I am Bishop Yvette Flunder, the Senior pastor of City of Refuge UCC in Oakland, California and I am the Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.
“As an African American, I have witnessed and benefited from good historic Supreme Court decisions that apply the Constitution equally to all people,” and I have witnessed some not so good decisions. “The judicial branch of our democracy helped free Black Americans and inspired human rights movements for farm workers, women and now, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. We have been here before. Approximately the same percentage of the population there were affected by the anti slavery and civil rights decisions, are being affected by the courts decision on LGBT rights.
“Today, we anticipate a process that culminates in a good and just decision...same-gender families in our country must have access to all the benefits of marriage. Today I honor and acknowledged my family. Shirley and I will soon celebrate 31 years together, with our two daughters and two grandsons. The decisions to end Prop 8 and DOMA send a signal to fair-minded people everywhere that all of our relationships and families are equally valued. I am grateful “While we celebrate the Supreme Courts recent just decisions on marriage equality, we know that it is time to end this struggle for LGBT equality and equality for all. We stand with all those living in the shadow of a dream that some folks continue to hold hostage. I am a same gender loving woman. I am a mother and Grandmother. I am of Native American decent, and many of the historic decisions of the court have impacted my freedom in negative ways, but I am pledged to fight FOR justice and fight AGAINST any wedge being driven that pits straight folks, or Black folks, or Latino folks or anyone else against LGBT folks. Whether immigrants, women, minorities, the homeless, the imprisoned or any oppressed person, we are reminded that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We pressed this court for the civil rights for people of color...we can do no less for the LGBT community.
I am grateful for the incredible numbers of children of color who have been adopted by SGL families many of which have been saved from the dislocation of foster care and the potential pipeline to incarceration.
My deep desire is simple...I want my spouse of 31 years and our children to be cared for in the event of my death. I want to know that she will benefit from all of the things that any surviving spouse should expect in any state she chooses to live in. There are those that say ours is not a biblical marriage. Marriage in the 1st century AD did not benefit women who were widowed. On the contrary, most women could not own property and if her husband died she became the property of her brother in law. If her husband died and left debts, her children could be sold into debtors slavery. Marriage has evolved from this and this anticipated decision is another step to add freedom and justice to our loving relationships. We are not rioting...we are petitioning the justice system...peacefully, but we will not stop until our families are affirmed. After 31 years, I am not looking for anyone's permission, I am looking for my family to be treated equally under the law. Get this right, Supreme Court. Be known as the court that put this issue to rest.
If the freedom of minorities were left in the hands of a conservative majority, my people would still be slaves. We call on the SCOTUS to get this right and put this issue to bed!
As a community and a nation we must also call for a stop to religious and legal discrimination against women and girls and cry out against the persecution of sexual minorities in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Americas and anywhere prejudice goes unchecked. This watershed moment will inspire a new wave of justice throughout the world.