Delegates approve Article II bylaw changes

GA delegates voted Saturday afternoon on changes to Article II—the Principles and Purposes––of the UUA bylaws. Delegates authorized changing Section C-2.3, the paragraph titled “Non-discrimination.” The change deletes that paragraph, replacing it with a paragraph titled “Inclusion.”

The new language is as follows:

We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons and commit to structuring congregational and associational life in ways that empower and enhance everyone’s participation. Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities and histories. We pledge to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect.

Several delegates expressed concern about losing the non-discrimination clause, until being reassured it would remain. Delegates voted overwhelmingly for the change.

The change does not take effect for another year. Delegates will be required to vote for the change at GA 2014 before it would take effect. In the meantime the original version remains in effect.

  • kalisiin

    The non-discrimination clause will remain in the G Section of the bylaws, which can be amended in one year. There was concern about keeping language in the non-discrimination clause regarding not requiring adherence to any particular interpretation of religion, nor adherence to any particular belief or creed.

    I was the Delegate who spoke concerning the lack of inclusion of gender identity in the existing Non-Discrimination Clause. It is my understanding that the Non-Discrimination clause, for this year, will now exist in two places within our bylaws:

    In the current location – Section C-2-3. This is what was proposed to be replaced with the Inclusivity Clause. This passed in 2013…with the understanding that it would not be final until it passes vote in 2014.

    It also now exists, to my understanding in the G Section of the bylaws…and will remain there even after Section C-2-3 is replaced next year by the Inclusivity Clause. Because it is now in the G Section, it is my understanding that it can now be amended in one year – and it is my intent to have the addition of gender identity to the non-discrimination clause become an item on the Tentative Agenda for GA 2014.

    Angela Bridgman
    Delegate from Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Poconos, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

  • kalisiin

    My understanding was correct.
    I have been in contact with Harlan Limpert, the COO of the UUA.

    The Non-Discrimination Clause currently appears at two places in our bylaws. The current location C-2.3. is the one which will be replaced next year with the Inclusivity Clause. This was what we voted on at GA 2013 – and which will be finalized at GA 2014.

    Meanwhile, the Non-Discrimination Clause also exists as Rule G-2.3. – and it will remain there even after the vote in 2014 replaces C-2.3. with the Inclusivity Clause. So the language of non-adherence will remain.

    However, the Non-Discrimination Clause, as it now exists, at Rule G-2.3. does not include gender identity or gender expression. Because the Non-Discrimination Clause is now a G-Rule, it can be amwended in one year.

    I have now begun the process of preparing petitions to have this item placed on the Tentative Agenda for GA 2014. My petition asks for the addition of “gender identity or expression” into the covered classes of the Non-Discrimination Clause, and leaves all else in it unchanged.

    I find it somewhat ironic – UUA just last year used Shareholder Advocacy to get Verizon to add “gender identity” as a protected class in their corporate policy…yet, we at the UUA have not yet done the same thing!

    Of course, my seventeen years as a UU tells me that doing so in 2014 is only an update of our bylaws to reflect the actual reality – UUA and every UU congregation of which I have been a member, or to whom I have been a visitor – has shown me nothing but love, support, and affirmation as a transgender person. And the number of congregations this encompasses is now up to ten.

    My current Congregation UUFP in Stroudsburg, PA
    My previous Congregation – Wildflower UU in Austin, TX
    Prior to that, First UU in Austin, TX
    Prior to that, First UU in Louisville, KY
    And the original UU chuch I joined 17 years ago, UUCLV in Bethlehem, PA

    Additionally, I have visited UU congregations in
    North Carolina
    Fayetteville, Sandhills, and Eno River

    New Jersey
    Montclair

    Illinois
    Oak Park

    And I will be visitng many more congregations in the upcoming months, as I take my Petition around, locally, to neighboring congregations. But, for me, I will say I never felt such love, support, and affirmation as I did at GA, when I spoke to this issue. It was made very clear to me that UUA wants this change to happen.

    I have decided to make it my mission to have it happen.

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