Pastor Mark Jolivette – Press Conference for Marriage Equality

AUGUST 7, 2014

Pastor Jolivette was asked by our LGBTQ Center leadership, and by Fair Wisconsin, to be
the clergy representative speaking out ahead of the appellate court
ruling due soon regarding “freedom to marry”.

He was given 3 minutes to speak, and shared these remarks.

Pastor MarkMy name is Mark Jolivette, and I serve as pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church here in La Crosse. It is my joy to have this privilege to speak out strongly for marriage equality.

Every Sunday the cover of our bulletin features the following words:  All are welcome in this church! The Good News of God’s grace is for all, regardless of age, abilities, physical & mental health, race, sexual orientation, education, income or strength of faith. There is nothing we do, have done or will do that can separate us from the love of God. God makes no exceptions, nor do we.

We know that when many people from the LGBTQ community come into our parish, their deepest need is safety, safety to freely be themselves, safety to freely worship as a couple and as a family. I believe marriage offers the deepest legal safety for all our families.

In our Lutheran service of confirmation, young adults make five vows of commitment to God for their spiritual futures. The last two are these: to serve all people following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to strive for justice and peace in all the world. My support of marriage equality springs from these spiritual promises to God and my response to God’s mercy and love.

Creation matters. I trust that people of faith can agree that creation in all its diversity is a sign of God at work.

Promises matter. Promises are really about faith and trust, trust that words spoken will be kept true and faith that this deeply matters all life-long. I believe that promise making and promise keeping is always a godly enterprise.

Families matter. I believe that people of faith can agree that children benefit from the assurance that their parents are deeply committed to each other and to their family as long as they both shall live. Even if families do not all look like our own, I trust that people of faith can understand that every person and every family is deserving of the same dignity and respect. I am speaking out today in the hope that all people of Wisconsin understand justice to mean that all families receive the respect of equal legal protections.

Marriage matters. People of faith can agree that love is a gift from God. We do not all agree on the issues of sexuality, but I do believe that our sexuality is a gift from God, and should be celebrated with the deepest respect and the opportunity to make and share promises of lifelong faithfulness.

I thank leaders of the Reformed branch of Judaism, the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, the Unitarian Universalist association, and more recently the Presbyterian Church USA, along with my own Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, for offering congregations and pastoral leadership the opportunity to perform blessings for all couples. Deep conversations are ongoing in other faith communities.

I ask all people to serve others and work for justice and peace in all the world. I ask all people of faith to unite in using our religion as an instrument of love and tolerance and equality for all. I speak out for the freedom to marry for all.

Marriage matters for everyone, children and adults alike. Thank you.