Earlier this month I notified the masters and wardens of our constituent lodges that I suspended recognition of the Grand Lodge F&AM of the State of Georgia and the Grand Lodge of Tennessee F&AM. These grand lodges recently adopted new rules or exercised existing rules to discipline Masons because of their sexual orientation.
I suspended recognition of these grand lodges for two reasons. First, their actions are a violation of the General Regulations of Freemasonry. Second, their actions threaten the reputation and good standing of our grand lodge. In late February, I met in person and separately with the grand masters of Masons in Georgia and Tennessee. In these meetings, I learned firsthand what was occurring in their jurisdictions. I also used these meetings to explain how the actions of these grand lodges were affecting the Grand Lodge of California. I based my actions on what I learned in these meetings.
The actions of these grand lodges violate the General Regulations of Freemasonry because they impose a particular religious (if not also political) view on the fraternity. This particular view is not one on which all men in this country agree. No regular grand lodge may do this. Andersonâ€™s Constitutions of 1723 and the requirements for recognition make this clear. All grand lodges are sovereign, but under our California Masonic Code, each must adhere to the General Regulations for us to recognize them. Further, the actions of one sovereign grand lodge can affect other grand lodges, as has happened in these instances.
Within weeks of the actions by these grand lodges, the Grand Lodge of California was the focus of protests and our community partners began to question their association with Freemasonry. Protests took place in front of our Grand Lodge building during the World Conference, at public facilities where we were conducting ceremonies, and at schools and universities where we have established important programs. Our grand lodge was disinvited to public activities as a result.
Believing that something is wrong, but being reluctant to do anything about it, subjects Freemasonry to a certain understandable scrutiny by Masons and the public. In suspending recognition of these grand lodges, we make it clear that the actions of these grand lodges are wrong and that the Grand Lodge of California does not condone these actions.
Conditions of these suspensions of recognition and instructions to California Masons are available on freemason.org: Visit the References folder within the Resources and Publications section of the Member Center.
Sincerely and fraternally,
M. David Perry