Finding Your Voice
Section 1: from People of Faith Speak Out!
Whether or not their faith celebrates lesbian and gay relationships, faith leaders have begun speaking out on behalf of the civil right to marry. One reason is that marriage equality is simply a social justice issue — a matter of treating people fairly and equally. Marriage also helps to support loving and committed families, thereby building a better foundation for community. Below are some talking points to explain why you support marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples. Feel free to use or elaborate on these points or develop your own.
Why do you as a person of faith support marriage equality?
- I believe in full equality for lesbian and gay couples, including equality in marriage.
- I support marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples because it is a moral, social justice issue.
- Marriage provides a safety net of protections and benefits that same-sex couples are habitually denied: including rights to hospital visitation, medical decision-making, eligibility for employee benefit programs including health insurance and retirement pensions, and over 1,000 others.
- Lesbian and gay couples need the protections of marriage particularly for the sake of their children, since marriage also impacts parental and custody rights.
Why is it important for people of faith to speak out?
- People of faith need to speak out to show that we support full civil rights for lesbian and gay couples, no matter how any particular religion addresses the issue of same-sex relationships.
- People of faith have traditionally stood at the front of the march for civil rights. This is a moral, social justice issue — the government should end discrimination in marriage.
- Because the religious right has been so vocal in its opposition to marriage equality, their position often dominates in the medai. Speaking out as people of faith who support marriage equality can have a huge imapct on the public discussion of this issue.
How would allowing lesbian and gay couples to marry impact religions?
- Some religions already celebrate same-sex relationships. That is a decision made by a faith. The government allowing lesbian and gay couples to obtain a marriage license will not force a religion to marry them.
Aren't civil unions good enough?
- Civil unions assert equality but create a form of segregation. Lesbian and gay couples should have the same right to marry that other couples have.
- A "civil union" is a new legal category that is not universally recognized in other states, making same-sex couples in civil unions vulnerable when they travel or move.
Statements of Support*
Individuals and entire communities of faith have spoken out in support of marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples. Supports come from many faiths: American Baptist, Buddhist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Reconstructionist Judaism, United Methodist and United Church of Christ to name a few. Entire denominations have also voiced their support for civil marriage equality, including Reform Judaism, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Quotes from Faith Leaders
Marriage is a solemn and public covenant between two people. Sometimes those two people will be of the same sex. In my view, it makes it no less a marriage, and we need to be able to call it what in fact it is — a marriage.
— Bishop John Croneberger, Episcopal Diocese of Newark, New Jersey
"I believe God blesses same-sex unions, and I believe that the state should allow all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, to enjoy the benefits of marriage.
— Rev. Frederick A. Davie, Presbyterian Church USA
"Our faith calles us to pledge ourselves to education and action for peace and justice — the realization of the vision of the heavenly banquet where all are loved and blessed. That justice calls us to support equal treatment of same-sex couples.
— Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Jr., American Baptist, Riverside Church, New York
"I have officiated at wedding ceremonies for gay couples for 15 years, and I believe that gay marriage will do more for stable families and will not harm one single heterosexual marriage.
— Rabbi Barbara Penzer of Temple B'Nai Torah, West Roxbury, Massachusetts
Resolutions in support of Marriage Equality
"RESOLVED, That this 129th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark calls upon the State of New Jersey to affirm the rights of same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of civil marriage...
— Resoltuion in Support for Same Gender Couples, Diocese of Newark, 129th Annual Convention, January 25, 2003
"... BE IT RESOLVED, that the Central Conference of American Rabbis [CCAR] support the right of gay and lesbian couples to share fully and equally in the rights of civil marriage, and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the CCAR oppose governmental efforst to ban gay and lesbian marriage. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this is a matter of civil law, and is separate from the question of rabbinic officiation at such marriages.
— Central Conference of American Rabbis on Gay and Lesbian Marriage, March 29, 1996