Internationally Known Gay Cleric Voices Support for WorldPride Gay Festival in Jerusalem

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"We are coming to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is our Holy City, too," says the Reverend Dr. Troy D. Perry, founder of world's largest gay church group

An internationally-known gay cleric entered the debate over the upcoming WorldPride festival and parade in Jerusalem today, noting "We are deeply saddened that once again, religion has been used to attack God's gay and lesbian children." The Reverend Dr. Troy D. Perry, founder of the 43,000 member Metropolitan Community Churches, one of the world's largest predominantly gay organizations, voiced his strong support for the international gay event scheduled for Jerusalem in August 2005.

Perry, who is co-chair of an Interfaith Gay Clergy Conference to be held at WorldPride, said, "We are coming to Jerusalem. And we are coming with gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender clergy of many faith communities. Jerusalem is our Holy City, too."

On Thursday, Christian, Jewish and Moslem clerics in Israel denounced the WorldPride Festival, asking city officials to ban the observance.

"They have a right to their views," said Perry, "but they don't have a right to globalize their prejudice and infringe on the freedoms of others. True spiritual values are about inclusion and welcome, not attacks and threats."

Perry, a long time human rights activist, is the first openly gay person to serve on the Los Angeles Human Rights Commission and is a past delegate to the White House Conference on AIDS and the White House Conference on Hate Crimes. In 1998, he was one of 100 U.S. religious leaders honored at a White House breakfast by U.S. President Bill Clinton for their contributions to American society.

At a Thursday press conference in Israel, Rabbi Yehuda Levin, of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, called the festival "the spiritual rape of the Holy City," adding, "This is not the homo land, it is the Holy Land."

"The religious voices attacking World Pride are loud and shrill, but they are not representative of the growing spiritual movements that welcome gays and lesbians," said Perry.

"Thirty-six years of activism for gays and lesbians have taught me never to be intimidated by the voices of hate and ridicule and exclusion. They only make us stronger and more convinced in our work for equality. And this attack is no different," said Perry. "I'm inviting everyone I know to come to WorldPride with me in August."

"Many of us will be gathering in Jerusalem not only to celebrate gay pride, but also to celebrate our spiritual pride," said Perry. "We're coming as pilgrims to pay homage to the three faiths of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam that hold Jerusalem sacred."

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For More Information, Contact:

Jim Birkitt

MCC Communications Department

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Tel. (310) 360-8640

Fax (310) 360-8680

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