Drawing Upon his Faith, this Pastor Shares Why He Supports Updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act

Wes Granberg-Michaelson • Grand Rapids

WesGranberg_MichaelsonWes Granberg-Michaelson of Grand Rapids, Michigan is the former general secretary of the Reformed Church of America, and as both a Michigander and a pastor, is adding his voice to support a fully inclusive update to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect gay and transgender people.

“In my 17 years of ministry as the general secretary of the Reformed Church of America, I have seen the conversation regarding gay and transgender identities evolve in communities of faith. As the visibility of gay and transgender people in our communities has increased, the conversation about how the church and the Bible advise Christians to receive people who are gay and transgender has also had to increase. Many of us have friends, community members, and family members who we know and love who are gay or transgender and so we’ve had to consider what that means for our relationships with people we love in relation to our faith.”

For Wes, his support for updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act is very much grounded in his faith.

“Regardless of a person’s personal belief or position, one thing is clear: we are called to act with compassion and grace towards all of God’s children,” he explains. “Currently, gay and transgender people are not protected by Michigan’s non-discrimination act, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination in the housing and employment markets. My faith and personal convictions have brought me to support a fully inclusive amendment to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.”

But this isn’t a new revelation for Wes, or for his faith. In fact, the Reformed Church of America has long advocated for the civil rights of all people, including people who are gay or transgender.

“Not only do I as an individual and a pastor support a fully inclusive amendment to Michigan’s non-discrimination act, but the 1978 paper of the Reformed Church of America’s General Synod’s discussion of homosexuality supports the human and civil rights of gay and transgender people. In fact, the paper states that “the denial of human and civil rights to homosexuals is inconsistent with the biblical witness and Reformed theology.”

Wes concludes with a call to action to our elected leaders, “It is time for the state of Michigan to take the initiative to protect its gay and transgender citizens. I call on the members of the Michigan State Senate and House of Representatives to pass a fully inclusive amendment to Elliott Larsen.”

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