The Episcopal Bishops of Ohio have spoken with one voice in support of proposed legislation before the Ohio State Legislature that would protect the civil rights of homosexual persons in Ohio in housing and employment.
Bishop Breidenthal wrote an e-mail to his diocese and clergy:
A Message From the Bishop's Office
April 21, 2008
Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Today Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, Bishop Price and I, along with the three assisting bishops of the Diocese of Ohio, have submitted a memorandum to the Ohio State Legislature as they consider current legislation that would protect the civil rights of homosexual persons in the State of Ohio, particularly as regards equal access to housing and employment (House Bill 502 and Senate Bill 305). The text of the memorandum is as follows:
*To: Members of the Ohio State Legislature
From: The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal, Bishop of Southern Ohio
The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth Jr. Bishop of Ohio
The Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price Jr., Bishop Suffragan of Southern Ohio
The Rt. Rev. David C. Bowman, Assisting Bishop of Ohio
The Rt. Rev. William D. Persell, Assisting Bishop of Ohio
The Rt. Rev. Arthur B. Williams, Jr., Assisting Bishop of Ohio
Re: Statement of Support for Civil Rights for Gay and Lesbian Persons in Ohio
Legislation currently before the Ohio State Legislature seeks to secure equal access to housing and employment opportunities for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. The Episcopal Church has stated unequivocally that the civil rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, must be upheld and protected. As the bishops of the two Episcopal dioceses in Ohio, we strongly support the enactment of laws that further this goal in our state. We pray that the demands of justice and equity will guide you as you consider this opportunity to extend a small measure of protection and dignity to our brothers and sisters in the GLBT community.
* I am very pleased that the bishops of our two dioceses have been able to speak with one voice on this matter. While there is a wide range of perspective and conviction in our Church and Diocese on issues related to human sexuality, there is and must be consistent advocacy for the civil rights of all people. This is well reflected in Resolution A069 of the 65th General Convention (1976) which states that "homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church," and A071, which states that homosexual persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws with all other citizens, and calls upon our society to see that such protection is provided in actuality." In 2003 our own diocesan convention resolved that "it is the intent of this Diocese that all persons be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or theological stance" (R-2003-03).
We must never flag in our efforts to insist on such equal respect and dignity. This includes working to protect such basic rights as equal access to housing and employment.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio