At this year's assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, 82 LGBT Lutheran pastors have come out. A press release concerning this event begins as follows:
Eighty-two lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Lutheran ministers have chosen to introduce themselves to their denomination and speak out against the policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) that prohibits them from entering into lifelong, loving family relationships.You can read the complete press release here.
On Tuesday morning, these LGBT ministers placed their names in a devotional booklet that was offered as a gift to the voting members at the 2007 biennial Churchwide Assembly of the ELCA, meeting in Chicago.
Though the ELCA says it welcomes LGBT persons into the life of the church, LGBT ministers are required to remain celibate, without a life partner, for the rest of their lives.
Pastor Bradley Schmeling, who was removed from the ELCA clergy roster on July 2 because of his covenanted relationship with Pastor Darin Easler, stated: "The ELCA policy runs counter to the position of Martin Luther himself who opposed forced celibacy on any individual, especially pastors. Luther believed that celibacy was a gift of God given only to a few and that imposed celibacy produced only unnecessary scandal and hardship."