Three Soulforce Couples to Marry in San Francisco Monday
- See also Affirmation's Archives:
In Search of What God Has Joined Together
Leslie Penrose, Statement of Commitment Testimony (April 27, 1998)
History of Community of Hope
Friday, February 27, 2004
Three Soulforce Couples to Marry in San Francisco Monday, March 1,
Tulsa Minister Rev. Leslie Penrose to Officiate in California
Soulforce Director of Operations, Karen Weldin, and Susanne Bain,
partners for 14 years, will be married in San Francisco, CA on
Monday, March 1, 2004 with Tulsa minister, Rev. Leslie Penrose
officiating. Also being married that day are Soulforce volunteers
Jeannine Janson and Mari Irvin, and Fernando Este and Don Glass.
Jeannine Janson and Mari Irvin were married in a religious service at
St. Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco in April 1998 but now
through the March 1 ceremony will have their marriage recognized by
civil authorities in San Francisco.
Mari Irvin is the Co-Chair of the Soulforce ELCA Denominational Team
as well as a board member for Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Minisitries
and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project Jeannine Janson is Co-Chair
of Lutherans Concerned of North America. Fernando Este is a current
board member of Soulforce in Oklahoma and Don Glass is past member
of the Soulforce in Oklahoma Advisory Board. All 6 of the people
involved have been on numerous Soulforce direct actions.
Rev. Penrose, UCC minister of Community of Hope, Tulsa, will fly to
San Francisco where the couples have made arrangements to obtain
civil marriage licenses and participate in the marriage ceremonies.
The couples have appointments at the San Francisco Court House for a
license and civil marriage ceremony on Monday, March 1st, beginning
at 12 noon.
Also accompanying the couples will be Phil and Randi Reitan, from
Eden Prairie, MN. Phil serves on the Board of Directors of
Those living in the San Francisco area are invited to be present
during the civil ceremony at the Court House at 12 noon.
The opportunity for gay and lesbian couples to go to San Francisco
and be married is a result of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's
political and legal challenge to California law. The San Francisco
County Clerk's Office began issuing marriage licenses on February 12,
2004, to gay and lesbian couples who apply for one. An attempt by
conservative groups to put a stop to the issuing of marriage licenses
failed in two San Francisco courts.
"Monday is a day I have dreamed about for years," said Karen
Weldin. "I never realized just how excited we would be at the thought
of being able to receive a civil marriage license even though we have
been emotionally and spiritually married for years. To publicly go
on record and acknowledge our love and commitment and to embrace the
rights and responsibilities of civil marriage is wonderful."
"I, too, am thrilled and excited," said Susanne Bain. "I have the
opportunity to participate in a civil marriage with the person I love
and have lived with for years." "I wish more lesbian and gay couples
would go to San Francisco and get married." Weldin and Bain have
been in a committed relationship for fourteen years.
"Finally my dreams come true," said Fernando Este who has been in a
committed relationship with Don Glass for five years. "Nothing is
going to change in our relationship after Monday, but getting married
in San Francisco is a confirmation of our love and commitment."
"What a rare and wonderful historic opportunity this is" said Don
Glass. "I am also aware just how difficult society makes it for same
gender couples. It is exciting to be a part of history."
"Going to San Francisco to officiate at these weddings is an act of
discipleship for me - something I am called to do both by the gospel
and by my ordination vows," said Rev. Penrose. "It is sad and
disturbing to me that some couples in my congregation have to go to
another state or even another country to have their civil rights
honored and their relationships treated with respect and dignity.
But because discrimination is the law of the land for same-sex
couples, that is exactly what they must do. So, I'm going to stand
with them. I'm going to the one place in this country that I can say
NO - legally and religiously -- to laws and practices that dishonor
and discriminate. I am going to say YES to love!"
Rev. Penrose was charged five years ago with violating church law in
the United Methodist denomination for participating in and conducting
Holy Unions for gay and lesbian couples. Rev. Penrose resigned March
Gay and lesbian couples do not have to be a California resident to
marry in California. Requirements for a California Marriage License
can be found at: http://sfgov.org/site/countyclerk_page.asp?id=5565.
If you wish to celebrate this special occasion, you may donate to
Soulforce in the name of these couples at
http://www.soulforce.org/main/join.shtml. Put a congratulatory note
in notes section.