POFEV

 

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SB 41 Defeated

Thank You Gov. McAuliffe and VA Senate!

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POFEV applauds Gov. McAuliffe and the Virginia State Senators who prevented SB 41 from becoming law.  SB 41 would have allowed any business or organization claiming a religious or moral reason for their bias to discriminate against married gay couples.

However, there was some not-so-good news that should give pause those who believe faith calls us to work for equality for all. As the map above shows, across the wide swaths of Virginia (shown in red) elected representatives continue to believe that their constituents support allowing private businesses and organizations to discriminate against gay and lesbian Virginians for religious reasons.

POFEV and allied clergy and congregations from across Virginia are working to change this perception and make all areas of Virginia more welcoming.  To learn more, please see the following resources: 

We Marry!

Clergy--from many faiths and traditions, and from all parts of Virginia--are ready to marry gay and lesbian couples. 

Love_changes_the_world_POFEV.jpgMany have been doing so for a long time within their own traditions, and since the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision in June 2015 decision have been thrilled to sign certificates of legal marriage as well. 

If you are looking for someone in your area or your religious tradition who will marry same-sex couples, please consult our list and reach out to one of these officiants.

If you are a clergy or secular officiant, please contact who will officiate at weddings, please contact us so we can add you to our list.

Link to the list of clergy and civil officiants in your region here

Open Letter to 2016 Va General Assembly

Virginia Capitol (Commons License).jpgPOFEV opened its advocacy in the 2016 General Assembly with an open letter to Virginia legislators commending the House of Delegates for their statement of welcome to Virginia Muslims and asking them to extend a similar welcome to the LGBT community. A version of the letter was published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Feb. 5, 2016.

The letter acknowledged the role of the faith community in creating a climate of fear of others, and urged faith leaders and legislators to reject legislation that stigmatizes and discriminates against the LGBT community and other communities in the Commonwealth.

GMCW @ UUCS:

Eat! Listen! Love!

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POFEV and congregations in Northern Virginia are again sponsoring concerts by the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington this spring! 

On Saturday, May 21, at 7 pm the chorus will be performing at the UU Congregation of Sterling with support from other Loudoun County area congregations. If you would like to be a co-sponsor, please contact us or call the church at 703-406-3068.
 

You can purchase tickets here and listen to a performance.  Proceeds from the event will go to support POFEV.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Concert Begins - 7:00 p.m.

UU Congregation of Sterling
22135 Davis Drive, Suite #104
Sterling VA 20164

www.uusterling.org / 703-406-3068

 

2016.02.01 Hope UCC Love Wins Concert.jpgThe UU Sterling concert is the second GMCW concert this spring.  On Saturday, February 6, Hope United Church of Christ, POFEV held their annual Love Wins Concert on February 6 to celebrate progress on marriage equality and gay rights. 


 
 
 
 
 

Equality Virginia Honors Paula Prettyman, Kelly Schlagter, and Claire Guthrie Gustañaga

Equality Virginia has named POFEV Board Member Paula Prettyman and her wife Kelly Schlageter and named longtime POFEV ally and supporter Claire Guthrie Gustañaga Outstanding Virginians for 2015The two are being honored at Equality Virginia's 2015 Commonwealth Dinner on April 18 in Richmond.

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Paula Prettyman and Kelly Schlageter founded Equality Fairfax in 2001, which became a leading agent for change in Fairfax County through their advocacy work the Fairfax County police department and Board of Supervisors.  Equality Fairfax then became a core member of the efforts in 2005 and 2006 to defeat the constitutional amendments barring Virginia from legally recognizing marriages of same-sex couples and led the largest rallies in the state protesting the amendments and related statutes. 

In 2013, Paula joined the POFEV Board, where she has been a key leader of POFEV’s grassroots efforts first to achieve legal marriage recognition and now to ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons also experience full equality in their daily lives within their congregations and their communities.  Kelly has advised POFEV on media strategies and helped to organize POFEV Witness for Love and other events. 

Kelly has noted the two have been successful as advocates, organizers, and now parents for one chief reason: “We enjoy working together and balance each other well. Our combined skills make a complete package.”

Congratulations, Paula and Kelly!  And thank you for all that you have done for Virginia!

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Claire Guthrie Gustañaga led Equality Virginia's legislative strategy and advocacy efforts for many years before taking her current position as the executive director of the Virginia ACLU.  A former Deputy Chief Attorney General of Virginia, Claire has been at the forefront of advocating for equality for LGBT Virginians for decades. 

Claire also has been a strong supporter of POFEV since its founding.  POFEV worked closely with Claire in her advocacy work with Equality Virginia and during her leadership of the Commonwealth Coalition that led the fight against the amendments to Virginia's constitution barring recognition of marriages.  POFEV often appearing at hearings that Claire organized to testify on equality issues and worked with Claire and the Commonwealth Coalition to organize a petition signed by 300 clergy opposing adoption of the marriage discrimination amendments.

Since moving to lead the Virginia ACLU, Claire has continued to be a strong ally of POFEV by supporting POFEV in organizing Witnesses for LOVE! in 2014 at local and federal courthouses across Virginia and providing much needed strategic advice at critical junctures in the movement. Claire also was one of the lead attorneys on the federal court cases striking down Virginia's marriage discrimination laws.

