Tuesday, March 08, 2016

GL of California Breaks With Georgia and Tennessee


From a message that was forwarded to me this morning:


March 7, 2016
To all Grand Lodges in amity with the Grand Lodge of California:
 
You might have read of recent events in Georgia and Tennessee where the Grand Lodges there have adopted new rules or enforced existing rules to discipline Masons because of their sexual orientation. 
The Grand Lodge of Georgia ratified Grand Master McDonald’s Edict No. 2015-4 at the last Annual Communication of their Grand Lodge, thereby adding the following language to their Grand Lodge law: homosexual activity with anyone subjects the offender to discipline. The Grand Lodge of Tennessee recently suspended two brothers from Masonry for violating a provision of the Tennessee Masonic Code when they posted photographs of their wedding to each other on Facebook. The Tennessee Masonic Code states that it is a Masonic offense to promote or engage in homosexual activity.
In each case, I construe these actions as a sectarian stand which is inconsistent with and does not support the General Regulations of Freemasonry. I have therefore suspended recognition of The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Georgia and the Grand Lodge of Tennessee F. & A. M. until the next Annual Communication of our Grand Lodge. 
I am happy to share with you further details about my decision, if you so desire. 
Sincerely and fraternally, 
M. DAVID PERRY
Grand Master

(Click image at top of page to enlarge.)

In addition, I have unsubstantiated information that a second Grand Lodge has withdrawn all official amity with these two states, apart from allowing individual visitation by Masons. I'm awaiting confirmation. 

52 comments:

  1. Well, here we go.

    I'm pleased by this news but I never expected it to actually happen. I hope more GLs follow suit.

    Wait, that's not entirely accurate. What I *really* hope is that TN and GA will realize the error of their ways and reform themselves, so recognition can be restored.

    Dave Brown
    Garden City Lodge, Newtonville, MA
    Grand Lodge of Massachusetts

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  2. Don't go away mad, just go away.

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  3. Congratulations to Grand Master Perry and the Grand Lodge of California for statesmanship, ethical leadership, and courage - earning a place in Masonic history. Worthy of your past and pointing us to the future...

    Bro, Paul Rich
    St,John's Lodge, Boston

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  4. Congratulations to Grand Master Perry and the Grand Lodge of California for statesmanship, ethical leadership, and courage - earning a place in Masonic history. Worthy of your past and pointing us to the future...

    Bro, Paul Rich
    St,John's Lodge, Boston

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  5. MWGM Perry,
    I am proud to call you my brother.
    Jon Porter, PhD, PM, PCC, 33*

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  6. A few members and other officers were discussing this topic after our stated meeting at the local pub, and we were wondering how this affected the concordant bodies (the Rites and Shrine) in those two states IF Grand Lodge decided to go down this road.

    And now they have. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

    Thank you, Brother Chris, for your updates through the blog. I enjoy reading your posts very much.

    - Brian M. Tatro
    Junior Warden
    Natoma Lodge #64, F. & A. M. of CA

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  7. Excellent news. That many Grand Lodges may follow California's lead. Thanks for keeping us posted, Chris.

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  8. Brother David Perry has earned a place for himself and his grand lodge in the canons of the Craft, and Brother Hodapp deserves praise for maintaining a free Masonic press in the face of those - shall I say possibly those former - grand lodges' attempts to stifle comment.

    Time to recognize Prince Hall in Georgia and Tennessee so brethren can affiliate with recognized grand lodges, and for the Scottish Rite to show some leadership too.

    And for other grand lodges to show they understand Masonry, as California has.

    Bro, Paul Rich

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  9. MWGM Perry and the Brethren,

    Of my own personal opinion you should reexamine your obligations...

    Bro. Wm. Robinson
    Fidelis #1127 of the MWGL of Texas AF&AM

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    Replies
    1. Wonderful, yet another Texas Mason reminding me of why I stopped attending lodge. Thanks, Brother.

      As a non-Christian and a Mason whose faith has nothing against gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people it is disgusting to see an organization I used to love promoting bigotry and hate through sectarian agendas.

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  10. To MWGM Perry of the MWGL of California F&AM and the Brethren:

    It is of my opinion that you should reassess your obligations brethren.

    Respectfully and Fraternally,

    Bro. Wm. Robinson
    Fidelis #1127 MWGL of Texas AF&AM

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    Replies
    1. @Bro. Robinson,

      I am sure many of us would be interested in you elaborating on what part of the obligations you are referring to for reexamination.

