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CLAREMONT – Realizing your true sexual orientation as a lesbian in the mid-1970s could be trying. It could seem insurmountable to do so while at a seminary.
Superior Court Judge Martha E. Bellinger did just that. But the journey only made her stronger. She shares her moving life story in “From Robe To Robe: A Lesbian’s Spiritual Journey,” published by Trafford Publishing.
During her time in the parish ministry, Bellinger said she found the combination of separation from her partner and hiding in the closet to be emotionally intolerable. She also faced sexism as the first woman minister in her area of upstate New York.
Determined to succeed, Bellinger decided to move on to other academic and vocational pursuits, while her lesbian partner remained in the parish ministry for an additional year. After a year a part, the couple finally resumed daily life together and moved to California to begin law school.
Finally free of the challenges they faced on the East Coast, Bellinger and her partner pressed on to graduate from law school and enter the legal profession together as associates in an upscale law firm. But the future still held many challenges for the couple. Bellinger’s partner struggles with bisexuality. Bellinger herself is met with difficulty when she tries to garner a gubernatorial appointment to the state superior court as an open lesbian.
Bellinger’s sexuality challenged her with the same obstacles many other members of the LGBT community face. “From Robe to Robe” is an inspirational read for the LGBT community, proving that despite the current circumstances it is still possible to achieve your dreams. With experience in both the church and the state, Bellinger brings credentials and a unique outlook to the table.
Bellinger also shares her progressive Christian perspective that God created and loves gay and lesbian people and encourages the larger Christian community to do the same. She confronts the religious roots of homophobia while discussing the important gay rights issues of the day – same sex marriage and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy.
About the author
Martha E. Belllinger was ordained in the United Methodist Church and served as a pastor in upstate New York. She earned a juris doctorate from Whittier College School of Law and became a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. Bellinger and her spouse, Pam, live in Claremont.
Trafford Publishing is a book publisher for emerging, self-published authors. For more information, visit Trafford publishing.