An Open Letter to Arizona Residents

 

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Community Leaders Issue Statement in Support of LGBTQ Equality and Religious Freedom

(Mesa, AZ. March 20, 2021) – In an open letter to Arizona residents, United States Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Equality Arizona, ONE Community, and leaders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, United Church of Christ and Jewish faiths expressed support for LGBTQ equality and protecting religious rights. 

"My faith compels me to treat all people fairly and equally, with deep humility and respect.  As a person of faith, I believe that inclusive non-discrimination is the essence of the Golden Rule, which exists in most, if not all, religious teachings worldwide.  Its crux is that we should treat others as we would want to be treated,” said Robert T. Hoshibata, Resident Bishop, Desert Southwest Conference, United Methodist Church

“Simply put, protecting people from discrimination is about treating others as we want to be treated. LGBTQ rights and religious freedom do not have to be in conflict. Instead, we can come together to protect all people and unify our community on what has for too long been a divisive issue,” said Elder Dale Willis, Area Seventy, with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“As someone who grew up in the LDS Church in Mesa and is also transgender, this is an incredible moment of love and acceptance of the equal worth and dignity of LGBTQ people. This letter serves as a powerful rebuke of attempts to repeal the ordinance and divide our community using fear and lies. I hope Mesa residents will join Church leadership and decline to sign the petition seeking to repeal the ordinance,” said Michael Soto, President of Equality Arizona.

“We are proud to have support for non-discrimination from the LDS Church and faith leaders across the state,” said Angela Hughey, President and Co-Founder of ONE Community. “Equal protections benefit everyone in our community, LGBTQ people and people of faith included. Everyone deserves an opportunity to earn an honest living, have safe houses and access to services,” concluded Ms. Hughey.

 

An Open Letter to Arizona Residents:

As citizens and leaders in the community, we write in support of non-discrimination ordinances that protect all people, including LGBTQ people, from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, while also protecting important religious rights.

No one should be denied these protections for being LGBTQ, and likewise religious persons and institutions should be protected in practicing their faith.

We are deeply concerned that the ongoing conflicts between religious liberty and LGBTQ rights are poisoning our civil discourse, eroding the free exercise of religion and preventing diverse people of good will from living together in respect and peace. 

We hope that every level of government will apply these common values and core principles in a balanced approach with all stakeholders engaging in respectful dialogue. LGBTQ rights and religious freedom do not have to be in conflict. Instead, we can come together to protect all people and unify our community on what has for too long been a divisive issue.

We respectfully urge all Arizona residents to join in support of public policy that provides protections for LGBTQ persons as well as people and institutions of faith.

 

Sincerely,

United States Senator, Kyrsten Sinema

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Dale Willis

The Right Rev. Jennifer A. Reddall, VI Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

Robert T. Hoshibata, Resident Bishop The Desert Southwest Conference, United Methodist Church

The Rev. Deborah K. Hutterer, Bishop, Grand Canyon Synod, ELCA

Rev. Dr. William Lyons, Conference Minister Southwest Conference UCC

Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D. Past-president, Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix

Angela Hughey, President, ONE Community

Michael Soto, Executive Director, Equality Arizona

 

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Additional Signers

Rev. Dr. Eric O. Ledermann, pastor, University Presbyterian Church in Tempe

Paul Rockower, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix

Bishop Christopher Carpenter, Presiding Bishop, Reformed Catholic Church

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, Arizona Jews for Justice

Marty Haberer, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix

Rich Kasper, CEO, Jewish Community Foundation

Brad Munroe, Pastor to the Presbytery, Grand Canyon and de Cristo presbyteries

Imam Mufti Didmar, United Islamic Center of Arizona

The Very Rev. Troy D. Mendez, Dean, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Rev Jay Hartley, Regional Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona

Fr. John Caleb Collins, Vicar at St. John’s Episcopal Church & St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