      - Brian M. Tatro
      Junior Warden
      Natoma Lodge #64, F. & A. M. of CA

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    2. I assume he cannot elaborate without injecting sectarian interpretation into our obligations. That's the real issue here, it's like a fish in a fishbowl, the last thing they recognize is the water that surrounds them. Similarly, people often don't recognize the cultural "water" that surrounds them in their own small fishbowl. Freemasonry, in its Universality, is supposed to look beyond these localized fishbowls of belief. Terms like "irreligious Libertine" (meant to be something we can all Universally recognize) are being interpreted in a sectarian manner, and this is contrary to our Fraternity.

      Fiat Lux,
      R. Peden
      Monroe Lodge #22, Bloomington, IN

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  11. The Grand Lodge of DC has apparently also withdrawn recognition. Have not seen the details yet.

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    Replies
    1. I keep hearing this, but until I actually see a document from the GM of DC, it's just a rumor.

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  12. While I agree with the premise, it does punish brothers in TN that do not agree with the actions of its grand lodge, and are looking for ways to stop it. Will the MWGM also offer asylum for brothers in those states to seek refuge if they do not agree with their GL?

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    Replies
    1. Nope, that's not the way this works.

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    2. Doing the right thing isn't always easy, and sometimes involves collateral damage. Those Masons in TN and GA that disagreed with the actions of their Grand Lodges will be fine, they still have each other to lean on. But the individual Masons in those jurisdictions who are being persecuted are mostly on their own, in TN their brethren can't even offer them support or they will be put on trial, too. This action, while extreme and not without negative consequences, was necessary as a show of support to our brethren in TN and GA who are being persecuted.

      Dave Brown
      Garden City Lodge, Newtonville
      Grand Lodge of Massachusetts

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  13. MWGM Perry and the Brethren,

    I am proud to be a Brethren of Cali#1 and fully support our MWGM Perry.

    Bro. S. Hansen
    Cali #1 of the MWGL of California

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  14. So a TN mason will have to demit then look to become affiliated with a lodge from a different state in order to be recognized again. As a TN mason I can say a majority of us disagree with actions put forth by the GL, but do not hold the power necessary at this point. Perhaps these actions will help persuade those who need persuading to make a decision for the good of the order.

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    1. If it truly is a majority of you that disagree with the GL, and I truly hope it is.. Then don't sell yourself short. You DO have the power. You have the power to vote to change the rules. You have the power to vote for state leaders that do not agree with the current rules. I it truly is a majority, you have the power a majority members to demand change.

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    2. Unfortunately, it's not that easy, but rest assured we are working on it..

      Delete
  15. Bear something in mind, Brethren. Members of the GL of CA have borne the brunt of public protests over GA and TN's actions. Their members have been publicly demonstrated against and they have been disinvited from public cornerstone ceremonies by local governments because of the actions taken, not in CA, but in other states. CA had little choice but to distance themselves from these other GL's actions, or face increased demonstrations and threats.

    Nowadays, what happens in a lodge or GL in one part of the country tars us all, not even just nationwide, but worldwide. That is what CA has been facing for months. GM Perry responded in what he regards are the best interests of his own members.

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  16. No longer are we living in the days when homosexuals were hounded and vilified, we should judge a brother for what he is as a man and s brother. sexual orientation and color should not be a bar to our fraternity, I know a few gay brothers who are great masons and who I am proud to call brother.

    WB Michael Mcinerney
    Estancia Lodge 33
    GL of NM.

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    Replies
    1. "No longer are we living in the days when homosexuals were hounded and vilified"

      Unfortunately, it appears you are wrong.

      Delete
  17. As unfortunate as this the decision was to enact this code it was not done without much debate and a close vote which came down to a head count. Being a traveling man from Georgia I now find myself unwanted, sad and alone as I am turned away and denied. I can only hope that our Grand Officers will confide in themselves as they do in their savior. For the God that I pray to and the God you pray to would never condemn a man for wanting to become a better man.

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    Replies
    1. I think you're indulging in a bit of melodrama. We have a number of sojourning brother sin our lodge who, if a disagreement led to them being unable to attend tyled meetings I would still partner with in community service and meet for drinks at the local watering hole.

      You are not unwanted, more than anything you are needed at this moment. Speak to the men who lead your grand lodge and let them know how this impacts you and whether or not you support their position.

      Delete
  18. "I think there is a deeper issue at stake here. Was the brother/s aware of any constitution, resolution or bylaw forbidding homosexuality when they took the obligations?"

    It makes no difference to me the orientation of a fellow brother. It does however make a difference to me and our fraternity to believe in and live by the obligations that we take. Those obligations are what binds our fraternity of brothers together.

    Was there a failure to educate?
    Was an obligation taken falsely?

    Two of a thousand questions that could be asked. To me it is much deeper than sexual orientation.

