Saturday, October 31, 2009



WHO: Pastor Samuel M. Chu, Interim Executive Director, CA Faith for equality
Mark Solomon, Equality California
Rick Jacobs, Courage Campaign
The Rev. Dr. Eric Lee – Southern Christian Leadership Conference -LA
The Rev. Neil Thomas, Sr. Pastor, MCC-LA
Rabbi Denise Eger, Congregation Kol-Ami
The Rev. Susan Russell, All Saints Church, Pasadena
Rev. William Briones, Nishi Hongwangi Temple
Rabbi Allen Freehling, Exec. Director, LA Human Rights Commission
Douglas Hunter, Mormon Filmmaker
Father Geoffrey Farrow, Catholic Priest
Karin Wang, Asian Pacific Islanders (API) Equality LA
Jenny Pfizer, Lawyer, Lambda Legal
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles
Sara Poloaro – Equal Roots
Tony Sweet – Radio Host & Gospel Singer
Alia Albarakah – Muslima Activist
Anne Hines – Emerson UU, Canoga Park
Pastor Jim Boline, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Santa Monica
Jim & Frank Reifsnyder-Smith and family

WHERE: Immanuel Presbyterian Church
3300 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA. 90010

WHEN 7:30 – 9pm Monday, November 2, 2009

WHY: Services and gatherings will take place across the state of California on and about the one year anniversary of the passage of Prop 8. These gatherings will celebrate progress made in the past year, both in the secular and religious communities. They will also renew support for Marriage Equality in Maine and Washington State as those states face ballot measures which would strip same-sex couples of relationship protections
For more information, go to the website:

LA SPONSORS: California Faith for Equality, Equal Roots, API Equality - Los Angeles,Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry, Beth Chayim Chadashim, Congregation Kol Ami, Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles, National Black Justice Coalition, California Council of Churches, Progressive Jewish Alliance, Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at HUC-IJR, National Council of Jewish Women - Los Angeles, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, Marriage Equality USA, Courage Campaign, Equality California, More Light Presbyterians, Jews for Marriage Equality, Tikkun, and many more.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Lesson from Faith: How to Sustain a Movement

Check out Interfaith Organizing Director Kerry Chaplin's post Wise Words from the Reverend featured on Calitics:

Faith traditions are powerful examples of movements surviving and persevering over time, sometimes in the face of persecution. They survive because they ask the big questions and because they know the sustaining value of gathering in community. Across denominations, the core value in faith communities is relationship - relationship with one another, with their particular tradition and with something greater than themselves. It has sustained faith communities for thousands of years.

Our Equality Movement must embrace this lesson of perseverance, sustenance and survival taught by faith communities in order to thrive beyond campaign politics.
As we mark the passage of Prop 8, we implement the core practice of this lesson by gathering in community and relationship:

On November 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, Keeping the Faith for Equality events throughout California give us this opportunity for relationship. One year later, CA Faith for Equality, Courage Campaign, Equality California, Marriage Equality USA, and many, many other organizations and faith communities are gathering not to dwell on our loss a year ago, but to embrace the lessons we learned from that loss. Visit to find an event in your area.

We hope to see you there.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009



California Faith for Equality (CFE) celebrates the signing of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill into law today, eleven years after the 21 year old gay man was brutally murdered. "Many of us take for granted that when we leave home in the morning, we will come home safely at the end of the day, said Pastor Samuel M. Chu, Interim Executive Director of CFE. “ But, we have also been confronted by the realities of hatred and violence lurking around us. The signing of this comprehensive hate crimes bill represents a giant step toward equal rights and protection for all, regardless of their perceived identities. We dare not forget that this came too late for many who have gone before us, but we look toward a shared future with faith that our children will live in a world not dominated by fear and hatred.

“Several CFE members lobbied Capitol Hill for passage of this legislation and today, we remember in our prayers, all those who have died or have been victims of hate crimes,” said the Rev. Neil Thomas, of the Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles and President of the Board of CFE.

Chu added, "California Faith for Equality celebrates this historic act and we embrace the challenge of continuing to educate all people on the value of radical hospitality. We believe that congregations are more than just cheerleaders when it comes to promoting the health and wellbeing of all members of society. We must continue to open our sanctuary doors to the vulnerable, and to confront violence and hatred against any human being or groups."

