D.C. clergy declare support for marriage equality
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D.C. clergy declare support for marriage equality

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A major development occurred today in the effort to win civil marriage equality in the District of Columbia. Faith leaders representing congregations in every ward of Washington called an 11 am news conference at Covenant Baptist Church today to announce they have formed a coalition to give voice to people of faith who support full marriage equality.

More than 100 clergy representing many faiths, races, ethnicities and dozens of congregations across the city have joined the coalition and signed a declaration of support for marriage equality. Scheduled speakers at the news conference include Revs. Dennis and Christine Wiley of Covenant Baptist Church; Rev. Alton Pollard of Howard University School of Divinity; Rev. Louis Leon of St. Johnís Church, Layfayette Square; Rev. Robert Hardies of All Souls Church Unitarian; and Rev. Abena McCray of Unity Fellowship Church.

GLAA congratulates and thanks these clergy for their leadership. Below is the text of their declaration. For more information, visit their website at:

Declaration of Religious Support for Marriage Equality

We are District of Columbia clergy and religious leaders of many faiths, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. We represent religious institutions in every ward in the District. We have worked together over many years for peace and justice and now join our voices again to speak a faithful word for freedom and equality.

We declare that our faith calls us to affirm marriage equality for loving same-sex couples.

Our religious traditions and scriptures teach us that wherever love is present, God is also present. One of Godís greatest gifts to us is our human capacity to love one another. The ability of two people to enter into relationships and form families of love and care is one expression of this gift. It is holy and good. We therefore affirm the right of loving same-gender couples to enter into such relationships on an equal basis with loving heterosexual couples.

We recognize that there are principled differences on this issue within the religious community. We affirm that the state should not require any religious group to officiate at, or bless, same-gender marriages. However, the state also should not favor the convictions of one religious group over another by denying individuals their fundamental civil right to marry whom they love.

Recognizing that there is heartfelt disagreement on this issue, we call on all people of the District of Columbia to engage in a respectful and loving dialogue on marriage equality. As religious leaders, we commit ourselves to such a dialogue and encourage our colleagues on all sides of this issue to do the same.

God is love and love is for everyone. In this spirit we raise our voices in the struggle for the right and freedom to marry.

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