    Bro. J.D. Brumfield

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    Replies
    1. You sor have won me over. If one joins under false pretenses, doesn't that constitute deception and therefore dishonesty?

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    2. I would imagine that no one joined under false pretenses. The TN Masons who were expelled clearly did not hide their sexual orientation nor were being secret about it.

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    3. And you are privy to this information how? May I ask?

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    4. Well, because they say so, for one.

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    5. While sexual activity is in our code, it is rarely brought up during interviewing a candidate outside of issues such as adultery or sleeping with the female relative of another Mason.

      I know I didn't realize this section was in our code until right before I sat in the East.

      Rev. Derek W. White, PM
      Jackson Lodge #45
      Jackson, TN

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    6. My position is the Grand Lodge needs to review this section of our code and see if it should remain in it. It should be voted on at Grand Lodge and let the ballots fall where they may.

      As to this particular mason, I do not know if he joined under false pretenses and if is not my place to judge him in that matter,

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    7. Do you want this wording removed or left in? That is my question.

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  19. Here is my solution.

    http://genderandfreemasonry.blogspot.com

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  20. I couldn't be more proud to be a Californian Mason. 3x3 for Most Worship Perry.

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  21. I am overwhelmed by the reaction I myself have received from these posts. I came to light in my fortieth year of life. When my grandfather died his last words were 'tell Jeremy to close the circle'. Joining my lodge has been the greatest experience of my life. Before being a school principal, before being a 'political affiliation, before being a gay man - I am first and foremost a mason. I have learned and examined myself in all three degrees in open lodge. I am proud to call myself a mason and it saddens me others don't feel the same pride towards me. It's not Masonic to rally against a group of men. It's the internal not the external qualifications which make a man a mason. Are these just words?

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    Replies
    1. Sadly, for some within my Grand Lodge, they are just words. May you continue your journey to the Light as we all seek it.

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  22. This sad that many brethren feel "under the gun", so to speak, on topics like this. The GL of CA has made the correct move.

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  23. Is the GL of CA going to post this statement on their website? Or do we have to rely on news secondhand always? (Not a comment or jab at this site, just at the methods of dissemination between Lodges and bodies)

    E Morgan Huhn, Cincinnati #3, GLNJ

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  24. Does anyone know what this means for Mason's who are members of these Grand Lodges in these jurisdictions who may want to travel to lodges in those states?

    Rev. Derek W. White, PM
    Jackson Lodge #45
    Jackson, TN

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    Replies
    1. I suggest you contact your Grand Secretary for this information. Everybody else is just airing their opinion.

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  25. Only in California can someone be so stupid. You took an oath to be a just and upright Man and Mason and the oath with you hand on the Holy Bible and you even declared that you (BELIEVED in a supreme being) so why are you going against his word. Sound like you think you are better then GOD. Only a man can think like that not a true Mason. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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  26. You confirmed that you believed in a supreme being and then took an oath on the Holy Bible and was to be a just and upright man and mason. Now you want to think that the GOD of the Holy Bible is dumb and you are smarter then him. Only in California will a man think he is better then GOD. Why don't you just demit and become a non mason as you are acting like one. Get a life and do right.

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  27. I'm sure that both Grand Lodges will survive without recognition from California. Congratulations to both on confirming the practice of homosexuality is NOT moral and upright before G-d.

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  28. cmouse wrote "the practice of homosexuality is NOT moral and upright before G-d."

    Someone (that would be YOU, Brother) is confused about the core of the Craft: Freemasonry is not now, nor has it ever been, hostage to any particular conception of "G-d". The moment that you try to claim that YOUR particular deity approves or disapproves of something, you have just been un-Masonic.

    YOUR morality (Judeo-Christian of a specific sect) may think that "homosexuality is not moral and upright before G-d", but that is a matter for YOUR religion; it matters not one bit to Freemasonry. It's no more relevant to the Fraternity than YOUR sect's particular dietary laws, or doctrines regarding salvation, or views on the place of women; it's IRRELEVANT to Freemasonry.

    In short: it's not about YOU and YOUR religious beliefs. It's about the Fraternity, and there is nothing in Freemasonry that impinges upon a person's sexuality or vise-versa. I defy you to try to show otherwise.

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    1. As a 43 year member of my Blue Lodge under the Grand Lodge of NY, I remember brothers using similar logic to argue that Black men could not petition for EA as they were not free-born. The guiding spirit of our noble fraternity is that all men, regardless of race or sexual orientation, are equal in the mind of the G.A.O.T.U. I'm confident that this issue will be resolved in a manner reflecting Masonry's illustrious history.

      Bobby Vandenbush
      Fairport-Flower City #476 F&AM
      32 Degree Scottish Rite, Valley of Dallas

      Delete

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