Rev. Rock R. Fremont Jr., Moderator, Southwest Conference UCC

Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman, VP Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix

Rev. Dr. Mike Kerr-Osman, Pastor, The Bridge United Methodist Church

Vance Hicks Marshall and Nancy Hicks Marshall, co-Clerks, Phoenix Quaker Meeting (Society of Friends)

Rev. Christine Dance, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix

Rev. Reginald Walton, Phillips Memorial CME Church, Phoenix

Rabbi John A. Linder, Temple Solel, Paradise Valley

Rev. Rick Sherrill, Pastor, Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church

Rev. Gerald P. Richard II, Esq., Pastor Prince Chapel AME Church

Rev. Bob Howard, Pastor, Community Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Tempe, AZ

Rev. Khalif A. Smith Sr., Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Mesa

Father Gerardo+ Brambila, Vicar, St. Mark's Episcopal church

Rev. Erin Tamayo, Presbytery of the Grand Canyon

The Rev. Canon Jana Sundin, Canon for Children and Youth, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

Rev. Melissa Rynders, Pastor, Sanctuary UMC, Marana

Rev. Carol Reynolds, Pastor, Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ

Bishop Mark Elliott Newman, Presiding Bishop, Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch

Rev. Michael Lonergan, Pastor, Church of the Painted Hills, UCC

The Rev. Canon Holly A. Herring, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Rev. Adero C E Allison, PhD - Casa de Cristo Church and Apostolic Center

Rev. Dr. M. Larkin Rossitter, Pastor, United Churches Fellowship UCC

Rev. Patrick Stout, Pastor, Community Church of Hope

Rev. Frank Bergen, Episcopal Church of St. Matthew

Pastor Gina Pollard, City Square United Methodist Church

Bryce Cook, Founding member of "All Are Alike Unto God - Arizona"

Rev Derrick Elliott, Pastor, Desert Heritage Church UCC-DOC

Gary N. McCluskey, Pastor, University Lutheran Church, Campus Pastor, Lutheran Campus Ministry, ASU

Rev. Terry Immel, Disciples of Christ

Rev. Mary Bullis, United Methodist Church

Billie K. Fidlin. Desert Southwest Conference UMC

Rev. Sandy Johnson, Santa Cruz Valley United Methodist Church

The Rev. Julie O’Brien, Rector All Saints of the Desert Episcopal Church

The Rev. Cliff Blinman, St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church, Tucson

Pastor Jayne Hubbard Black Mountain United Church of Christ

Rev. Joel Bullock, Pastor of Congregational Care, Dayspring United Methodist Church

Reverend Pastor Kimberly Scott, Cross Roads United Methodist Church

Rev Al Gephart, Pastor Emeritus, University Presbyterian Church

Pastor Don Benton, Desert Foothills United Methodist Church

Rev Elaine Groppenbacher, Guardian Angels Catholic Community ECC

Rev. Stephen S. Talmage, Love of Christ Lutheran Church

Michael Patzloff Lead Pastor - Faith United Methodist Church

Rabbi Jeremy Schneider, Temple Kol Ami-Scottsdale and Executive Officer Board of Rabbis

Rev. David W. Ragan, United Church of Christ, Beatitudes Campus

Rev. Carol Rose, Co-Pastor Shalom Mennonite Fellowship

The Rev. Bart Smith, Moderator, Synod of the Southwest Presbyterian Church (USA)

Edward Walsh, Associate Pastor, Guardian Angels Community, Ecumenical Catholic Communion

Reverend Peggy Roberts, Chaplain, Beatitudes Campus, Presbytery of Grand Canyon

The Rev. Hunter Ruffin, Rector, Church of the Epiphany-Tempe

Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy, Dayspring United Methodist Church

Pastor Tina Schlabach, Shalom Mennonite Fellowship

Rev. Abigail Conley, Chalice Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. Charlotte Strayhorne, Casa de Cristo Church

Rabbi Dean Shapiro, Temple Emanuel

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