April 25, 2016 by Guest Blogger
“The Fight for Family” by Sylvia Ramos
2015 was a huge year for me and my family. In addition to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, I became an ordained minister and married my first couple last September. I was honored that my first wedding as a minister was to a loving, same-gender couple. It was great to see their love and the importance of marriage to them. To them, the public announcement of their union in front of God and community solidified their promises to each other. In them, I saw a love that couldn’t be denied, but unfortunately a love that some people would still attempt to refuse. To that couple, my wife and I and countless others, this is why marriage is important. The Supreme Court made the right decision in 2015, but unfortunately the fight for equality beyond marriage is far from over.
In the last few months, I’ve seen hate and intolerance in the presidential race and state legislature. Just this year in Georgia, the anti-LGBTQ House Bill 757 was passed by state legislators, but vetoed by Governor Deal. Unfortunately, “religious freedom” bills like HB 757 continue to pass in other states and put LGBTQ people and couples, like my wife and I, at risk for discrimination. Legislation like this goes far beyond protecting the right to practice one’s religion. As a member of the faith community, I’m constantly annoyed when I hear people quoting scripture about what God says or doesn’t say. There are very few things all theologians will agree on, but one important fact is that Jesus never said a word for or against homosexuality. I encourage my Christian brothers and sisters who stand behind “religious freedom” bills and legislation to remember the love, tolerance and inclusion of Christ.
In addition to the challenges of “religious freedom” bills, there are 32 states that don’t have clear, fully-inclusive LGBT non-discrimination laws. The laws that do not fully include LGBTQ people not only affect us, but our families as well. This hit home with me, as just last year my wife and I finalized the adoption of our two children. The equal protection for LGBTQ people in employment, housing, access to public places, credit and education are important to my family and should be to yours.
I’m hopeful we can continue to push forward to expand LGBTQ protections towards full equality. We are living in a time that demands us to continue to act and add our voices to oppose injustice. While marriage equality remains a huge and important win, we still have work to do to protect our rights, our love and our families. To quote the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Sylvia Ramos is Associate Minister of Community Outreach at Peachtree Corners Christian Church