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Church Reaches Out To Gay Military Families
by Mary Ellen Peterson
Los Angeles Bureau
April 23, 2003
11:58 a.m. ET/+5GMT/-3PT
(Los Angeles, California) Metropolitan Community Churches throughout the US are reaching out to the families of gay and lesbian servicemembers left without support during the war.
Because of ' Don't Ask, Don't Tell', gay service members are closeted and their partners and children unable to receive help from any of the large number of programs designed to help military families.
Across the United States, civic groups, government programs, mainline churches and non-profit organizations are providing a range of services and support for husbands and wives of heterosexual military personnel.
But, the needs of thousands of gay and lesbian military spouses are being ignored. Tuesday, the Metropolitan Community Churches announced it was setting up a program to assist the gay families of servicemembers.
"Partners of gay and lesbian military people are an invisible group in our society," said Rev. Troy D. Perry, MCC founder and Moderator.
"Due to the military's unjust treatment of its gay and lesbian servicemembers, too many GLBT partners have been left without the support and services provided to their straight counterparts."
Almost 250 Metropolitan Community Churches across the U.S. are taking part in the program by offering support groups, pastoral counseling, prayer teams, transportation and home-cooked meals. MCC also has teamed with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to address the needs of GLBT families of military personnel.
"Despite the promise of our nation's creeds, there is no equality accorded to gay and lesbian servicememebers or their partners and spouses," said Perry. " This has a very real impact -- a harmful, hurtful impact -- on these gay and lesbian families who are making incredible sacrifices for their country."
Rev. Perry, himself a veteran of the U.S. Army, again this week called for a change in military policy that will allow gays and lesbians to serve openly.
"This war has brought to light an extremely important issue facing gays and lesbians," Perry said.
"A nation that allows closeted gays and lesbians to fight for its freedom, and to risk death and injury, while denying their families any kind of help, has not achieved fairness or justice. Until our government will address these needs, I am calling on all churches and all people of goodwill to respond to the needs of our nation's gay and lesbian military personnel and their partners."
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