Louise Brooks, Media Coordinator ■ 626.993.4605 ■

Saturday, October 24, 2009


The pope's welcoming of Anglicans disaffected by their church's greater openness only shows how far the gay-rights movement has to go to dispel religious intolerance.

October 24, 2009

This week's announcement that the Roman Catholic Church will welcome disaffected Anglicans en masse is of primary interest to members of the two Christian communions. But this religious realignment is also a reminder to supporters of equality for women and gays and lesbians that they must literally preach to the converted if they are to win believers to their cause.

Pope Benedict XVI has offered the Anglicans a special status within Catholicism that will preserve their traditions and allow married Anglican priests to continue their ministry. Those likely to accept are animated by opposition to innovations including the ordination of an openly gay bishop in the United States, blessings for same-sex couples in Canada and the Church of England's decision to allow female bishops.

Not every dissatisfied Anglican will change churches. Nor will this development drown out voices within the Roman Catholic Church favoring full participation by women and homosexuals. But Benedict's action is part of a formidable religious backlash against gay rights that isn't confined to the pulpit; witness the lobbying by some religious leaders against same-sex civil marriages.

Under the 1st Amendment, churches in this country can't be forced to alter their doctrine or to stop preaching against the supposed immorality of homosexuality. Even so, supporters of gay rights in particular -- many of them Christians -- should try to dispel the notion that belief in God is incompatible with full equality for gays and lesbians.

Now as before the pope's action, Christians can be reminded -- as they have been by both Anglican and Catholic theologians -- that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality and that church leaders, including popes, have changed their thinking over the years about everything from usury to the culpability of Jews for the Crucifixion to the desirability of religious tolerance. You don't have to be Catholic (or Anglican) to realize that society as a whole would be better off if the church's views of women and gays underwent a similar evolution.

\Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

Thursday, October 22, 2009



October 22, 2009


“This is a landmark day for America as well as many faith leaders who have lobbied for the passage of hate crimes legislation,” said Pastor Samuel M. Chu, Interim Executive Director for California Faith for Equality. “After years of debate, there will soon be new federal protections extended to people who are victimized because of their gender, gender identification, or sexual orientation, or disability. CFE urges President Obama to sign this bill as he has promised.

“We appreciate and applaud the work of Judy and Denis Shepherd and the Mathew Shepherd Foundation for their years of dedicated work to pass this legislation.

“We pray that love will prevail over hate and hate-inspired crimes will cease to exist. We look for the extended protections to take place soon so that LGBTI Americans will know that their government will protect them from violence and provide justice for victims and their families.”


October 22, 2009
After nearly 12 years, a strong hate crimes bill is finally on its way to the President’s desk and he’s promised to make it law. Upon his signature, the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act will be the first major federal civil rights law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Today’s 64 to 35 cloture vote and this evening’s final passage in the Senate marks a truly pivotal moment in our fight for LGBT equality. This last vote EVER on the bill happened because of the dedication of all of the people who contacted their legislators, educated their communities and gave of their time and money. But no one has worked harder than the families of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., for whom the bill is named. Go to HRC's website for the rest of the story.

Monday, October 19, 2009

California Faith for Equality's Support of Maine's Religious Coalition is in the Numbers

After marching through Portland's Monument Sqaure, people of faith gather and rally for marriage equality. Here, a Catholic for marriage equality shares a prayer for families.

Yesterday, Mainers in Portland, Bangor, Auburn and Rockland rallied against discrimination and for the freedom to marry. Kerry Chaplin, California Faith for Equality's Interfaith Organizing Director, spent a week in Maine helping Katy Jayne, Organizer for the Religious Coalition, prepare for the events, which turned out about 1,000 people of faith.

"These events were successful because people of faith in Maine care about equality," shared Jayne. "California Faith for Equality's support helped to ensure we met our goals by engaging people of faith not only to attend the events, but to help organize them."

Check out media coverage from Bangor and Auburn.


CA Faith for Equality, the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of CA, Marriage Equality USA, Equality California, the Bay Area Coalition of Welcoming Congregations, Courage Campaign, Progressive Jewish Alliance, and a number of other organizations are coming together to “Keep the Faith” for equality.

