- by Rev. Laura Rossbert, spoken at Why Marriage Matters Colorado -
It is a joy and a privilege to stand before you as a United Methodist clergywoman and as a staff person at Reconciling Ministries Network. At Reconciling Ministries, we seek to ensure that all people – regardless of who they are and who they love – can be supported and celebrated in both the church and our world.
I come before you as a married woman who chose not to get legally married at Brian and mine’s covenant commitment ceremony, because marriage equality was not yet the law of the land.
I come before you as a mother of a toddler. I don’t know who she will grow up to love, but what I do know is that I want the best for Harper and for all people in Colorado. I want her to have the same chance at freedom as every other American.
And that, friends, will only be possible when we’ve secured the freedom to marry for all Coloradans.
Allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry would tell Harper – and all of our children and grandchildren – that here in Colorado, we believe in treating others as we would want to be treated ourselves.
In the Christian tradition we speak of covenantal relationships. People are called to join their lives together – to honor the way God is calling them to celebrate the fact that they were made in the beloved image of God.
These covenantal relationships are seen everywhere in the Bible – Abraham and Sarah, Adam and Eve, and Ruth and Naomi. Ruth and Naomi are known for their promise to each other, “where you go I will go…” What could be more holy than that promise? It is my hope that covenant relationships can not only be honored and celebrated by the church, but also recognized in our beautiful state.
Because at the end of the day, singling out one group of people for unfair treatment by not letting them marry the person they love is not how we do things in Colorado. No one should be told it is illegal to make a lifetime commitment to the one they love.
So, I stand before you today as a clergywoman and as a friend – and I pledge that my family and I will not stop advocating for justice and equality until equality is known for all. And I know that God walks with us on that journey!
I’m proud to lend my voice to this important work. It’s going to take a lot of different voices – and a lot of conversations across our state – to bring marriage equality to the state we call home.
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Laura Rossbert joined RMN as the Director of Regional Organizing in July 2013. She oversees RMN’s regional organizing and resources the Southeastern jurisdiction as an organizer with a focus on LGBT matters within faith communities. Laura is a Commissioned Deacon in the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. She started her career at the Human Rights Campaign in DC, working in the Marriage Project where she helped oversee a national research project on marriage equality and worked with state equality organizations as they fought discrimination in their state. After her time at HRC she became the Northern Virginia Field Director for Equality Virginia/The Commonwealth Coalition against their anti-gay Constitutional Amendment in 2006. Since that time Laura focused her energy with Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), a United Methodist organization working for full equality for LGBT people in the life of the church. She was a Strategic Director of “Called to Witness,” a campaign with RMN to change the United Methodist Church’s policy at General Conference 2012 by teaching people to share their stories in a way that motivates others to action. Alongside her strategy work, she organized local faith communities in the Southeast, including Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia. Laura also manages a conference for Queer Religious scholarship with Vanderbilt Divinity School and The Human Rights Campaign’s Religion & Faith Project. She has a Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School with a focus on gender/sexuality and is active in the local LGBT community in Nashville to connect people of faith to enact political change.