Lutheran Minister's 'Journey of Understanding' Led to Marriage Equality Support

Retired pastor Gilbert Rossing has two gay sons — he officiated a marriage ceremony for one and would like to do so for the other, if only the state of Oregon would legalize same-sex marriage.

BY Trudy Ring

October 29 2013 5:14 PM ET

Gilbert Rossing (second from left) with his wife, son Jonathan, and Jonathan's partner, Ryan

A retired Lutheran minister discusses how his gay sons set him on a “journey of understanding” that made him a marriage equality supporter in a commentary for Portland newspaper The Oregonian.

Gilbert Rossing writes that when his oldest son came out as gay in March 1987, “My first, determined response was to counsel him both as father and pastor, and both academically and biblically, to turn back from this identity.” Rossing recognized that he was driving his son away, and after the minister “wrestled with Scripture passages,” he realized he had to obey the Bible’s “basic command to love our neighbor — my son — as we love ourselves,” he says.

“Through ensuing years I developed an understanding not only of my older son, but also my younger son, who is gay as well,” Rossing writes. “I was fortunate to become friends with dozens of devout, godly people who are gay, lesbian and transgender. I saw that we may seem different, but we all have a lot more in common.” Gays and lesbians, he says, wish to marry for the same reasons straight people do, and they suffer for not having their relationships legally recognized — he describes a lesbian friend of his who, after her partner’s death, experienced “callous indifference toward the loss of her life-long love from both the State and her partner’s family.”

He notes that he officiated the marriage of his younger son in Washington State and would like to do so for his older son in Oregon, and he calls on readers to support a petition to put a marriage equality ballot measure before the Oregon voters next year. Read the full piece here.
 

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