At the one year anniversary of the passage of Proposition 8, we will stand together, not looking back, but moving forward. We will celebrate the progress that has been made in the past year, both in the secular and religious communities.We will renew our support for our friends in Maine and Washington State as they face ballot measures which would strip same-sex couples of relationship protections. Through interfaith prayer, song, and reflection, we are “Keeping the Faith” for equality for all people.
To date, events are being planned in San Francisco, Oakland, North Bay, Sacramento, Davis, San Jose, Modesto, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Claremont, Orange County, and San Diego. We are also working on organizing Humboldt, Fresno, and Palm Springs.

To find or post an event, and see the Keeping the Faith Resource Kit go to:

Here is a partial list:

San Jose: Keeping the Faith
November 2, 2009 from 6pm to 7:30pm – First Christian Church of San Jose

Claremont "Keeping The Faith" Rally
November 2, 2009 from 6:30pm to 8pm – Memorial Park
Keeping the Faith - San Francisco

November 2, 2009 from 7pm to 9pm – St. Mark's Lutheran Church

Keeping the Faith in Belmont
November 2, 2009 from 7pm to 8pm – Congregational Church of Belmont
Oakland: "Keeping the Faith: A "Soulful" Interfaith Worship Service
November 2, 2009 from 7pm to 9pm – Lakeshore Baptist Church

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Marriage Equality: Not just for same-sex couples

AP: Interracial couple denied marriage license in La.
Oct 15 04:00 PM US/Eastern

HAMMOND, La. (AP) - A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

Neither Bardwell nor the couple immediately returned phone calls from The Associated Press. But Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that he was not a racist. Read rest of story here.



On Sunday, October 25, at 1:30pm, THE LARAMIE PROJECT: 10 YEARS LATER will be staged at Hollywood United Methodist Church in our 725 seat sanctuary. Following the performance, coffee and dessert will be served. We are proud to also be hosting a talk and book signing at 4:00 PM by Judy Shepard (mother to Matthew Shepard) author ofThe Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed. Books will be available for purchase from local retailer, Book Soup.

The play, The Laramie Project, which premiered in February 2000, was the basis for the 2002 critically acclaimed HBO Original Film starring Camryn Manheim, Joshua Jackson and Christina Ricci. More information on the play may be found at

This sequel picks up ten years later. The attitudes and the events that have transpired over those ten years are quite shocking, as members of the Tectonic Theatre Company return to Laramie and discover that many issues are still unresolved.

Scheduled to perform are Zachary Quinto (Heroes, Star Trek), Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory), Johnny Galecki (Big Bang Theory), Pauley Perrette (NCIS), James Cromwell (Surrogates, Babe), Julie Benz (Dexter), Lisa Edelstein (House), Barrett Foa (NCIS: Los Angeles), Emmy Award-winner Christian Clemenson (Boston Legal) and Helen Shaver (The 4400).

The reading is directed by actress/ director Jillian Armenante. The Tectonic Theatre Project has granted special rights for the reading as a benefit, with all proceeds going to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. General seating tickets for the event are $25.00 and can be purchased by calling 323-874-2104, ext 303 or by emailing

HUMC 323-874-2104


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

U.S. judge refuses Prop. 8 backers' request to dismiss gay-marriage case

By Howard Mintz

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge on Wednesday refused to dismiss a legal challenge to Proposition 8, concluding that the ongoing courtroom battle over California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage must be resolved in a full-blown trial.

After two hours of legal sparring, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker rejected the arguments of Prop. 8 supporters, who maintained that U.S. Supreme Court precedent and a lack of proof of constitutional violations should sidetrack a lawsuit designed to overturn the ballot measure. Instead, Walker, sensing the challenge to Prop. 8 ultimately could wind up before the Supreme Court, wants a trial to develop a full factual record, including forcing Prop. 8 supporters to justify the reasons behind a state ban on allowing gay couples to wed.

One by one, the judge shot down the legal reasons Prop. 8 lawyers presented to resolve the case now and allow the same-sex marriage ban to remain in force. In particular, the judge seemed particularly unpersuaded by Prop. 8 attorney Charles Cooper's chief argument for a state law confining marriage to heterosexual couples — that the state has an interest in protecting "traditional" marriage because of its importance to procreation in society.

