The Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives has brought together over 350 senior faith leaders from around the world to call for an end to violence and discrimination against LGBT people and for a global ban on conversion therapy.
They are holding a one day conference today, 16 December, which is available as a livestream from 0930 – 1630. This is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
The programme of the conference can be viewed here.
The Bishop of London has recorded this welcoming video.
This will be followed at 1730 by a Celebration at Westminster Abbey with both the Dean of Westminster and the Dean of St Paul’s.
They invite all people of faith to sign the declaration with them.
The full text of the press release is copied below the fold.
FOREIGN, COMMONWEALTH & DEVELOPMENT OFFICE (FCDO) BRINGS TOGETHER SENIOR FAITH LEADERS TO MARK A NEW CHAPTER IN GLOBAL FAITH AND LGBT+ RELATIONS
Over 350 religious figures from the world’s main religions have signed a historic Declaration calling for an end to violence and criminalisation of LGBT+ people, and a global ban on conversion therapy.
The FCDO has funded a conference that is being held today online to mark the launch of the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, bringing together hundreds of religious leaders from around the world. Central to the day is the launch of a Declaration that has been signed by leaders from 35 countries and all main religions, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu with eight other archbishops, Rabbi David Rosen and the former President of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese.
The Declaration recognises the harm that certain religious teaching has caused the LGBT+ community and asks for their forgiveness, before calling on all nations to end violence against LGBT+ people as well as a global ban on conversion therapy. It ends with a call for all to “celebrate inclusivity and the extraordinary gift of our diversity”
A video of the Declaration featuring a range of senior religious figures has also been released. This is fronted by the Bishop of Liverpool, Rt Revd Paul Bayes, who co-chairs the Commission alongside Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism 2012-2020. Bishop Paul also chairs the Ozanne Foundation, which is the organisation that is managing the initiative under the leadership of Jayne Ozanne, a member of the government’s LGBT+ Advisory Panel.
Speaking at the launch event, Rt Revd Paul Bayes said:
“Today is a landmark day in global faith and LGBT+ relations. For too long, religious teachings have been misused – and are still being misused – to cause deep pain and offence to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex. This must change, which is why we have joined forces to launch the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives which aims to provide a strong and authoritative voice amongst those who wish to affirm the sanctity of life and the dignity of all.”
The Declaration is now available online for all people of faith to sign. Speaking about the difference she hoped the Declaration would make, Director Jayne Ozanne said:
“We are encouraging all people of faith to sign this declaration, so that we can give a clear message to all countries that religious teaching does not tolerate prejudice and should never be used to endorse discrimination. Our hope is that LGBT+ people and their allies will share it with their own faith leaders and ask them to sign it too.”
The conference involves over 20 speakers from across the faiths and is being live streamed. It also features messages from the Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, the Argentinian Ambassador to Italy, HE Roberto Manuel Carles and the UN Independent Expert for Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz.
The opening Keynote speaker is Revd Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth – daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah. Mpho also features in the video. She is married to Marceline Tutu van Furth.
Explaining why she has become involved in the initiative she said:
“I am proud to be a Founding Member of the Commission. I know from personal experience the deep pain that can be caused by certain religious teachings. There are many LGBT+ people who suffer emotional hurt and physical violence to the point of death in countries across the world. For this reason, we are joining forces as faith leaders to say that we are all beloved children of God.”
The day ends with a private Celebration in Westminster Abbey for all the conference delegates, at which the Very Revd Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s will speak. The Celebration is being led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr David Hoyle.
NOTES FOR EDITORS