The case for LGBT acceptance resonates among evangelical leaders

As the Supreme Court nudges closer to another landmark decision on marriage equality in the US, religious leaders across the nation continue (or in many cases, begin) to engage in conversations of LGBT acceptance. One man may have just made that conversation a little bit easier for evangelical leaders.

Tony Campolo, an influential progressive evangelical pastor and leader of the Red-Letter Christian movement, released a statement yesterday calling for the church to exercise full inclusion of LGBT couples.

It has taken countless hours of prayer, study, conversation and emotional turmoil to bring me to the place where I am finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church.

Campolo's statement gives Evangelicals a name and face to go along with Gallup Poll's prolifically referenced data revealing that the most profound thing that can impact one's views on LGBT issues is whether someone personally knows a person who is LGBT. Campolo writes:

One reason I am changing my position on this issue is that…I have come to know so many gay Christian couples whose relationships work in much the same way as our own. Our friendships with these couples have helped me understand how important it is for the exclusion and disapproval of their unions by the Christian community to end. We in the Church should actively support such families.

Campolo certainly isn't the only one attempting to bridge "the gay divide" in evangelical circles.

Matthew Vines, who has previously partnered with GLAAD to uplift the voices of gay Christians, is the founder of The Reformation Project, a Bible-based and gospel-centered grassroots movement to train Christians to support and affirm LGBT people in their congregations and their lives. Last month, Vines met with influential conservative evangelicals in California with hopes of engaging in productive discussion of the state of LGBT inclusion in the church. With evangelicals making up one-fourth of the US population, Vines, author of "God and the Gay Christian", hopes to influence the way this sizable religious community interacts with the LGBT community. Vines met with evangelical leaders at Biola University in La Mirada, California to discuss gay rights and what it is that the Bible truly says about homosexuality. While no literal mountains may have been moved during their dialogue, the earnest debate that ended in each participant calling one another "brothers in Christ" seems to have begun to push the figurative mountain remaining in the way of full LGBT acceptance in evangelical circles.

With nascent ally voices like that of Campolo coupled with the refined advocacy from people like Vines, the arch of the evangelical community indeed now slowly curves towards LGBT acceptance.

You too can join Campolo and thousands of others in showing your support as an LGBT ally in the church. Join GLAAD's "Got Your Back" campaign to add your voice to the call for LGBT acceptance in your religious community!

GLAAD is proud to amplify the voices of LGBT-affirming communities of faith and LGBT people of faith through our Religion, Faith & Values Program. The program has successfully coordinated press conferences for religious leaders who speak out in support of LGBT issues and has secured national and religious media interest in stories that bring examples of LGBT equality in faith communities to Americans. The program has trained openly LGBT and LGBT-supportive ministers, faith groups and individuals from a wide range of religions to share their stories in their local congregations and throughout mainstream media.