"Procreation doesn't require marriage," Walker noted, citing statistics showing that a large percentage of children are born out of wedlock.
The judge's decision sets the stage for a January trial. Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Calif governor signs gay marriage recognition bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill recognizing gay marriages sanctioned in other states during the nearly five months such unions were legal in California.

Schwarzenegger says the action is consistent with a state Supreme Court ruling upholding the marriages of same-sex couples who tied the knot in California before voters approved Proposition 8.

Proposition 8 is a constitutional amendment passed in November that limits marriage to a man and a woman. The bill signed by the governor late Sunday also says gay and lesbian couples who were married in other states after Proposition 8’s passage have the same rights and benefits that California grants domestic partners.

The bill was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Acting Locally on Nat'l Coming Out Day

While thousands gathered in Washington to march for equality, hundreds gathered at All Saints Church, Pasadena for a Calilfornia Faith for Equality sponsored press conference featuring faith leaders standing in solidarity with activist Dr. Eric Lee.

Click here to go to the California Faith for Equality website and add your signature to the letter of support for Dr. Lee and his courageous witness for LGBT equality.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Syd Peterson interviews Interim Executive Director of California Faith for Equality, Pastor Samuel Chu, on LGBT POV:

What was the one BIG emotional moment when you knew you had to get involved with this work?

In fifth grade back in Hong Kong, I “shut down” my elementary school and organized a “teach-in” and assembly to teach the students what was going on with the protests and hunger strike at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. My journey to the US also played a big part in how I see my work today: the experience of leaving behind everything I knew, everything that felt safe, and forging a new identity, new relationships and status taught me how important organizing is. And I remember feeling just angry – a kind of cold anger that I continue to find productive – around how powerless organizations and institutions like churches can be in the face of injustice and inequality. I find it unhelpful when communities come together without a serious intention of building some power. I remember the great organizer, Ernesto Cortes Jr. once told me, “Why spend the effort to organize people if you are going to lose? People can lose all on their own.”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Signoff from Maine

From the hospitality of Rev. Stephen Carnahan and his wife Judith to the 15 Bangor clergy who stood together for equality, my experience in Maine was overflowing with examples of hospitality, of kindness, and certainly of justice.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have supported Katy Jayne and the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry. A growing progressive voice of faith, the Coalition looks to California Faith for Equality as a model of faith-centered organizing for LGBTI equality.

As the model, CA Faith for Equality is responsible for supporting the work of the Coalition, and as a an organization of shared values, it is (read: we are) responsible for acting those values. To find out how you or your faith community can support the freedom to marry in Maine, contact Katy at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jewish Voices for Marriage Equality

Jews from the Portland area gathered this evening to hear rabbis, lawyers, and lesbian and gay Jews share why the freedom to marry is important in their lives. Whether discussing Jewish law, explaining civil law or sharing an individual story, each speaker presented her/is experience from a different, but uniquely Jewish perspective. Rabbi Alice Goldfinger of Congregation Beit Ha'am shared that when she first spoke on supporting marriage for gay and lesbian couples in San Francisco in 1992, her synagogue rotunda was vandalized: "Rabbi Goldfinger is a dyke."

While approximately 80% of Jews support marriage equality, we must not wipe our hands of our responsibility to lift up those who are oppressed: Tzedek, tzedek tirdof (Deuteronomy 16:20). Justice, justice, you shall pursue! Our pursuit of justice is not over because the majority of Jews support marriage equality. On Yom Kippur, when we atone not only for our own sins, but for those of our entire community and our entire people, we take responsibility for one another. When one of us does not pursue justice, or stands in the way of justice, we are all responsible.

