Brothers, as those who’ve been closely involved over the past two years already know, our Immediate Past Master, WB Bob Casey, led us last year to approve a new bylaw barring exclusion of candidates or expulsion of members, on the basis of their sexual orientation. MWB Art Borland, IPGM, approved this bylaw in January of this year. Then, he reversed himself in May of this year, and ordered us to present a resolution to rescind this bylaw he previously approved. Various reasons for this reversal have been offered by various members of the Grand Lodge, and its Jurisprudence Committee.
We presented such a resolution at June Stated, and voted upon it in July. Despite calls for compliance with the Grand Lodge order, offered by myself, as WM, as well as our SW and JW, the Lodge voted down this particular resolution to rescind our new bylaw. The consensus view of those Lodge members who’ve shown up to discuss this matter is that we want to ensure that men are not excluded from our Lodge, nor brought up on Masonic charges, because of they way they were born, nor for the normal and reasonable choices they may make based on how they were born. It is also our consensus view that, because the Oregon State Bar advises that an organization’s bylaws are precisely where non-discrimination provisions belong, this is where we want ours to be located, as well. It would be insufficient for a matter of this importance to be relegated to an unenforceable and easily ignored note in our minutes.
As a result, as part of our continuing effort to comply with the order from Grand Lodge to rescind our previously approved bylaw, our officers and members have met, discussed this matter at length, and agreed to propose to repeal our current bylaw, and simultaneously replace it with the following language:
“The fact of a man’s race, sexual orientation, or national origin, shall not be considered an aspect of his moral standing as a candidate or member of our Lodge.”
We believe this new language responds to the rationales which have been offered for why the currently approved bylaw must be rescinded.
We are working in active cooperation with MWB Myles McMillan, GM, towards reaching a good and properly Masonic resolution of all concerns related to this matter. If any Brother wishes to share a view on this all, please join us at any stated meeting, or feel free to contact me at any time, at (503) 750- 7505.