FTM Minutes: April 19, 2008
April 19, 2008
Freedom to Marry Task Force Meeting Saturday, April 19, 2008 at Cedar
Lane UU Church
Rev. Phyllis Hubbell, First Unitarian Church of Baltimore
Marge Dimond and Pat Karlson , Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church
Bob Johnson, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia
Rev. Terry Ellen, UUSJ
Tish Hall, Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church
Alex Dixon, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax
*Recent activity in our congregations.*
Alex Dixon reported that the head of the BGLT task force at Fairfax
Congregation is resigning in December of 2008. Alex requested contact
information for Margaret Albamonte of Capital Area Interweave to find
out about the up-coming Pride events in the Metro DC area.
Tish Hall reported that the Interfaith Fairness Coalition of Maryland
(IFCM) is planning a transgender education day in September. Currently
planned for Paint Branch UU Church in Prince George?s County, Tish has
requested that IFCM consider holding the event at a church in Montgomery
County, due to the current political and media campaign against a
gender-inclusive antidiscrimination bill. Marge Dimond expressed
interest in bringing the IFCM to Cedar Lane UU.
Marge Dimond reported that 12 signs saying ?Civil Marriage is a Civil
Right? have been damaged, destroyed, or removed. The 13^th sign went up
but was taken down by the congregation at the end of the legislative
session and was not defaced. The Task Force members suggested that Marge
contact some local media about the sign campaign (the Montgomery County
reporter for the Washington Post and local news reporter for the
Cedar Lane is participating in the Family Diversity Project and
displaying the photo exhibit, ?In Our Family: Portraits of all Kinds of
Families.? The photo exhibit shows families of all kinds, including
families headed by same-sex parents. The exhibit is available for rent
from the Family Diversity Project but Cedar Lane is being permitted to
display it for donations because Marge arranged for Cedar Lane to use it
after it is displayed at the Greenacres School in Bethesda. (Greenacres
has paid the full rental.)
*Feedback on our work on the Marriage Curriculum*
Phyllis asks that we write up an outline of our work on the marriage
Curriculum, including the materials we used, what we did with them, and
what our participants? responses were.
Phyllis reported on the unit ?Creating a theology of Marriage Equality?
presented on March 29 at the JPD Spring Conference:
Phyllis and Jenn Kali of UU Church of Rockville collected sermons on
Marriage Equality from the Internet and after receiving permissions for
the authors, selected excerpts which were read by ministers also
participating in the Conference. Readings were kept brief so that
audience discussion could follow each reading. Participation and
response was robust.
Tish reported on her discussion at PBUUC:
The discussion was presented as a one-hour workshop at the PBUUC Women?s
Retreat. A short reading was taken from E.J. Graff?s _What is Marriage
for: the strange social history of our most intimate institution_
(permission to use the reading was not requested from the author or
publisher). The reading was given to the three participants and after
spending about 10 minutes on the reading we had a discussion. There was
very little discussion of the reading itself, which was discussion of
the health effects of marriage on men and women (and the associated
costs). One of the participants was a practicing family therapist and
one was a practicing couples therapist and they both were familiar with
the material and wanted to talk about their own commitment to marriage
Terry Ellen reported on a Friday night Marriage Equality event with 6
participants ? marriage history was of interest to the group. (I don?t
have any other notes on this)
Bob Johnson (Columbia) has not yet moved beyond research. He has been
reading Graff and also Evan Wolfson _Why Marriage Matters: America,
Equality, and Gay People?s Right to Marry_, as well as materials on the
Equality Maryland website.
The ACLU?s 11-minute video on marriage in Maryland can be viewed
on-line. Personal stories are available to use in structuring the unit.
Equality Maryland lists the major arguments against Marriage Equality
and deals with them. Perhaps a discussion can be based on the answers to
Marge Dimond (Cedar Lane) reported that there has been no group activity
on the marriage curriculum but that there was a forum on Marriage
Equality and that Dan Furmansky came and spoke to the group.
Whether with a film or with an individual, making a human connection
makes a difference. Marge has found that then the BGLT task force
sponsors an event, the turnout is small, but when they co-sponsor with
another group the turnout is larger. They also go to existing groups,
such as the OWL class, and make presentations to them.
Phyllis suggests that we talk to our ministers and enlist their help.
Please write up something and have it for the writers. It is a first
step and they can then tell us what they need from us.
*Planning this Curriculum*
Is our timeline realistic? (time line is included at the end of this report)
Are we going to try to print a curriculum or will we publish on-line?
That will affect the time. Phyllis is going to ask Keith Kron?s advice
on this. Terry thinks there is a growing trend toward on-line
publishing. On-line publishing is less costly, is environmentally
responsible and supports a flexible use of the final curriculum.
Will we be asked to provide workshops based on this curriculum at the
2009 GA? That will be Keith?s decision, however members of the task
force may be asked to participate.
The task force accepts the time line by acclamation
We have applications from two involved UU individuals to be writer and
editor of the curriculum.
Writer -Laura Laing is a former Virginian now active in the First
Unitarian church of Baltimore. She and her partner have a child and she
has a teaching background. She has not written UU curriculum. Terry
suggests that she be given a copy of the Spirit of Life Curriculum for
reference. Email LLaing@comcast.net
Editor -Deborah Whitford is a member at Fairfax UU her focus is on
transgender and she is interested in this work.
Both Laura and Deborah are aware that this is unpaid work, however
Phyllis is going to ask Keith about funding for the writer.
The team agreed by acclamation to accept the writer and editor.
We have had three jobs; lobbying, the curriculum and whatever ad hoc
stuff has come along. The Maryland UU Legislative Ministry (MD-UULM) may
take on Lobby Day in Maryland (fliers, church contacts, etc.) UUSJ will
continue to publicize Lobby Day in its newsletter.
Lobby Day has been easier in Maryland than in Virginia. UU churches in
Arlington and Richmond are taking the lead on Lobby Day Alex reported
that the Lobby Day preview (at Arlington UUC?) was great. A VA-UULM is
several years away. UUSJ can support the Virginia efforts with publicity
through the newsletter, but UUSJ doesn?t reach all of Virginia. Northern
Virginia has a number of supportive churches and UUSJ?s Virginia Cluster
meetings will include material on Marriage Equality.
In the future this task force will concentrate on the curriculum and
decide as it come up how to handle the ad hoc stuff.
Tish is going to check on the files section of the task force listserve,
and ask for moderator status on the listserve if Ron wants to give it
Tish will send the task force the outline and curriculum mission
statement from last autumn, and post them on the webpage.
This is Phyllis?s last meeting with the task force. She is looking for
another Minster-leader. This may mean having to change the location of
our meetings. Terry pointed out that in the view of the UUSJ this has
been a great task force and much of that is due to Phyllis?s leadership.
Two future meeting dates were discussed: Saturday June 7th from 2:30 to
4:40 pm or Saturday June 14 from 10 am to noon. (*Update May 2 ? we are
looking to schedule a room at Cedar Lane for a meeting on June 14*.)
Now that we are focusing only on the curriculum, the task force cam meet
in conference calls and physically meet only twice a year. This will
benefit the team by allowing distant members to participate.
The Listserve (UUSJ-F2Marry@yahoogroups.com
has a website that can be used
more effectively. Documents can be uploaded to the Files section of the
listserv and then be available to all members.
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