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Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton papers
    Dates: 1952-2008, (bulk 1999-2003)
    Collection Number: MS0006
    Creator/Collector: Barnett, Jeanne Charlton, Ellie Fado, Don
    Extent: 2 linear feet (3 boxes)
    Repository: Center for Sacramento History
    Sacramento, California 95811
    Abstract: The Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton papers relate to the Holy Union Service performed at the Sacramento Community Theater on January 16, 1999. The files are divided into five series: Series 1. Holy Union, Series 2. Personal, Series 3. Photographs, Series 4. Artifacts, and Series 5. Oversize. Within the collection are correspondence (letters, cards, and printed e-mails), newspaper articles, photographs, audio and video tapes, lapel pins, buttons, badges, scrapbooks, plaques, ephemera, personal information, promotional material, material relating to Jeanne Barnett's memorial service, and two purple jackets worn at the Holy Union Service. The Oversize series contains newspaper and magazine articles relating to the Holy Union service. Some material provided dates; for other material the date is unknown.
    Language of Material: English


    The collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton papers, MS0006, Center for Sacramento History

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired from Ellie Charlton, 2009 (Accession #2009/007).

    Biography/Administrative History

    The United Methodist Church amended their Social Principals in 1996 to say that same sex union shall not be conducted by Methodist clergy. In 1998 the church further ruled that clergy could be held accountable for conducting same sex unions and could be dismissed from the ministry. Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton had been together for fifteen years and were both active members of the United Methodist church; Barnett had been elected lay leader of the regional conference, the highest elected (and clerical) position in the conference, and Charlton served as a member of the conference board of trustees. Together, they started an after-school program at their local church. Their Holy Union was performed in Sacramento in January 1999 and was coordinated by Rev. Don Fado, who asked more than 100 retired or near-to-retirement clergy in the conference if they would stand with him to perform the service. The service may have been an act of ecclesiastical disobedience for the approximately 68 clergy involved, but Fado felt he was, in fact, being obedient to his calling in uniting this couple.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton papers consists of two linear feet. The Holy Union Series contains e-mail correspondence in preparation for the service, the service's invitation and program, and congratulatory greeting cards. The folder "Church Involvement" contains a history of homosexuality/homophobia compiled by the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, correspondence, meeting minutes, and newsletters outlining the background of the Sacramento St. Mark's United Methodist Church's position on the issue of Holy Union services for same-gender couples, and documents relating to the "Sacramento 68" clergy who participated in the Holy Union, including "Why We Officiated at a Service of Holy Union" and an edited version of the oral statement given by Rev. Don Fado to the Committee on Investigation in 2000.
    The Personal Series consists of individual information for both Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton, including Charlton's marriage announcement and divorce agreement, Barnett's birth and death certificates, a dissolution of property agreement for Barnett and Charlton, articles for publications written by Barnett and by Charlton, information on the Lazarus Award presented to Barnett, and cards of consolation written following Barnett's death. An additional folder contains information about the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Holy Union after Barnett's death. Also included are materials relating to traveling the two women did together and for a house concert performed by Judy Fjell in 1986.
    The Oversize series contains newspaper and magazine articles relating to the Holy Union and same sex marriage.
    The Artifacts Series is composed of a scrapbook (containing memorabilia from travels and events attended), audio and video tapes, lapel pins, buttons, badges, a plaque presented to Barnett and Charlton from the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, the Lazarus Project plaque presented in 2000, and the 1994 Bishop's Award presented to Barnett by the United Methodist Church, San Francisco Area California-Nevada Conference.
    The Photographs Series contains photographs from the Holy Union service and reception, and photos of the activities outside the Sacramento Community Theater; photographs from Barnett's church memorial service and reception; and various photographs of the two women.

    Indexing Terms

    Same-sex marriage
    Methodist Church