A portion of the world’s population is gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT). Around the world, political and religious institutions have targeted GLBT persons for discrimination in housing, employment, health care, and access to redress for such discrimination. Some falsely portray the basic human rights laws that protect GLBT persons from hate crimes as unfair “legal preference.”
It is particularly disturbing when religious values are used to justify persecution of select groups. Christians proclaim that all people are God’s children deserving the protection of their human and civil rights. Our Social Principles gives us clear direction in this matter:
We insist that all persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation, are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured (¶ 161G).
The rights and privileges a society bestows upon or withholds from those who comprise it indicate the relative esteem in which that society holds particular persons and groups of persons. We affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God. We therefore work toward societies in which each person’s value is recognized, maintained, and strengthened (¶ 162).
Therefore, all United Methodists are called upon:
1. to refrain from signing petitions and to vote against measures that advocate the denial of basic human and civil rights to anyone;
2. to educate congregation and community alike about the position of the United Methodist Discipline on civil rights and its broad applications; and
3. to stand against any political or physical acts that deny human and civil rights and the sacred worth of all persons.
4. to advocate for initiatives which would prohibit job and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity throughout the world; and
5. to advocate for initiatives which provide for extra penalties for crimes which are expressly committed for the purpose of harming someone based solely on their race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, or disability.
Therefore, be it resolved, that the General Board of Church and Society develop education tools designed to provide for open and healthy dialogue and understanding of sexuality in the world with the specific goal of protecting the human and civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons.
We do this as part of our Christian witness and ministry. Never let it be said that United Methodists were silent during this attack on the rights of all.