairness in the middle of a
process. Any suggestion to change the rules at the last minute, would
be seen as prejudicing the outcome based on the content of the report
and recommendations. We applaud this action of the council and pray
that the assembly will follow suit.
"There is much work yet to be done. The church is not yet where its
council now says it wants to be, but it is clearly on the right path.
LC/NA is committed to the process, delights in this progress, and hopes
for a church and a world that truly welcome and include."
About the author: Emily Eastwood is the executive director of Lutherans Concerned/North America
(LC/NA), which embodies, inspires, advocates and organizes for the
acceptance and full participation of people of all sexual orientations
and gender identities within the Lutheran communion and its ecumenical
and global partners.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, building the organizational capacity of our movement and generating groundbreaking research through our Policy Institute.