With Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, the ELCA issued the following statement on gender identity discrimination:
In light of recent public events and conversation, it is important to remember the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) rejects all forms of hatred or discrimination. This includes employment discrimination against the transgender community, as stated in “Gender Identity Discrimination,“ a policy resolution that was adopted by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
“As church together, it’s now more important than ever for us not only to pray, but also stand beside all who are facing many forms of prejudice,” stated Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. “Transgender individuals should not be denied the opportunity to participate in our armed forces. We should honor the courage and sacrifice of all members of our military regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation and join those who serve in upholding the respect and dignity of each person.”
The ELCA has repeatedly spoken against discrimination in law or policy related to sexual orientation or gender identity. The policy resolution, adopted by the Churchwide Assembly in 2013 – the highest legislative body of the church – instructed the presiding bishop to communicate public support for actions that prohibit “employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity” and encouraged all ELCA synods, congregations and members to do the same. Additionally, as a church, we have committed our support to those whose vocation is in the military (“For Peace in God’s World,” 1995).
The ELCA is a church that belongs to Christ and Christ’s church universal, where there is a place for everyone. The call of Christ’s people today is to celebrate the diversity of God’s creative work and embrace all people in the spirit of love, regardless of race or ethnicity, economic status or gender.