Equal rights already present
We wish to respond to the letter written by David Fischer on June 1. He states that the ELCA made the right move by allowing gay clergy. He also states that anyone who opposes this is reacting because of "ancient words with mere faith-based definition". In other words, we are reacting because of Biblical truths! We didn't know that the Bible has become old-fashioned and should be brought up-to-date. A scripture-based church does not embrace every sinful whim of society.
Your organization, Equality South Dakota, an organization whose mission is "to secure, protect, and support the rights and the well being of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) South Dakotans and their families," is working towards getting "special rights" for the gay community.
You already have equal rights.
Marvin and Marion Hoffman
Dear Marvin and Marion,
LGBT people (and by extension, their friends and family) do not have equal rights in South Dakota. Equality South Dakota is working with Republicans and Democrats to make our State a place where they cannot be discriminated against in housing, employment or health care. Yes, we have a "gay agenda" -- that everyone be treated fairly in South Dakota. A radical notion? I think not.
Frankly I was amazed last legislative session when HB 1144, a proposed state law, was voted down in committee (on partisan lines, although the bill had bipartisan support). Our testimony in favor of the law, backed up with facts and reasoned argument in favor of adding LGBT persons to our existing human rights law (which has not been modified since the 1970s). The testimony against 1144 frankly struck me as quite shrill and fact-free; it seemed aimed to stir up fear and prejudice rather than make any attempt at reasoned argument. In truth, I am encouraged by this fact -- as the arguments against basic fairness for LGBT people in South Dakota are getting thinner every day.
On the Biblical front, I urge you to go read your New Testament and find where Jesus speaks against lesbian and gay people. I can't find any words like that from Him, but He sure said a lot of radical things against divorce, economic disparity, and the turning away of anyone who only thirsts for justice and acceptance as they are.
I appreciate your sharing your point of view... but I'm very glad it's increasingly a minority view in South Dakota.