In 1998, a coalition of affirming congregations in Indianapolis began sponsoring annual Prayer gatherings at the Indiana Statehouse to dramatize the need for justice for the GLBT community; by the third year the gathering included fifteen faith organizations as sponsors.
After the third gathering in 2000, representatives from the sponsoring congregations decided to form a standing coalition that would work systematically year round to unite people of faith in their support of equal rights for GLBT community.
From the twenty-three faith communities who originally guided the work of The Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination , ICON continues to add faith communities and individual members throughout the state . We have worked throughout the state with individuals and organizations to bring a faith based voice to end discrimination of Gays,Lesbians, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered, Questioning and Intersexed individuals.
The members of ICON believe that lasting progress toward justice for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) Hoosiers is not possible without including the voice from faith institutions that choose not to discriminate.
ICON’s members include individuals, families, institutions, and faith communities. The Board of Directors meets regularly and is comprised of representatives from the founding faith communities
ICON is an organization of people of faith who are concerned about the consequences of intolerance against sexual and gender minorities. Particularly, we are concerned about religious intolerance and lack of acceptance of God’s diversity. Our purpose is to create positive change through education and social action, so that gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersexed, and transgendered people will be able to live in peace and equality.
Examples of ICON at work include educating legislators, coordinating dignified and responsible social action, and providing resources for churches, mosques, synagogues and faith communities who wish to enter into the dialog regarding religious and spiritual tolerance.
Communities of Faith Continue to Support Marriage Equality
From the faith perspective 9 denominations publicly affirm same sex marriage: 6 have no policy and individual congregations decide, 2 have policy blessing same sex unions, and hundreds of independent churches support marriage equality. Indiana is home to these faith communities.. legislators need to know.
One Doesn’t Have to Lose Faith .. Many faith communities do not discriminate
Many faith communities and denominations have publicly declared their inclusion (as a denomination) of GLBT: Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) United Church of Christ (UCC), Unitarian Universalists, Unity, Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative Judaism, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Certain Quaker sects perform same sex marriages as well as ordination (or equivalent) of openly gay individuals. (Note: individual congregations in some of these may not be as inclusive). Episcopal, Presbyterian, and certain Buddhist and Muslim sects bless same sex unions and have no restrictions on ordination.
Locally ,The Church Within has for over 20 years also included GLBTQI in ordination and blessings of unions.
And for those denominations who have yet to make that decision, Disciples of Christ churches are regional in including GLBT to marriage, unions, and ministry. Disciples have an intentional process called Open and Affirming, which publicly delineates that congregation as including.
In the same vein, United Methodists have Reconciling Ministries : congregations go through the process and vote themselves Reconciling. (Unlike the Disciples, the UMC has no allowance for blessing of unions or marriage- (and has expressly prohibited minsters to perform any blessing of unions or same sex marriage, and prohibits their church buildings use for such.)
As with all faith communities, there are denominations mentioned whose book of discipline or denominational guidelines consider homosexuality as unnatural or against laws of G-d. Moreover there are individual congregations who work tirelessly for inclusion.