Marriage Equality and Discrimination

Repealing Marriage Discrimination in Statute (2014 HB 939)

POFEV supports Virginia House Bill 939.  HB 939 would repeal Virginia's statutory language prohibiting same-sex marriages, civil unions, and private contracts that seek to create legal rights and responsibilities for couples that are similar to those legal recognition of a marriage creates. Virginia also must repeal the marriage discrimination amendment from the constitution to end marriage discrimination, but repealing the statute is an important step. 

POFEV supports legal recognition of same-sex relationships on the same terms that different-sex relationships are recognized and testified at the General Assembly subcommittee hearing in favor of HB 939:

“'Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder.' ... You may scoff that God has not yet joined together any same-gender-loving couples—because only the Commonwealth of Virginia can empower a clergy person to pronounce words of union. But it is not so. God joins people every day—that is how couples—same gender and different gender-- are brought together . . . . by God.”

The full text of POFEV's statement is below, and you also can download it here.


POFEV_logo_for_web.jpgStatement of Rev. Dr. Robin H. Gorsline, President & CEO

In support of HB 939

January 20, 2014

robin.gorsline@pofev.org 804/519-3196

My name is Rev. Dr. Robin H. Gorsline, and I am here representing POFEV: People of Faith for Equality in Virginia.

We are an interfaith organization and speak from our particular and shared spiritual locations. Many of our members are clergy who have stood before an assembly to proclaim two people joined in marriage. Many of us have done so with two men or two women. For us, the love is the same and the proclamation is the same. We even may say the traditional words, “Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder.”

Of course, the Commonwealth violates that prohibition every week, perhaps every day, somewhere within Virginia.  It is time to stop denying the God who brings people together.

You may scoff that God has not yet joined together any same-gender-loving couples—because only the Commonwealth of Virginia can empower a clergy person to pronounce words of union. But it is not so. God joins people every day—that is how couples—same gender and different gender-- are brought together . . . . by God. And I can tell you that, as a pastor for 10 years, I officiated at the celebration of these marriages in many public ceremonies.       

The leaders of our Commonwealth who continue to hide behind the distortion that God only wants marriage between a man and a woman have chosen to lock God up in a box and throw away the key. But God does not work for the Commonwealth of Virginia and God never got in the box in the first place. God is always on the move, and God is moving Virginia just as God moved Maryland, D.C., New York, Deleware, New Jersey and the New England states and all the others across the country and the globe. God wants all God’s people to be free, and we will be free.

There also is a matter of religious freedom. Some say allowing same-gender-loving persons to legally marry infringes on the religious liberty of those who think that is wrong. Just the opposite is true.

The prohibition against marriage of persons of the same sex violates the religious liberty of those whose faith and religious traditions and laws authorize us to perform such marriage ceremonies. We are prevented, by law, from treating all couples equally, using our experience and training to do the thing clergy are trained and empowered to do, namely to discern not the gender of the persons but whether we believe the intended marriage is appropriate and ready for our blessing and participation.

We are grateful to Del. Surovell for offering this legislation and we know it is only a matter of time before the plague of intolerance against LGBT Virginians by their government will end, and it will be ending sooner than many think. We ask that you join the freedom movement by voting for HB 939.

POFEV (People of Faith for Equality in Virginia), P.O. Box 4919, Richmond, VA 23220 • www.facebook.com/pofev

email info@pofev.org