For Immediate Release
More than 2,200 faith leaders from Across the Country Express Their Support in an Open Letter
(NRLR), convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, gathered
today on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, where they sent a strong
and unified call of support for the freedom to marry. They were joined
by local faith leaders to amplify the message of treating all
California citizens equally under the law. Californians will vote Nov.
4 on Proposition 8, an initiative aimed at eliminating the fundamental
right of same-sex couples to marry.
"Faith leaders are called to stand up when anyone is marginalized
and to look to those core values of love and justice when determining
how to act responsibly. It is wrong for same-sex couples to be singled
out and treated differently by taking away their fundamental right to
marry. The Task Force is proud of its work, through the NRLR, in
support of those loving same-sex couples who wish to affirm their
relationships through marriage," says the Rev. Darlene R. Nipper,
deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
During the press conference today, it was also announced that 2,200
ordained clergy from more than 50 faith traditions and every state in
the U.S. have endorsed the Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Marriage Equality,
a call for recognition of civil and religious marriages for same-sex
couples. The letter, sponsored by the Religious Institute on Sexual
Morality, Justice, and Healing, states that the "biblical call to
justice and compassion (love neighbor as self) provides the mandate for
marriage equality. We find support for marriage equality in scripture
and tradition in their overriding messages about love, justice, and
inclusion of the marginalized. ... As religious leaders, we believe
that all persons have the right to lead lives that express love,
justice, mutuality, commitment, consent and pleasure, including but not
limited to civil and religious marriage." The open letter ends with a
powerful statement: "The faiths we affirm challenge us to speak and act
for justice for all who seek to express their love in the commitment of
The Rev. William G. Sinkford, president of the Unitarian
Universalist Association of Congregations, made a call to preserve
marriage equality in California, saying, "Unitarian Universalists know
from experience the many blessings that same-sex couples and their
families bring to our congregations and communities. ... If we're serious
about promoting ‘family values,' we must do all we can to support
families who seek the rights and responsibilities that can only come
with legal marriage."
The Rev. John H. Thomas, general minister and president of the
United Church of Christ, said in a statement, "The General Synod of the
United Church of Christ, through sound biblical and theological
reflection over many years, has affirmed the full dignity, humanity,
and worth of all persons regardless of sexual orientation, an
affirmation grounded in our creation in the image of God. ... Many, if
not most of our congregations, include same-sex couples who are models
to us of family life. We have opposed discrimination in civil society
and we believe that public policy should be informed by faith, but not
controlled by the religious teachings of any one denomination or
tradition in our pluralistic society."
"Spiritual leaders have long advocated that spirits and human beings
are equal. Spiritual leaders have long advocated against injustice in
any form," says Patricia Kevena Fili, National Religious Leadership
Roundtable member and vice president of the Pagan Alliance. "In this
light, many multi-faith leaders and leaders of justice joyfully
proclaim that everyone has the right to marry the person of their
choice. The denial of such a basic right is clearly unjust. Community
and national leaders have come together to praise spirit and justice in
the issue of marriage equality."
The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, an interfaith network
of leaders from pro-LGBT faith, spiritual and religious organizations
convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was meeting in San
Francisco, Calif., for its biannual gathering.
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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement's premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.