LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let's join together to support diversity of family bonds

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 | 2:57 p.m. CST

With oral arguments coming this week in the Glossip v. Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees' Retirement System case, the faith community has an opportunity to reaffirm that our support for families applies to everyone.

The Glossip case involves the tragic death of Dennis Engelhard, a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper killed in the line of duty on Christmas Day 2009.

Kelly Glossip was Engelhard's life partner for 15 years. During that time, they exchanged rings, owned a house together and jointly raised Glossip's son. They were a family in every meaningful way.

Glossip is now asking for the same death survivor benefits available to heterosexual spouses.

Members of the clergy understand the importance of families caring for each other during life's challenging times. The role of religion is to nurture and support families, fostering the circle of love wherever it is found.

To deny gay and lesbian couples basic protections threatens not only those families but our collective commitment to each other.

I urge the entire faith community to push outside its normal comfort zone to support the diversity of family bonds in this holiday season.

The Rev. Maureen A. Dickmann is a pastor at Rock Bridge Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

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