By Deb Myers and Nickie Valdez, Co-Chairs, Couples Ministry Committee
Marriage, same-sex unions, domestic partnerships, civil unions have all been part of the national and local political landscape for at least the last decade in this country. In reality, gay men and lesbians have been creating loving, physically and spiritually committed relationships as long as our heterosexual bothers and sisters. Maybe gay men and lesbians have had to do so with less fanfare and less legal stability, but they are nonetheless valid in our hearts and minds.
DignityUSA holds as one of its core values — expressed in our Statement of Position and Purpose — that not only can we act on our sexuality in an ethically responsible way, but that our relationships are loving, life-giving, and life-affirming. Therefore, DignityUSA has had “marriage” on its “agenda” for quite some time!
In 1995, in an effort to address the needs of its members and chapters, DignityUSA’s National House of Delegates formally established a Couples Ministry Task Force. From that group’s research, it became evident that there was a need for resources to assist individuals and chapters in the area of couples ministry. As a result, the DignityUSA’s Board of Directors affirmed the recommendations of the Task Force to create resources for ongoing support for same-sex couples, a set of guidelines for Holy Unions within the context of Dignity chapter’s ministry, and a national registry of couples whose relationships have been blessed by Dignity. Our Couples Ministry Resource Guide contains: guidelines for Holy Unions, samples of Holy Union Services, couples support programs and events by chapters, a bibliography, a Holy Union Certificate and the Holy Union Registry form. All of these materials may be found on our DignityUSA website at http://www.dignityusa.org/couples.
As we move toward “Marriage Equality,” DignityUSA’s Couples Ministry Resource Guide and the Couples Registry, as well as the latest resource on our website “Talking with your Legislator about Same-Gender Marriage: Catholics for Marriage Equality,”(See page 11 in this issue.) and our lived experiences shared in this issue of QV: Quarterly Voice of DignityUSA, validate DignityUSA’s commitment to its members and to its visions when “all GLBT Catholics are affirmed and experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality with their sexuality and as beloved persons of God participate fully in all aspects of life within the church and society.”
- Have you had a union that satisfies DignityUSA Guidelines? Find out at http://www.dignityusa.org/couples
- Would you like to register your union with DignityUSA? Download the form from our website http://www.dignityusa.org/couples/registration, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 1-800-877-8797.
- Are you already reigistered with DignityUSA? We hope you are receiving an Anniversary Card. If not, contact us at email@example.com, or phone 1-800-877-8797
- Would you like for DignityUSA to recognize your Union/Marriage of Anniversary (1, 5, 10, 15 …)? Please send in the information with chapter affiliation or place of residence (City and State) to Peggy Burns, our Operations Manager, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 1-800-877-8797 to appear in the Transitions Section of our monthly publication Dateline.