May 11, 2012
Dear Mr. President
Thank you for your recent declaration of support for marriage equality in our country. I appreciate very much the way you gave expression to the evolution of your thinking on this subject. I believe it will help others who are sorting this matter through for themselves. Thank you for listening to the voices of gay and lesbian couples, as well as to others (including your own staff and family). In so doing you model a positive way for others to process their thoughts and feelings on the subject of marriage equality. Thank you also for speaking to this from the perspective of your faith. Many of us in positions of religious leadership in our country share your perspective on the importance of the “Golden Rule.” The way of love is such a powerful antidote to so much of what is hurting in the lives of people today.
As bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont and a member of our denomination’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, I too have heard the stories of many lesbian and gay couples who simply long to be treated equally with other loving faithful, committed couples. Vermont, as you know, is a State with marriage equality and in the Episcopal Church in Vermont all couples are welcome to have their holy unions blessed in our churches. We have also made provision for those who do not agree with these policies. Respecting the dignity of every human being is a powerful declaration in the Baptismal Covenant of The Episcopal Church. Obviously, it is an important value for you as well.
The General Convention of The Episcopal Church will meet this July in Indianapolis and among other important matters we will debate a next step forward in the full inclusion of GLBT persons in the life of The Episcopal Church, as we consider authorizing a trial liturgy for the blessing of same-gender relationships. I believe your witness will have a positive impact on that decision.
Again, thank you for your grace and courage in expressing your convictions and for leading on this important matter of civil and human rights.
The Rt. Rev. Thomas C Ely, Bishop of Vermont