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Let the Real Healing Begin
A Call to Dialogue by the Bridges-Across Steering Committee
Toward an International Discussion of Homosexuality
Abstract
Dialogue
Schools 
AIDS  
Families 
Campus  
Friendship 
Education 
Ex-gays  
Truth
 

Romer Commission Report
 

Steering Committee 
 
 

Appendix A:  "Justice and Respect: Our position and direction" 
 

Appendix B:  "The Bible and Dialogue" 
 

Discussion of the Romer Commission Report on Same Sex Relationships (RCR-SSR)

The Romer Commission Report on Same Sex Relationships (RCR-SSR) was released in July 1998.  On September 22,  Mary Heathman, Director of Where Grace Abounds, an Exodus Affiliate in Denver, participated in a press conference which announced the release of a 300 page response to the RCR-SSR.

Denver Post, 9/23/98:

Sept. 23 - Gov. Roy Romer's commission report calling for the registration of same-sex relationships is a "declaration of war on the traditional family,'' a coalition of religious groups charged Tuesday.
The coalition, led by Colorado for Family Values, released a report blasting Romer's study and saying that legalizing samesex relationships "dethrones the sanctity of marriage and invites a cultural war of astronomical proportions.''

...

The coalition's report also says that the high statistics on gay youth suicides are a myth and that gay parents are harmful to their children. The report also includes copies of advertisements for socalled ex-gay ministries. The ads recently ran in several national newspapers.

Including CFV and the Christian Coalition, the group also included American Family Association of Colorado, American Jewish Assembly of Colorado, Colorado Eagle Forum, Concerned Women of America, Exodus-Where Grace Abounds, and Family First.

In B-A, we distinguish between pro-ex-gay and anti-gay.  Heathman, who preceded John Paulk as the chair of the board of Exodus International, had participated in a press conference which was anti-gay.  That, along with Tom's decision to appear in a TV commercial which we expected pro-gay people would perceive as anti-gay, caused considerable stress within Bridges-Across.

Mike Airhart, a B-A steering committee member who is webmaster for both the Men's Rape Prevention Project and the Gays for God websites, posted  messages titled "I am Hurt" and "The Two Faces of Exodus." Maggie Heineman, webmaster for B-A, wrote to Heathman asking for a copy of her statement and an explanation of why she had participated in the press conference. 
 

Mary Heathman:

The response was a call to discourse on five issues over which our state is in conflict.

My participation was for two reasons: 

1)  I want public discourse on this issue. We must have it to get all the issues on the table, to get a composite of the real facts and stats surrounding the battle of gay rights, and 

2) I am increasingly distressed by the way the voice of conservatives is being shut down, and former homosexuals ridiculed and maligned. Visibility for our ministry is one way we can gain a voice in  this whole process.

Maggie Heineman:
I too am concerned that former homosexuals are ridiculed and maligned. However, I believe they bring this on themselves when they allow homophobic, anti-gay groups to develop the soundbites which make their journeys known.  I expect Tom and Donna Cole to be ridiculed and maligned for their appearance in the television commericial. I wrote my opinion of all this in my photo-essay, "Like Poison Ivy Overrunning Maples" a reaction to the group photo ad. It's a deeply personal essay because I watched as that picture was taken and several of my friends are in the picture.
Mary Heathman is sending material from the September 23 press conference to Bridges-Across. Since these are press releases and in the public domain, we will upload them to our site.  The RCR-SSR is already online. 

Romer Commission Report on Same Sex Relationships:

While members hope that the Commission's Recommendations will be implemented, the primary intent of the Report is to help stimulate thoughtful and informed public discourse among Coloradans.
Mike Airhart:
The [response to Romer] included personal and straw-man attacks that the coalition's leaders knew would stop the supposedly sought-after dialogue before it started.
Mary Heathman:
I understand that is what B-A is hoping to do. This effort broadened into the public arena is what I would welcome. I donít know if the other people participating in last week's press conference want this, but that is my heart.
Maggie Heineman:
Colorado is an opportunity.  Even if the coalition groups are hypocritical about wanting discourse (SoulForce principles tell me not to question motives), Mary is not hypocritical.  I trust Mary from hearing her speeches, reading her newsletters, from what Melanie told me back in summer 1997, from the trust that Carla, Sonia, and Tom have in her, and from my own private correspondence with her.
Ken McPherson:
At moments when we are uncomfortable to the point anger, can we remain bridgerly? Can sideB people understand that, from a scientific perspective, pathologizing homosexuality is indeed backward in thinking without leaving the table? Can I as an well-adjusted gay man accept that some people believe my very nature to be sin and still work with them to build a  bridge? It is in our ability to overlook our disagreements that this project will succeed or fail.
RCR-SSR:
On March 4, 1998, the Commission held five public hearings in Denver, Edwards, Grand Junction, Greeley, and Pueblo to provide citizens with the opportunity to share their insights and experiences with the Commission.  Approximately 450 people attending these hearings. The unedited transcript of the testimony of more than 100 individuals who spoke is available by contacting the Governorís Office. It can also be reviewed on the Internet through the Governorís Office homepage at http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/governor_office.html
Vision
All sides say that they want public discourse. Bridge-Across Web Forums are ideally suited for discussion about complicated issues.   We have learned how to establish relationships first, so that we can listen to each other and continue to find areas of agreement despite strong disagreements on very important matters. The RCR-SSR, the unedited transcripts, and the 9/22/98 press releases provide a wealth of material from which to identify the common ground upon which to build respect and trust.

URLs
Romer Commission Report on Same Sex Relationships
http://governor.state.co.us/gov_dir/govnr_dir/ssreport/ssreport.htm


Trust
The bottom line is trust. At Bridges-Across we have learned to trust each other. We invite you to join in developing respectful relationships for creative action wherever the divide appears.  That is our vision.
 

VISION
All sides say that they want public discourse. Bridge-Across Web Forums are ideally suited for discussion about complicated issues.  We have learned how to establish relationships first, so that we can listen to each other and continue to find areas of agreement despite strong disagreements on very important matters. The RCR-SSR, the unedited transcripts, and the 9/22/98 press releases provide a wealth of material from which to identify the common ground upon which to build respect and trust.
TRUST
The bottom line is trust. At Bridges-Across we have learned to trust each other. We invite you to join in developing respectful relationships for creative action wherever the divide appears.  That is our vision..
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