by Karen Kulm, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Vancouver, WA
June is International LGBT Pride month, commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion of June 1969. Stonewall is celebrated as the beginning of the modern movement for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
In 1972, the United Church of Christ (UCC) ordained the Rev. Bill Johnson, the first openly gay person ordained in a mainline Protestant church. In 2005, the General Synod of the UCC voted overwhelmingly to “affirm equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender,” thereby becoming the first mainline denomination, and the largest Christian denomination in the world, to support same-sex marriage. Yet now in 2013, only twelve states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. Twenty-nine states still have no law barring workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 34 states also lack such state protections based on gender identity.