A letter from Oak Park (IL) Clergy in support of the proposed Domestic Partner Registry

As Oak Park deliberates a Registry for same-sex domestic partners, we, the undersigned clergy and leaders of Oak Park congregations, wish to speak out.

It seems to us that the Registry is about homes and families. The central issue underlying the debate is whether we as a community will respect and support them in their diversity or, alternatively, undermine those homes and families that do not fit certain narrow specifications.

While some, because of their religious convictions, do not support the recognition of 'alternatives to the traditional family' there is no unified religious voice on this matter. For us, no contradiction exists between our religious convictions and the recognition of same-sex love.

To us, the fundamental human issues that require the creation of families are universally applicable to both traditional and nontraditional families. These have to do with the sacredness of human love, the need for the love and support of a home and family as an antidote to isolation, and the long-term project of patiently unfolding each others' human capacities.

In a pluralistic society, the religious objections of some to the right of others to human fulfillment does not constitute adequate justification for denying to a minority those benefits the majority has found essential for themselves. The objector need not choose the alternative represented by the Registry. But there is a vast difference between rejecting an option for oneself, and eliminating the option for others for whom it is of supreme importance.

Frequently, fear is expressed about the consequences of exposing young people to the existence in society of gay and lesbian relationships. But far too little is said about the damaging consequences of the invisibility of same-sex relationshipsdamage inflicted on those of our children who, whatever our personal wishes or prejudices, are, and will be, gay or lesbian. The human family must add this reality to its working truth.

It is time for the Village of Oak Park to adopt a Registry for these familiesand so to promote the values of home, family, and mutual respect that we profess. To do less is to endorse an outworn prejudice that serves no one, and injures many."

Rev. Edward Bergstraesser
Rev. Bobbi Wells Hargleroad
Rev. Kathryn V. Ksander
Rev. Diane Wendorf
First United Church of Oak Park

Rabbi Gary S. Gerson
Oak Park Temple Bnai Abraham Zion

Rev. Dr. F. Jay Deacon
Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Oak Park

Dr. Helen Bishop
Central Midwest District Executive
Unitarian Universalist Association

Rev. Dr. Gary A. Halstead
Oak Park United Church of Christ

Rev. Jack Finney
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Oak Park

Rev. Michael Johnston
Grace Episcopal Church, Oak Park

Rev. Bradley E. Mickelson
Metropolitan Community Church of the Incarnation, Oak Park

Rev. Dwight Stewart, Oak Park
United Methodist

Rev. Carla A. Grosch
Rev. Marguarita M. W. Suarez
Pilgrim Congregational Church (UCC), Oak Park

Web publication of this document provided by the Interfaith Working Group Online