*Sorry for the spacing issues. I copied these from my inbox and for whatever reason, no matter what I try, the spacing is off.
Well, this ‘I’m Sorry’ Campaign has officially hit craziness. 100% of yesterday was spent fielding media requests, doing interviews and writing transparently to skeptics about The Marin Foundation. In the coming days/weeks, I will be posting all of my email exchanges to the skeptics out there for you to read as well.
Yesterday I posted that three super duper popular bloggers strongly critiqued The Marin Foundation and our work. I emailed all of them directly, and two of them repsonded to me via personal email, Hemant Mehta from Friendly Atheist and Dan Savage from the Slog. Andy Towle from Towleroad has not responded at all. Two quick notes though: First, I want to be very clear that the positive emails/notes/Facebooks/etc we have gotten from this Campaign far, far, far outweigh the negative. Second, I was so humbled that there were so many people who came to our defense on each of the negative blog posts. We at the Foundation were floored!
I will start by posting the questions and responses I had with Dan (and the reason I am posting these emails is because they are written as public statements that Dan has permission to post as well):
I reached out to Dan by saying:
This is Andrew Marin, President of The Marin Foundation. Thanks for your posts. I just wanted to reach out and let you know how real all of what we’re doing is. No matter what Signorile says, we’re not an ex-gay organization, I am not rich, and the Advocate took the article off their website years ago because the people quoted in that article made public statements saying they never said any of what was quoted
– and I have those if you would like to see them (this is why the only pace you can find that article is on freelibrary.com
and not on the actual Advocate site). I would love to be open and honest with you about whatever questions you might have. I’ve got nothing to hide, no matter what anyone might say. And there are a ton of LGBT people in Chicago, and around the country (Christian, non-Christian, partnered, etc) who know us personally and would 100% back us up.
I posted this today:
And if you read the comments on the actual blogs, like the Towleroad post, you will see a lot of LGBT people not only sticking up for us, but vouching that we’re the opposite of anything Signorile says – just like they did 4 years ago. We’re not just talk. We’re a movement of people committed to reconciliation.
Hope to talk soon.
Dan wrote back saying:
i am filing something on a deadline — will get to this, and post your letter, late today.
do you support marriage equality?
do you support gay people adopting children?
do you support gay people being able to serve openly in the military?
no theological questions—just political. not asking you if you think i’m a sinner (like fornicators, divorced folks, etc.), only if you think that gay people deserve full equality under the law or not.
I responded with:
Thanks for the quick reply Dan. The Marin Foundation works to build these bridges between two dichotomized communities of people. We partner very closely with organizations such as LGBT Change (an equality marriage organization based here in Chicago) the same that we partner with Willow Creek Community Church. Both are coming from different ends of the spectrum, yet each are an important group of people that need reconciliation. Within The Marin Foundation, we have LGBT people (Christian, non-Christian, partnered, celibate) both on staff and in our volunteer base. We model this reconciliation with ourselves first (reconciliation being defined as: a group of people with differing social, political and theological ideologies coming together to do significant things in today’s secular and religious cultures). Therefore The Marin Foundation does not have political stances because we are comprised of every shade of faith and sexuality – political and theological.
Also, I never answer yes/no questions. Here’s why:
(this is a video interview I did back in October 2009 for a Christian youth-worker organization…I’m the first one to speak)
We’re here to elevate the conversation. That doesn’t mean dodge the conversation, that just means that there must be more to reconciliation than 1 word answers. With that said, one of the things that the broader conservative Church gets very wrong when it comes to this topic, is that there is a confusion by living within a government that separates church and State. The part that gets overlooked by much of evangelicalism is that church and State are independent entities of each other and should be treated as such.
Looking forward to talking more.
Dan replied with:
sorry, i wasn’t asking the Marin Foundation to take a political stance. i’m asking you what your stance is.
if a ban on gay marriage was on the ballot, you would vote… yes or no? ban it or not?
sorry, andrew, but this is a time when people have to stand up and be counted. you can’t sit on the sidelines. this is a civil rights struggle. on one side, equality. on the other side, discrimination and disenfranchisement.
Then I replied with:
Thanks for the clarification. Here you go:
I have already publicly stated that I believe LGBT people should be allowed to openly serve in the military (
) and in a talk I gave recently at the University of Illinois I said publicly that I’m in favor of LGBT adoption – as many of my gay friends have already adopted. As for gay marriage, no matter what anyones opinion (including the conservative Church world) the country is moving in the direction of full marriage equality. I totally believe it will happen much sooner than later. My role in this is to use my influence to model peaceful and productive dialogue, shifting paradigms away from the culture war and onto wholistic living. My message to the church, regardless of political viewpoint, is that when
gay marriage happens, it will then be the church’s job to focus on living in relation to, and relationship with; instead of just keeping the “fight” going. Proactive reaction in shifting these paradigms is what I’m all about. And so is everyone in my organization, who some would vote yes, and some would vote no.
On a very personal note, I stood up in my gay best friend’s commitment ceremony a few years ago and I have attended a number of LGBT wedding ceremonies (including the most recent legal marriage ceremony of a good friend in Iowa). And both of those couples have kids! To me, love is a tangible word. That is just a small part of how I unconditionally live it out.
Here is a recent comment posted on Friendly Atheist by a gay, married man Jon, who is a good friend, defending me personally:
“Andrew’s a good guy and is definitely on our side. He traveled to Iowa City and attended my wedding with his wife when my husband and I got legally hitched this past January. The Marin Foundation is a Christian organization, but it’s nothing like the 95% of the Christian groups out there. He’s interested in trying to reduce the culture war static. He’s also interested in making the church more friendly for GLBT folks who are seeking a place there. But, really he’s just trying to get the Christian community to reduce their rhetoric and relax on the gay stuff.”
so you would vote against a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, if it were on the ballot?
Then I followed up by saying:
I appreciate your fortitude on this and so very clearly understand your passion – as I see and live with that passion everyday closely through my LGBT friends and those in the Boystown neighborhood where I live. I said what I said in the previous emails and that is where, as the leader of The Marin Foundation, we, and I stand regarding gay marriage, adoption and openly serving in the military. Please watch the video link I sent you as to why I still will not answer yes/no questions with one word yes/no answers.
And that was all that was said. I hope Dan posts this conversation on his blog as well, as he said he would. We’ll see what happens…