Sunday, June 29, 2008

"FW: Civil Unions Update"

Shrimp here, wondering just what this might mean.

Just a few moments ago we were over at Yahoo! Groups doing a search of groups using "ELCA" and very quickly discovered a public group called "lutheranadvocacyillinois." The group's description begins
LutheranAdvocacy.org is a ministry of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois , ELCA Church in Society, and the three synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Illinois. Its purpose is to educate its members about public policy issues and to mobilize them for effective action in the public sphere.
You need to be a member of the group to post messages. But to read the group's messages anyone, even a non-Yahoo! member, just needs to click here. There you'll find that the group was organized last April and has 17 members. Again, this is all very much out in the open.

If you've been reading Shellfish you might guess that we're not particularly enthusiastic about "advocacy" done in the name of the ELCA. You'd be correct, but we'll hasten to point out that it hasn't been a Shellfish hobby horse. Up on the top of this page you will likely find the blogspot "SEARCH BLOG" feature. Put in the word "advocacy" and you'll quickly discover this entry from last January, this from last December, and this from July 2006. That's pretty much it for ELCA advocacy.

But having caught our eyes, we thought we'd take a quick look at lutheranadvocacyillinois just to see what they think is important for the ELCA's Illinois congregations to be advocating. And that's where we discovered today's Shellfish headline -- the most recent message posted on the publicly available lutheranadvocacyillinois Yahoo! group, only last Monday.
FW: Civil Unions Update
This is specifically for those of you who are on the Civil Right/Human Rights working group. Perhaps we should have some discussion of our position on this
That's what appears on the group's front page, a typical Yahoo! Groups message teaser. And we clicked the public link, the results of which we copy below in full below.

But first, Dan Schwick is not only the group's contact as Director of Lutheran Advocacy--Illinois (the website of which seems to have not been updated in the last year or so) , but Assistant to the President of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and "Director, Office of Church and Government Relations." Oh, turns out it's Pastor Dan Schwick.

After reading this, are you wondering just what these folks might want to say to Illinois legislators about "civil unions"?

Shrimp out. Take it away, Pastor Dan!
Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:44 am

This is specifically for those of you who are on the Civil Right/Human Rights working group. Perhaps we should have some discussion of our position on this bill at our fall issues caucus. We already (tentatively) have a presentation on the recently successful effort to abolish the death penalty in NJ. My counterpart, the ELCA public policy director in NY, was a key participant in that effort. He will be here to share their successful strategy.



--ds





Daniel Schwick, Assistant to the President

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

Director, Office of Church and Government Relations

and

Director, Lutheran Advocacy--Illinois

1001 E. Touhy Ave. #50

Des Plaines, IL 60018

847-390-1418

fax: 847-635-6764

dan.schwick@...

www.LSSI.org

www.LutheranAdvocacy.org



"Responding to the Gospel, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois brings healing justice and wholeness to people and communities." [LSSI Mission Statement]


From: Rep. Greg Harris [mailto:greg@...]
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2008 4:06 PM
To: Daniel Schwick
Subject: Civil Unions Update



Rep. Greg Harris - Civil Unions Update

June 18, 2008

I wanted to update you on the tremendous progress we've made towards passing civil union legislation in Illinois, and the final steps needed to establish civil unions under Illinois law.

Over the past few months, we have generated nearly 10,000 letters to the Illinois legislature in support of House Bill 1826, which would allow all committed couples in our state access to basic legal rights. This is a monumental undertaking thanks to the tireless efforts of concerned volunteers in every county of Illinois.

Besides support from supportive advocacy groups and progressive organizations, we have a 9,000+ group of students organized on Facebook on college campuses across Illinois, and a grassroots network of statewide senior citizens lobbying for HB 1826. Our innovative, student-led online advocacy model and our press events highlighting the importance of civil unions to Illinois seniors have generated news all over the state. You can see dozens of newspaper, television, radio and blog stories highlighting the statewide organizing efforts, and the editorial support from major newspaper editorial boards here:http://www.civilunionsillinois.org/more.asp

Just before midnight on the last day of the Spring Session, House Bill 1826 was moved to 'order of third reading' in the Illinois House of Representatives. This means that the legislation cleared all procedural hurdles (including passage by the House Human Services Committee) and that I can call it for a final vote at the most appropriate time. You can see the final version (House Amendment #4) here:http://ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09500HB1826ham004&GA=95&SessionId=51&DocTypeId=HB&LegID=30661&DocNum=1826&GAID=9&Session=

We are just a handful of votes away from passing this legislation. In the House this means 60 votes plus a small margin in case of unexpected absences or last minute "cold feet". The Senate, we believe, also has the votes needed for passage, and the Governor has indicated he intends to sign the Bill when it reaches his desk.

The legislature is officially scheduled to meet next on November 12 in Veto Session. However, it is highly likely that we could be called back by the Governor at any time this summer. Therefore, we must act now to take advantage of any opportunity that arises to call House Bill 1826 for a vote.

In order to build support for the final vote, we must continue generating messages to legislators through civilunionsillinois.org. Some legislators are still undecided, and pressure on our supporters is intense. We must continue to organize, because our Right Wing opponents are working tirelessly every day to defeat us. As a bellwether heartland state, Illinois is seen by the opposition as a battleground state in their efforts to stop nationwide acceptance of marriage equality. You may choose to send letters to legislators about civil unions importance to same-sex couples, senior couples or both.

If you know anyone who has not yet sent a message through the site, please forward them this message. And if you are interested in meeting with your legislator about the importance of civil unions, please e-mail Chris Jessup at Chris@... so that we can work together.

It has been a tremendous experience working with so many dedicated supporters across the state on this legislation. I thank you so much for all that you have done, and I look forward to continuing our important work towards equality!


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1 comment:

Cap'n Bill said...

Gee, I haven't been capitalized for some time:

"We must continue to organize, because our Right Wing opponents are working tirelessly every day to defeat us."

I don't know about you, but I'm more like "working tired" as in sick and tired.

And, isn't it so good to know (seriously, I wish they did know) that your benevolence dollars are at work luring your college student children into devoting study time into spening their energy on gay advocacy. Just what I want my boy to be doing while I'm working furiously to pay his tuition.

They should all be fired, yesterday.

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...