From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Gay Religious Leader Addresses Congressional Summit on Katrina Relie=

Date Fri, 16 Sep 2005 12:31:03 EDT


For Immediate Release: September 16, 2005

Metropolitan Community Churches Leader Addresses
U.S. Congressional Summit On Relief Response to Hurricane Katrina

Convened By U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy; Rev. Dr. Cindi Love Represents
Washington, DC - The worldâs largest gay church group was among participants
in a joint meeting of U.S. congressional leaders and faith-based
organizations invited to make recommendations for the evolving government response to
victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The Reverend Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director of Metropolitan Community
Churches (MCC), represented MCC at the September 9 meeting convened by
Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass).

In her remarks, Dr. Love described the plight of a lesbian couple with three
children who lost their housing and all of their possessions in the
devastation of Hurricane Katrina. âAs terrible as was the loss experienced by all
families, gay and lesbian families have experienced added trauma due to
inequalities in the law. In the midst of their catastrophic loss,
officials asked
that, because they are a gay family, they produce documents to prove the legal
adoption of their children and questioned the legitimacy of the marriage of
the couple. Gay families are not automatically eligible for the same benefits
as other Katrina victims, due to our excluded status as couples and families
under U.S. and state laws.â

According to Dr. Love, âThe justice of God is characterized by special
regard for the poor and the marginalized. This is a moral standard by
which the
benefits and penalties of society should be distributed, so that basic needs are
basic rights.â

The meeting took place in the Senate Office Building on September 9. Senator
Kennedy addressed the need for a deeply spiritual response to this tragedy
that goes beyond the essential meeting of needs for shelter, food,
transportation and jobs. Jim Wallace, author of "God's Politics" and founder of
Sojourners, said, âSometimes it takes a national disaster to
reveal a social
disaster," adding that Hurricane Katrina has washed away our national "denial" of the
continuing poverty of African-Americans and the widening gap between "haves
and have nots."

Dr. Love endorsed a âKatrina Bill of Rightsâ similar to
the victim's
compensation fund that was established within ten days of 9-11 tragedy.
The bill
would provide Disaster Unemployment Assistance, protect the voting rights of
displaced persons and waive the medical match requirement at the state level for
Medicaid, allowing states to disburse immediate benefits.

Among its relief efforts, Metropolitan Community Churches is providing
support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) victims of Hurricane
Katrina, many of whom experience difficulty in obtaining disaster relief because
of the governmentâs narrow and restrictive definition of âfamily.â MCC is
providing special relief efforts for gay families with children and individuals
with HIV/AIDS. In addition to providing food, water, clothing and other basic
survival needs. MCC and its member churches are delivering supplies to those
areas most impacted, including the greater New Orleans community, Biloxi and
Gulfport, Mississippi, and the Texas relocation sites in Houston, Dallas,
San Antonio and Fort Worth/Arlington. MCC is working in partnership with other
organizations, including the City of Los Angeles, National Gay & Lesbian
Task Force, Human Rights Campaign, Caravan of Hope, National Association
Packing and Shipping Stores, Baton Rouge Louisiana Vet Center and the Montrose
Counseling Center.

MCC is also providing support to clergy and their families who serve the
LGBT community to empower them for their on-going ministries to the thousands
who have been impacted. Efforts are being made to provide for clergy in their
work with the return and revitalization of their communities. Key leaders in
this support effort include Rev. Dexter Brecht, senior pastor MCC of Greater
New Orleans, and Rev. Lee Carlton, senior pastor of Cornerstone MCC in Mobile,
Alabama. Both of these pastorâs churches were devastated by Katrina.
Dr. Love expressed appreciation to Harry Knox, Director of the Faith and
Religion Program at the Human Rights Campaign, for facilitating MCCâs
participation in the congressional meeting.

Following her presentation at the congressional gathering, Dr. Love traveled
to Fort Worth, Texas to mobilize a relief project that will provide beds for
100 families who have been relocated to apartments in the Fort Worth area.

Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches is the worldâs largest
faith group providing spiritual support to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and
transgender persons. Each year, more than 225,000 persons attend programs and
services of MCCâs 250 local congregations in 23 countries. For additional
information on Metropolitan Community Churches, visit _www.MCCchurch.org_
( .


Digital Photo of Dr. Cindi Love Available Upon Request

To Arrange Media Interviews With Dr. Cindi Love, Contact:
Jim Birkitt, MCC Communications Director
8704 Santa Monica Boulevard, 2nd Floor
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Tel. (310) 625-4177
E-Mail: _info@MCCchurch.org_ (


Participants In The September 9th Congressional Meeting Included:

U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)
U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut)
Congressperson Raul Grijalva, Arizona
Congressperson Grace Napolitano
Bruce Gordon, President, NAACP
Dr. Major Jemison, Progressive National Baptist Convention
Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director, Metropolitan Community Churches
Brenda Mitchell, National Council of Churches
Rev. Dr. James L. McDonald, Vice President of Bread for the World
Christin Driscoll, Senior Director of Public Development, Catholic Charities
Yonce Shelton, National Coordinator and Policy Director, Call for Renewal
Douglas Greenaway, Executive Director, National WIC Association
Rev. W. Douglas Tanner, Jr., The Faith and Politics Institute
Rev. Elenora Giddings Ivory, Director of National Ministries, Presbyterian


International Headquarters of Metropolitan Community Churches
8704 Santa Monica Blvd. â West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: 310-360-8640 â Fax: 310-360-8680

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