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VT HOUSE H.178: Read the bill
VT SENATE S.115: Read the bill

« Day 2 of Senate Judiciary Hearings | Main | »

March 18, 2009

Clergy Testimony - SJC Day 3

In the run-up to tonight's public hearing, from 6:00 - 8:30pm at the State House, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from clergy across the religious spectrum regarding their perspective on the marriage debate.  

The Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano, Bishop of Burlington, Roman Catholic Diocese, called on the legislators to "preserve the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman." And he warned of government intrusion into religious marriage. He called the legislation "an injustice" to those who "uphold and defend the traditional vocation of marriage."

FULL POST

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW:


CALL YOUR SENATORS: 
Call the Sergeant-at-Arms office at 802-828-2228 and leave a message for your Senator(s). (A list of Senators can be found here.) Tell them your name, your phone number, and your town, and urge them to support S.115!

CALL YOUR REPS: 
Call the Sergeant-at-Arms office at 802-828-2228 and leave a message for your Representative(s). (Representatives can be found here.) Tell them your name, your phone number, and your town, and urge them to support civil marriage!


PUBLIC HEARING TIPS:

The public hearing on Wed. March 18, from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. at the Vermont State House in Montpelier is critical. Please come! And bring 2 friends!

  • It'll be a big crowd, so arrive early to get a seat inside the House Chamber.
  • Witnesses will be chosen alternately from separate "pro" and "con" lists. They will be given 3 minutes to speak. At 8:30, the hearing will stop, even if some have not been called.
  • The sign-up to testify will be out from 5:30-6:30pm only.
  • Bring a written copy of your testimony to leave with the committee (whether or not you speak).
  • If you prefer not to speak, that's fine. We still need you there!
  • We may hear some offensive things, but it's important to keep our cool.

In the run-up to tonight's public hearing, from 6:00 - 8:30pm at the State House, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from clergy across the religious spectrum regarding their perspective on the marriage debate.  

Episcopal Priest David Hall read a statement on behalf of The Right Reverend Thomas C. Ely, Episcopal Bishop of Vermont.  Bishop Ely was unable to attend because he was out of state.  Through Rev. Hall, Bishop Ely testified that S.115 "has the possibility to strengthen our understanding and appreciation of marriage as we witness the love and fidelity of gay and lesbian couples alongside that of straight couples."

Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak, Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ, the largest Protestant denomination in Vermont, testified about her own church's historical support for civil rights and social justice, and strongly supported the freedom to marry. On a personal note, she described her own family-her female partner of 24 years, the children they raised together, the joys and challenges they shared, and the recent birth, two days ago, of a new grandson.  Watch video clip

Rev. Daniel Jantos, of the North Chapel Universalist Society, spoke from the perspective of young people, noting that the overwhelming majority of younger people don't understand the fuss about the freedom to marry. He also discussed the theological debate within faith communities about interpreting sacred texts.

Rabbi Joshua Boettinger of Bennington contrasted approaches to sacred tests that rely on literal interpretations, and those that draw larger lessons from the texts' stories with a recognition of the setting in which those stories were told. Watch video clip

The Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano, Bishop of Burlington, Roman Catholic Diocese, called on the legislators to "preserve the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman." And he warned of government intrusion into religious marriage. He called the legislation "an injustice" to those who "uphold and defend the traditional vocation of marriage." Watch video clip

Scott Libby, pastor, Grace Brethren Church, Irasburg, said same-sex marriage is against the will of God, quoting scripture that God has clearly defined marriage. "The further civil laws move away from God's law, the closer Christians come to being persecuted by the government."

Ethan Kallberg, pastor, Lamoille Valley Grace Brethren Church, Morrisville, appealed to the committee to "protect the original state of marriage so that Vermont will produce crisp, healthy citizens as God intended them to be." He said "homosexuality and by extension homosexual marriage is offensive to God."

Rev. David Lisner, Newport Baptist Church, said the legislation "stands in direct violation of scripture."

Finally, there is a new Burlington Free Press Poll on civil marriage- scroll down to the left side of the page and you'll find the poll.  Vote YES and please forward this to your friends and post on your Facebook/Twitter accounts if you have them!