Letter to Edmonds City Council: Please support marriage equality resolution

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Council President Peterson, Councilmember Plunkett:

Thank you for introducing a resolution of support for marriage equality in Washington State. Edmonds joins, King County, The City of Tacoma and many other communities in voicing your support. I hope that all counilmembers and the mayor will speak out in favor of this issue. I encourage the mayor to join Tacoma Mayor Strickland and others from around our nation in joining the Mayors for Marriage Equality.

I have chosen not to be silent but to speak up, to stand with my gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered brothers and sisters. I challenge my fellow straight Washingtonians to do the same. I challenge my Christian brothers and sisters to do the same. I challenge people of all faiths, and people who are of good will but nonreligious, to all join together, make a stand, and bring marriage equality to our great state.

Why would I, a straight Christian male who spent 13 years in elected office, take a position in favor of marriage equality when it would be so much easier to stay silent? The answer is simple, the God I was raised to believe in said all are equal and should be treated with love.

When I was in the Washington State House of Representative, the legislature passed the “Defense of Marriage Act” and sent it to Governor Locke, who in his wisdom vetoed the act. My political advisors said if I voted no on the DOMA, I would never be re-elected, but I could not do that because I was brought up as a Christian to love all people and not discriminate. My answer to my friends and advisors was, “if the voters want me out of office for loving others and voting the way I am led in my heart then so be it.” I was elected to pubic office four more times.

What is the overall message of the Bible: is it condemnation or grace? The Jesus I hear in the Bible speaks a message of grace and love: He talks about God’s love for us and asks us to love God and each other. In any marriage two people are declaring their love for each other in a formal ceremony. In a church ceremony, they declare to the world their commitment to each other and God. When same-sex couples have that right, it will be a gift to us all.

In the coming weeks, our Senator and Representatives will be struggling with this issue, some through faith and some through politics; struggling to decide the future of equality in Washington. I know many of these people and believe that they will make their decision based on conviction. I do not believe for a minute they are hateful if they vote “No” or lack faith in God if the vote ”Yes”.

It is not easy to reconcile one’s faith and civil rights, but it really is a matter of equal treatment for all God’s children under the law.

A pastor who testified in today’s hearing said it best, the state issues the license and the church blesses the relationship if they choose.

Mike Cooper
Edmonds

8 COMMENTS

  1. Teresa

    Thank you for printing my letter. I just noticed that the there is no ID of the sender. I am sure your readers will want to know who the author is. Mike

  2. This city council is not authorized to represent the position of the citizens of Edmonds on this issue without a hearing and public input.

  3. Thanks for the letter, Mike. I found it to be very thoughtful, heartfelt and well written. It’s refreshing to hear this perspective from a Christian and it’s certainly an example of what the word truly means. I think it’s totally appropriate for our Edmonds elected officials to speak out and to stand up for equality for ALL of it’s citizens. I really appreciate and have new respect for each of the four Council members who voted yes. I value their courage and I saw them in a new light last evening. The three who chose to abstain, and our new Mayor- sadly, not so much. I found each of them very disappointing.

  4. Mike great letter and sadly what so many in the church do not see. People forget that we are “all created in God’s image” so it is much easier to find an enemy or the devil in something or someone. But this has been done throughout history with so few good Christian men and women looking at it and addressing it. And sadly in today’s climate of discontent many on the Right have chosen to single out “the gays” as one’s hell bent on destroying America, destroying the family, destroying family values.

    But this honestly does get back to one’s view of God. Is He/She/It (remember God is neither male nor female) are they about grace or judgement? I have to wonder if that has more to do with their own frustration at living and the problems we are facing day to day then the truth of who God is. Author Anne Lamont so wonderfully said, “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

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