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Posted on 07/30/2009 10:33 AM EST
Toward equality

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Mr. Douglas Marshall-Steele
To the Editor:
The Revised Spiritual Leaders’ Statement is a document supporting civil rights, including civil marriage, for gay and transgender Delawareans. It is signed by Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and other clergy members who live or minister in Delaware, and to date there are nearly a hundred signatories. Would-be signatories may sign electronically on my website at www.towardequality.org. Laypeople might ask clergy members to sign.
Yes, Delaware finally enacted sexual orientation antidiscrimination law after over eleven years of Dixiecrat obstructionism. But while that was a major success, it did nothing to protect transgender Delawareans, who continue with neither hate-crime nor anti-discrimination protection.
And without civil marriage, same-gender couples lack 1,138 federal rights and hundreds of state rights automatically deriving from civil marriage. Most non-gay couples take these rights for granted. Gay couples can only wonder what it must be like to be that enfranchised.
The Revised Spiritual Leaders’ Statement will provide input to Delaware lawmakers as they consider these unresolved issues. More broadly, the document affirms that religious beliefs are not a basis upon which to deny American citizens their civil rights – and that we should love, not loathe, our neighbor.
Toward equality,
Douglas Marshall-Steele

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