In the same town where prominent national faith leaders continue to preach against equality — especially marriage equality – -for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, other faith leaders and citizens gathered today in Lynchburg at the top of Monument Terrace, between the Lynchburg Circuit Courthouse, 900 Court Street, and the First Unitarian Church of Lynchburg on Court Street.
Their purpose: to participate in a continuing statewide “Witness for Love” and marriage equality for lgbt Virginians, an effort spearheaded by People of Faith for Equality in Virginia (POFEV). POFEV is a statewide interfaith network of clergy, laypersons, and congregations working together to repeal the Virginia anti-Marriage amendment and to promote adoption of legal protections for workers, youth and families, and others who are subject to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender and gender identity.
Rev. Paul Boothby, Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Lynchburg, a key organizer of the event, said, “We believe that the fight for marriage equality is in keeping with the American tradition of respecting personal autonomy, and providing equal protection before the law. That is why we are here today, to stand on the side of love!”
Rev. Robin H. Gorsline, President of POFEV, participated in the event. He said, “It is fitting that we should gather in Lynchburg, home of Liberty University, in order to, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.’ We gather to free our lgbt siblings held captive by an ideology that fears the fullness of God’s love and to give hope to those those who want to be freed from that ideology in order to spread God’s love ever more widely.”
In keeping with the focus on love, the event was originally scheduled for Valentine’s Day, but weather forced the courthouse to close. Ten events did occur that day in all parts of Virginia. The local Lynchburg group, supported by People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, rescheduled for April 16.
Other events in the continuing series across Virginia are scheduled for Arlington on April 25; Hanover County on May 1; Christiansburg, Winchester, and Harrisonburg on May 12; Alexandria and Richmond on May 13.