Same-sex couples deserve same benefits [UPDATED]Published 9:20am Friday, October 19, 2012 Updated 11:21am Friday, October 19, 2012
My wife and I arrived in the Fergus Falls area more than 50 years ago. I was fresh out of seminary, ready to be pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church in Elizabeth and Faith Lutheran Church in Pelican Rapids.
Corinne and I thought we might stay for two years and then move on to “greener pastures.” Soon, however, we fell in love with those wonderful folks and the lake country. We stayed much longer and continued to come to our cabin on Lake Lida for more than 35 years.
Had you asked me in those early days about gay and lesbian persons I would have said I thought they were emotionally warped and needed counseling and prayer. I was certain they would change and become straight like most folks I knew.
That was then. This is now. Over these years my view has changed. First and foremost, as a pastor and bishop I studied those few passages in the Bible that refer to same gender relationships. In time I came to see that they referred to abusive and immoral behavior. That was not what I was seeing in the increasing number of gay and lesbian persons we were getting to know as friends.
It took time, but over the years we came to see that they deserved the same rights and benefits we as a married couple had taken for granted.
This is why I am voting “no” on the Marriage Amendment on Nov. 6. I do so at least in part for personal reasons. I’m convinced that if we can make life more secure for gay and lesbian persons, including those in faithful, lifelong relationships, we will all enjoy a healthier community.
I hope many of you will join us in voting “no” on Nov. 6.
Herbert W. Chilstrom