POFEV could not be more more appreciative of all that Claire has done to achieve equality for LGBT and all Virginians, and we are thrilled to see her long and untiring service recognized.  Congratulations, Claire!

 

In 2013, Paula joined the Board of Directors of People of Faith for Equality in VA (POFEV), an interfaith network of clergy and lay people working for equality for LGBT Virginians.  Paula notes with pride that POFEV has just changed their marriage equality slogan from “Witness for Love” to “Virginia Is for Loving—Amen!” in light of marriage equality becoming settled law in the state. “It is time for congregations to minister in ways that fully embrace the needs of all members, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender,” says Kelly. - See more at: http://www.equalityvirginia.org/dinner/outstanding-virginians/paula-and-kelly/#sthash.0i6vdOid.dpuf
In 2013, Paula joined the Board of Directors of People of Faith for Equality in VA (POFEV), an interfaith network of clergy and lay people working for equality for LGBT Virginians.  Paula notes with pride that POFEV has just changed their marriage equality slogan from “Witness for Love” to “Virginia Is for Loving—Amen!” in light of marriage equality becoming settled law in the state. “It is time for congregations to minister in ways that fully embrace the needs of all members, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender,” says Kelly. - See more at: http://www.equalityvirginia.org/dinner/outstanding-virginians/paula-and-kelly/#sthash.0i6vdOid.dpuf

Our New Virginia Blogs

POFEV_logo_for_web.jpgPOFEV's campaign for equality for LGBT Virginians is anchored in a broader and deeper mission to create a wider movement for a new Virginia.  In our New Virginia Blog we want to share what we experience on that journey and what we see as Virginia moves forward toward becoming a more inclusive and welcoming community.

We also are eager to share with you the wisdom, thoughts, and perspectives of the many different individuals who make up this movement as well.  That's why we created a second blog called Voices from New Virginia where we can share with you the vision of others from where they view this work. 

Please enjoy both of these blogs, and let us know what you think of them here.

POFEV Joins Legal Battle for Marriage Equality

POFEV organized 15 Virginia congregations and 46 clergy to join POFEV in an amicus brief to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2014 opposing Virginia's marriage discrimination laws. Arguments in the case were held on May 13, on the powerful ruling by Federal District Judge Arenda Wright Allen, and ultimately the Court of Appeals upheld Judge Wright Allen's decision to strike down these laws.  The U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case left the Fourth Circuit's decision standing, paving the way for all marriages to be recognized in Virginia beginning in October 2014.

POFEV was thrilled that the Supreme Court's consideration of a similar case from the Sixth Circuit in 2015 declared that all persons have a right to marry.  POFEV sponsoring an interfaith prayer service in anticipation of the oral arguments and participated in the march at the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S._Court_of_Appeals_4th_circuit.jpgPOFEV's brief recounted the history of Virginia's use of marriage laws to discriminate against LGBT Virginians and many groups before them. "This is a big step for POFEV, and one we are proud to take," said POFEV President Rev. Dr. Robin H. Gorsline. "The history of marriage in Virginia convinced us that the Court needs to know the truth about 'traditional marriage' in Virginia--the history of how the powerful have used marriage as a tool of social control to deny the dignity of disfavored groups.

Read more, including the brief itself, here.

POFEV Near You

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At Charlottesville Pride on September 14, Robin Gorsline with Virginia marriage equality plaintiffs Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff and with Mary Ann Archer.

POFEV is organizing and traveling across Virginia to Pride celebrations, congregations, interfaith services, and clergy lunches, with new events scheduled weekly.  To learn more about what POFEV is doing each week and when we might be in your community, please check out our Events page.  Our Events page also has links to stories about past events of note like Pride Festivals and Interfaith Services.

If you like for POFEV to speak or be a part of an event in your community or congregation, contact POFEV through our Contact Us link. Until then, please join us at one of the events we'll have near you!

Recent Local Events

We love to help publicize events taking place in or being sponsored by faith communities and faith-based organizations across Virginia that help promote equality and understanding.  You can read more about such events your and other communities have held here.  If you have events that you would like us to help publicize, please let us know by sending us a message from our contact form here.

Laughing Gull Renews Grant


LGF_Blue_Logo_Simple-1.jpgPOFEV thanks Laughing Gull Foundation for their second year of grant funding as part of $30,000 in funding being provided over three years!

POFEV is using this funding to support its congregational and community-level outreach campaign to encourage congregations to become more open in their welcome and inclusion and to inspire and lead their communities to do the same.  Thank you, Laughing Gull, for your support!

Read More

Thank you Razoo!

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In May and December 2015, Razoo hosted special online campaigns to make it easier for you to support groups like POFEV do our work.  With your support through Razoo, we raised more than $2,500 to launch our campaign to support our Grassroots Equality Project to help all corners of Virginia become welcoming of all people regardless of whom they love!

Thank you to Razoo for your support and thank you to all who donated!  If you want to help us strengthen our presence in communities and congregations across the Commonwealth, please support us financially by clicking here or on the Grassroots Equality Project logo above!

POFEV (People of Faith for Equality in Virginia), P.O. Box 4919, Richmond, VA 23220 • www.facebook.com/pofev

email info@pofev.org