Let Love Choose

FGC Let Love Choose
Originally uploaded by p2son.

At the FGC Quaker gathering today, over 500 Friends, queer and straight, gathered in support of marriage equality.

Hearing the tesitmonies of same-gender loving couples moved me most of all since they were married under the care of their Quaker meetings.

Many years of meeting, praying, waiting and watching brought together this group that once was divided on queer issues.

After years of hiding from fellow Christians within the churches I attended, I can’t describe how it felt to be surrounded by people of faith who agree that queer people are a perfect part of God’s plan, gifts to the community.

This post has 5 Comments

  1. Jennifer on July 6, 2005 at 12:16 pm

    Wow! 500 is a large number, but how many people are there as a total at FGC? Percentage wise, is 500 such a large number comparatively? Look at the proportions and then think how great it would be if the proportions were the same in American society, just with larger numbers of course.

  2. Peterson Toscano on July 6, 2005 at 3:52 pm

    There are about 1500 people attending FGC. The schedule is PACKED tight, so I thought only the folks from the queer group (FLGBTQC) and some family would attend, but over 1/3 of the gathering showed up including the co-clerks of the gathering and the general secretary (all of whom spoke).

    The high school group, changed their field trip so that they could join us. Very good turn out indeed.

  3. Contemplative Activist on July 6, 2005 at 4:10 pm

    That’s wonderful – wish I could have been there 🙂

  4. Anonymous on July 10, 2005 at 6:15 am

    As one of the highschoolers who worked to change the schedule so that we could attend this event, I would like to emphasize that it was well worth it. The witness inspired dialouge amoung high school Quakers on gender identity and sexual orientation.

  5. Liz Opp on July 10, 2005 at 7:31 pm

    I had asked my partner to look up any news coverage about this event. Here’s what the Roanoke (Virginia) Times had to say [with my corrections in brackets]:

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Quakers hold rally for gay marriage
    By Tonia Moxley

    BLACKSBURG — A [bi-]national religious group that considered canceling plans to hold its annual conference at Virginia Tech because of a state law that bans gay marriage and may invalidate wills and powers of attorney between same-sex couples held a “marriage equality” rally on Henderson Lawn on Tuesday.

    About 300 attendees of the Friends General Conference [Gathering], also known as [well, really, are made up of]
    Quakers, gathered near downtown Blacksburg in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

    “We’re not here to tell the people of Virginia what to do … but be a witness for equality,” said Petra Doan, a conference attendee.

    Conference organizers planned to hold the weeklong annual gathering of Quakers from around the country [and Canada] at Tech before the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Marriage Affirmation Act last year. That law bans gay marriages, civil unions and any “partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage.”

    Gay rights advocacy groups say they believe the legislation may void wills and medical and financial powers of attorneys between same-sex couples who live in or travel to the state.

    While Quaker organizers say they have no plans to boycott Virginia when planning future conferences, they did consider relocating the gathering of about 1,500 members to another state this year.

    “We were concerned about [same-sex] couples and their children who might be hurt by the law,” said Tania Lang Burger, one of the organizers.

    What if a same-sex couple brought their child and one of them got sick or hurt? Would that couple have access to their loved one at the hospital? Those were just some of the concerns a special Quaker committee discussed, prayed and reflected on when deciding whether or not to move the conference, said Carrie Glasby, a conference attendee and a speaker at the demonstration.

    In the end, they decided to come to Virginia and “witness to the truth” of marriage equality, said conference director [that is, the General Secretary of FGC] Bruce Britchard.

    This is the second [Friends] general conference [Gathering] the Quakers have held at Virginia Tech. The last gathering was held there in 2001.

    No identifiable counter-demonstrators showed up Tuesday and few residents were milling around during the event, which began at 2 p.m.

    Glasby, along with her longtime lesbian partner, Kathleen Karhnak, spoke to the group about their marriage in a Quaker [meeting, similar to a congregation] in Pennsylvania several years ago.

    The couple also showed off their 5-month-old son, Timothy Karhnak-Glasby to the crowd, which cheered.

    While Pennsylvania allows both women parental rights to the child and recognizes their wills and powers of attorney as valid, “there are still so many areas where we have no equality,” Karhnak told the gathering. “I hope this message goes out into the world with love.”

    Liz, The Good Raised Up

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