We are stronger, both as persons and as Christians, because we make hard moral decisions. That strength grows as we share the convictions and commitment that develop out of reflection on our experience as lesbian and gay People of God.

We have come to realize that being gay or lesbian is God's blessing and gift. All that God has created is good. All humans are created in God's own image and likeness. Since humans were not made to be alone (see Genesis 2:18), as we seek and express intimacy and love we show God's image in action. We strive to make that image clearer by together acting justly, loving tenderly, and walking humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).

In our struggle to recognize and affirm the rightness to exist as we were made, we discovered something that was distinctly ours: our ability to accept and to nurture the divine gift of selfhood. Self empowerment brings growth. We grow stronger in our commitment to live a Christian life. Our identification with Christ and with the Catholic tradition is the stronger because of the conscious decision and commitment to stay with our Church. We have the same faith, the same life of grace, and the same call to discipleship. The values we try to live by are values we have received through the Church. We are the persons and the believers that we are because we are the Church. Many of our brothers and sisters feel rejected by the Church and can no longer identify with the Church or with Christianity. We share their pain, anger, and disappointment. Still, we are convinced that God has been with us in our struggles and that it is God who strengthens us.

Not all who are leaders in the Church speak harshly. Some stand with us and proclaim the same good news that we learn from our experience. Today the Word of God speaks ever more clearly through preachers and prophets, theologians and teachers, proclaiming our dignity and rejecting the prejudice formerly sustained in the name of God. These disciples, like Jesus, suffer for speaking and living the truth. Their struggle for justice, like our own, gives birth to hope and new life.