Driven by communal responsibility, we continue to pursue justice, healing the world by pursuing the world we want to live in.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


A Policy Alert from The Episcopal Public Policy Network

"Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this landwho live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constantcompanions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to theseour neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equalprotection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that everyone of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through JesusChrist our Lord. Amen."
--The Book of Common Prayer

Many Americans do not realize that under current federal law, itis entirely legal to fire, hire, demote, promote, and make all otheremployment decisions based on real or perceived sexual orientation andgender identity and expression regardless of workplace performance. Specifically, it is legal to discriminate based upon sexual orientation in29 states and based upon gender identity or expression in 38 states. Toprevent further discrimination, Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) andIIeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and SusanCollins (R-ME) have introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA),which would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination onthe basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

ENDA would prohibit employers, employment agencies, labororganizations, or joint labor-management committees from discriminatingagainst individuals on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientationor gender identity. It prohibits the use of sexual orientation and genderidentity as a basis for determining the compensation, terms, conditions, orprivileges of employment. However, the bill explicitly exempts religiousorganizations from these requirements, protecting the First Amendment andCivil Rights protections of religious organizations who consider ENDA to becontrary to their doctrines and principles. No religious organization willbe compelled to violate their doctrines and principles.

Biblical tradition teaches us that all human beings are createdin the Divine image. As it says in Genesis 1:27, "And God created humans inGod's own image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female Godcreated them." Regardless of context, discrimination against any personarising from apathy, insensitivity, ignorance, fear, or hatred isinconsistent with this fundamental belief. As people of faith, we firmlyoppose discrimination against all individuals, including gays and lesbians,for the stamp of the Divine is present in each and every one of us.

Clickhere to support and co-sponsor the EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act.
Forward this Alert to a Friend!
Episcopal Public Policy Network
110 Maryland Ave., N.E. #309, Washington, D.C. 20002
1-800-228-0515, (202) 547-7300, FAX (202) 547-4457
On the Web:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Organizer Artwork

We're hard at work in Maine. The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry has three BIG events coming up:

Katy Jayne, Maine Civil Liberties Union and Religious Coalition Organizer, and I spent Sunday afternoon coming up with a gameplan to develop, support and promote these events. The process was exhausting, but we made organizer art.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Augusta Area Clergy Call Mainers

Episcopal priest Rev. Calvin Sanborn and Unitarian Universalist Minister Rev. Ed Greene call Mainers to talk about marriage equality from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta. Rev. Sanborn and his husband Dan have recently adopted Owen, who remained quiet because he knew Dad was on an important call.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Maine Adventures in Marriage Equality

Marriage equality supporters everywhere! Out for dinner today at North Star on Munjoy Hill, we met this lovely couple with their own equality schwag.
Drawing inspiration everywhere.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameach from Maine!

Shabbat shalom and hag sameach from Maine!

We are entering the Jewish holiday, Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, during which Jews traditionally take our meals, even sleep, in temporary shelters reminiscent of the transitory wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.
On Sukkot, it is traditional to read Psalm 27:
  • 11 Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
  • 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.
  • 13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
While reading this passage at Temple Beth El in Portland this evening, I thought of our oppressors, those who hold us LGBTI people and allies down, especially those who are currently doing so in Maine. In the Portland Press Herald this morning, Bill Nemitz described a marked difference between the Yes on 1 campaign and the No on 1 campaign: while the Yes campaign puts forth the same 4 spokespeople, uses website images from online stock photo galleries, and ultimately lacks realness, the No on 1 campaign speaks in diverse voices, uses photos of real Mainers on its website, and thrives on the authentic drive of Mainers, not agendas.

Even in the two days since I arrived in Maine, it is clear that our oppressors are using the same language to bear false witness against us. The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine is standing for what is just and fair, led by that which is Holy on a path toward goodness.

On this Sukkot, let us all have the courage to be led to goodness in the face of our oppressors.

shabbat shalom and hag sameach,

Kerry Chaplin

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bangor, Maine

15 clergy from a diversity of faith traditions stood for marriage equality in Bangor, Maine, on the northern edge of U.S. wilderness. 7 of those clergy drove nearly an hour to participate. 5 spoke, saying, "Our Religious Coalition opposes Question 1."

When asked why she participated this time, but hadn't before, one clergyperson said, "It's their issue, so it's my issue." Because her congregants had shared with her the significance of marriage equality in their lives, she stood publicly on the lobby stairs of that Bangor church and, with her colleagues, acted for what is right and just in the spirit of her religious tradition.

May we each have the courage to know courage through the practice of compassion.

Kerry Chaplin