Support true religious freedom

There is much talk right now about gay marriage and how it would negatively impact religious freedom. As a gay man who has worked in the church for most of my adult life and have been in a loving relationship for the past 10 years, I have a different perspective.

I believe in religious freedom for all people, regardless if their views are the same as mine or not. In the Lutheran church I attend, my pastor would like to be able to marry me and my partner. My church supports this and so does the denomination. The only problem is that it is not currently legal. I pay my taxes. I donate to charity and support my church. I volunteer my time with various organizations. I feel that it is only right that if my church is willing to marry me, no one, including the state or people who have different religious beliefs should deny them the ability to do so.

Referendum 74 will not force any church leader to marry anyone. Religious leaders in this country have never had to marry anyone they do not choose to. There are currently churches in this country who will not marry interracial couples, couples of mixed faiths, etc. While I do not agree with this, I do support their right to practice their religion as they see fit. Why do they not offer others that same respect? If you truly believe in freedom of religion I hope you will vote to approve R74 in November. If, as a matter of conscience, you simply can’t vote to approve but believe in religious freedom for all, the next best thing is to simply leave that question blank.

Darren Hochstedler

Director of Music Ministries

Edmonds Lutheran Church

Parish Administrator

Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church


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