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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 2, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 44
Finding her religion
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Finding her religion

The Christian mother of a Gay son urges everyone to Approve R-74

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Since last June, Jeaneane Hill has spent several days per week standing on Northeast 45th Street, just outside the University of Washington entrance, spreading two clear messages: she is a Christian for marriage equality, and she is the proud mother of a Gay son.

'Our church has a statement about standing for justice: 'Jesus did, so do we,' said Hill.

Hill lives in a condo where she's not allowed to post political signs in her windows. To spread the Approve R-74 message to her neighbors, Hill began carrying her signs to and from her car.

'Then I started carrying my signs all over town,' said Hill. 'All the time.'

Hill has been an active participant in the Gay rights movement since her son, Troy, who will be 37 on Election Day, came out in 1993. When that happened, Hill said, in a sense she jumped into the closet.

'It's scary in there,' Hill told SGN. She feared the reaction from her fellow church members, but said she knew that Troy was the most important thing to her and saw forsaking her son as a 'greater sin' than forsaking her religion.

'There were people in [my] church that were supportive, but were afraid to break the church up,' Hill recalled. Hill explained that for many churches, whatever their personal politics may be, they're often part of a larger entity with its own rules. If a congregation doesn't follow those rules, they could lose not only a big part of their funding, but their church itself, because the building is often owned by the larger entity.

PFLAG TO THE RESCUE
However, Troy was there for her during his coming-out process just as much as she was for him. He offered her a pamphlet from Bellevue's chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

'I was looking for voices - they weren't in my church,' said Hill.

With the encouragement of her new friends at PFLAG, she changed churches, joining the LGBT-friendly University Congregational United Church of Christ. The coming-out process and her subsequent involvement in the Gay rights movement helped expand her focus to other problems in the world as well.

'It opened our eyes to all the injustice in the world,' said Hill of herself and her husband, Robert, who has since passed away. From health care to anti-war activism, the two became true activists.

In 1999, Hill was arrested at a protest for the first time. 'I could stand up and be arrested because I knew that my family, some of my church members, and the Gay community would support me,' Hill told SGN.

POSITIVE FEEDBACK
Hill said the response to her own visibility campaign for Approve R-74 has been mostly positive. She's also been active in her church, where she's helped to set up forums and an information table.

'You just find ways of trying to get the word out,' Hill told SGN. 'I'm not going to worry about my neighbor not liking me - it's the right thing to do.'

Hill carries two signs: An official Approve R-74 campaign sign and her own sign that reads 'Marriage equality for my Gay son' on one side and 'Another Christian for marriage equality' on the other. She also sports an Approve R-74 T-shirt and many campaign buttons.

'If we don't win, I'm not going away - and I'm not going away if we do win,' Hill told SGN. 'Even if I have to do this till I'm in the old folks' home, I'm doing it.'

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