We offer the following thoughts regarding the article about gay marriage in the Aug. 23 edition of the Brandon Sun: “Tying the Knot in Rural Manitoba” and the subsequent editorial of Aug. 27.
We commend the Sun and the reporter on the article.
It is indeed still difficult for many people to come out to their family and friends in Brandon and rural Manitoba. While many families are very accepting and understanding, this is not always the case. The uncertainty around the kind of reception one will receive creates anxiety for many.
It should be recognized that there is still a lack of understanding of and inclusiveness for members of the LGBTQ community in many institutions, including our schools and religious bodies.
We continue to hear stories of discrimination and prejudice faced by LGBTQ individuals. This is one reason our congregation is a member of the Affirming Ministry of the United Church of Canada. At Knox, we strive to be open and inclusive of all, including persons of any gender identity and sexual orientation, and conduct same gender weddings.
Knox also is pleased to be able to partner with organizations in our area that provide support to the LGBTQ population. This includes PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), the Brandon Pride Committee, the Sexuality Education Resource Centre (which offers support through its LGBTQ facilitator and counselling positions) and the Brandon University Students’ Union.
The editorial was quite correct in stating that the couple highlighted is not the first gay or lesbian couple to be married in Westman. We applaud their openness and risk-taking in sharing their story. It will serve as a beacon of hope to other young LGBTQ people in this area.
Thank you for your efforts at educating the public and building understanding in our community.
Knox United Church Affirm Committee