Saturday, April 21, 2007

State clergy rally for gay marriage bill

Connecticut Post

HARTFORD — Thirty clergy members from across the state made a symbolic march on the Capitol Thursday in an attempt to increase pressure on lawmakers to approve a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry.

For the Rev. Mary Anne Osborn, a Fairfield minister, Thursday's event was about putting a human face on the controversy, which is keeping her from marrying her longtime partner.

Osborn, associate pastor at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, said she and the Rev. Joanne Neel-Richard have not participated in a civil union because they've taken steps on their own to ensure legal protections on inheritance, power of attorney, hospital visitation and other issues.

"We are waiting to be married," said Osborn, 55, after a morning press conference on the Capitol's third floor. "We've been together for 24 years and simply want the same dignity and opportunity afforded others."

Neel-Richard said she hopes her now 7-month-old granddaughter, Avery, will grow up with gay marriage as a right — and discrimination against committed same-sex couples a matter of history, similar to 80 years since women won the right to vote and the era of racially separated water fountains.

"Throughout the Jewish and Christian scriptures, God is depicted as turning away from legalistic obedience, empty festivals and self-righteous, willful, religious behaviors," Neel-Richard said. "Instead, God is found yearning for a people who will promote justice and live with compassion."

April 12, the Legislature's Judiciary Committee voted 27-15 to approve a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Despite opposition from Gov. M. Jodi Rell, it is on the calendar of the House of Representatives. The General Assembly's deadline is June 6.

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