Tuesday, November 3, 2009

VIDEO: A Mormon Supporter of Marriage Equality Gives Moving Speech at Keeping the Faith for Equality Service

Last night, I attended the Los Angeles Keeping the Faith for Equality event at Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Many leaders from many walks of faith attended the moving service. They encouraged attendees, facing the one year anniversary of Proposition 8, to keep the faith that full LGBT equality was inevitable. Including full marriage rights in California and nationwide.

One speaker in particular moved me quite a bit. He risks being ostracized from his family, friends and greater community for his position on marriage equality. I'll let him speak for himself.

(Below is Douglas' written testimony, near word-for-word transcription)

I am Douglas Hunter, I am a father, husband and practicing Mormon, today I am glad to join with 6000 faith leader from across California who have an ongoing committed to Marriage Equality. Its fitting that I am speaking in the testimony part of the service because we Mormons have testimony meetings monthly, including yesterday. While a squirming and rebellious child prevented me from bearing my testimony yesterday I would like bear part of it now.

I testify to you that despite the disappointment, anger and anguish that resulted from the passage of Prop. 8 being a being a no on 8 Mormon has made the past year, a year of hope and opportunity.

It has been a year of hope in that for the first time many in the Mormon community who support marriage equality have expressed their views and begun to develop a community. Even if many are fearful of speaking publicly, let it be known today that there are thousands of Mormons in California who do support marriage equality.

It has been a year of opportunity to bear witness of the loving and committed same sex couple and beautiful families that I know, for the sake of changing hearts and minds.

It has been a year of opportunity because it has provided many occasions to speak with different groups about marriage equality, to hear the sorrows of those who have suffered, and to give support to those growing weary of prolonged injustice.

It has been a year of opportunity to insist that we hold dear our spiritual commitment to one another not only despite our disagreements but because of them.

Looking forward to the coming year, I will continue to offer my testimony that those in same sex relationships and those in straight relationships have in common the fact that we define our relationships as being the place where we seek the deepest levels of spiritual and emotional intimacy. Our relationships are the place where we are willing to be the most vulnerable, and where we seek to discover the most profound trust and love possible in the human experience.

In the year to come I will testify that in acknowledging these similarities I can no longer conscience a world in which legal protections, respect and dignity are granted to some relationships, but withheld from others.

In the year to come I will testify that we Mormons need to remember that a powerful test of our faith is how we engage those who are different from our selves, those who are "other."

In the year to come I will testify that I refuse the conflation of politics and theology that makes our gay brother and sisters "other" to Mormons, a threat or a political opponent.

In the year to come I will bear my testimony that compassion, equality, justice and love for all human beings are Mormon values that need to be applied liberally and courageously.

This is my testimony in Jesus' name, Amen.

Others in attendance included Rabbi Denise Eger, Rev. Dana Caegle, Rev. Anne Hines, Alia Al'Barakah, Fr. Geoff Farrow and Rabbi Allen Freehling.

More Keeping the Faith for Equality events are scheduled through Friday, November 6.

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