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Three Soulforce Couples to Marry in San Francisco Monday

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  • umcornet
    See also Affirmation s Archives: In Search of What God Has Joined Together http://www.umaffirm.org/cornews/search.html Leslie Penrose, Statement of Commitment
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2004
      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

      From Soulforce

      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
      Soulforce, Inc.

      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
      4th, 1999.

      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.

      Thank you!
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