Freedom To Marry

The gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide

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Why Marriage Matters to Religious People and Communities

"America needs to know that many faith leaders and theologians from diverse religious traditions strongly believe that all people have a God-given right to lead lives which fully express love, mutuality and commitment—including the right to marry,"

— Reverend Debra W. Haffner, director of the Religious Institute, promoting the Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Marriage Equality

The Open Letter, which you can sign here, was developed at a colloquium of theologians sponsored by the Religious Institute, an ecumenical, interfaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society, and funded by Freedom to Marry.

View ads from Let California Ring that appeared recently across California highlighting a religious leader.

Use the key resources below to learn more about why marriage matters to religious people and communities.

 


 

FROM EVAN WOLFSON:

INTERVIEW: Evan Wolfson brings a lawyer's clarity to the discussion of same-sex marriage "rights" and "rites"
BuzzFlash
August 15, 2005

BuzzFlash interviews Evan Wolfson, author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry and head of Freedom to Marry. A review in the Oregonian said it best: "Armed with Wolfson's arguments, you could sell anyone with an IQ over room temperature on the wisdom and humanity of marriage equality."

SPEECH: Praying with Our Feet
Evan Wolfson
March 10, 2005

In accepting an honor from Kolot Chayeinu, an engaged, progressive, Jewish congregation in Brooklyn at their annual gala celebration, Praying With Our Feet, Dancing With Our Souls, Evan Wolfson galvanized the audience with a call to action.

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WHERE YOU CAN GO TO GET INVOLVED OR LEARN MORE:

Metropolitan Community Churches on Marriage Equality
MCC is a Christian Church founded in, and reaching beyond, the Gay and Lesbian communities, embodying and proclaiming Christian salvation and liberation, Christian inclusivity and community, and Christian social action and justice. MCC, a partner organization of Freedom to Marry, offers various resources to support their commitment to marriage equality.

Faith in America
The mission of Faith In America, Inc. is the emancipation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from bigotry disguised as religious truth.

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies' (CLGS) Marriage Project
A resource for the general public, clergy, members of congregations, and the press, providing scholarly and religious resources on marriage in the United States with the aim of promoting views of marriage that are more open, more just, and more inclusive of all citizens regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Latter-Day Saints for Marriage Equality
The purpose of these pages is to examine Civil Same-Sex Marriage from a logical, legal and doctrinal point of view and to address the issues raised by those opposing Civil Same-Sex Marriage.

Soulforce
A Freedom to Marry partner organization, Soulforce's purpose is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance.

Human Rights Campaign's Religion and Faith Program
This resource includes sermons, religions' & denominations' positions on LGBT issues, profiles, LGBT affirming religious organizations, and more.

The National Religious Leadership Roundtable
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's interfaith network of leaders.

Links to Resources from the Institute for Welcoming Resources
Materials here are listed as potential resources, not as an endorsement by the Institute for Welcoming Resources.

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PUBLICATIONS:

Same-Gender Marriage and Religious Freedom: A call to quiet conversations and public debates
The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy President, Interfaith Alliance
August 2009

This paper offers a diversity of ideas based on Interfaith Alliance’s unique advocacy for religious freedom and interfaith exchange. This projects’s cross-denominational nature is at the core of Interfaith Alliance’s effort to spark national conversation and action.

A Time to Seek
Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing
October 2007

A Time to Seek, co-authored by Rev. Debra Haffner and Timothy Palmer, director of research and communications for the Religious Institute, is the first multifaith guide to address sexual orientation and gender identity issues. The study guide offers a concise review of current sociological, public health and scientific data, and considers key Scriptural passages in light of contemporary understandings of sexual and gender diversity. Debates over marriage equality and the ordination of lesbian, gay and transgender clergy are making headlines, these issues are much more complex than news reports can convey. A Time to Seek is intended to stand apart from the controversy, clarify the issues, and prepare people of faith with the information they need to engage thoughtfully and prayerfully in these discussions.

Costly Engagement
Rev. Dr. Janet L. Parker
Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ

March 4, 2007
Are we called into the church to find spiritual sustenance for our own personal journeys, and to care for one another and make our church a safe and inclusive space for all who come here?  Yes.  That’s why our worship life, our caring ministry, our youth ministry, our sacred circles and other aspects of our church’s life are so important.  And that’s why there seems to be broad agreement on amending our ONA statement to make the marriage rite of the church available to all couples in the church, regardless of their gender.

Civilization and Its Malcontents
Rev. Dr. Janet L. Parker
Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ
September 24, 2006

Maybe we need to come down from the high ramparts of the fight over “Civilization” and pay more attention to the need for “civility.”  Perhaps our challenge today is to worry less about how changing gender roles and marital structures will destroy church and society and worry more about treating one another as we wish to be treated, as human beings who share a God-given human dignity. 

A Catholic defense of marriage equality
By Professor Daniel C. Maguire, a Catholic Theologian teaching at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
April 20, 2006

In the past, the Church accepted homosexuality more openly and even had liturgies to celebrate same sex unions. There was a recognition that different sexual orientations are clearly part of God's plan for creation-some people are heterosexual and some are homosexual—this is the way God made us and we have no right to criticize God.

Love and Commitment
A sermon by Rev. Mary Louise DeWolf, Nature Coast Unitarian Universalists
February 12, 2006

"Same-Sex Marriage: When Will It Reach Utah?"
BYU Journal of Public Law 527
2006

Robert Wintemute writes, "Attempts to amend constitutions so as to make legal marriage impossible for same-sex couples are futile. Amendments of this kind are nothing more than temporary 'legal dikes' designed to create 'legal islands' in which a heterosexual majority can continue to discriminate against a lesbian and gay minority in relation to access to legal marriage. These amendments seek to strip the gay and lesbian minority of any possibility of seeking protection against such discrimination from either the legislature or the courts. Where such amendments have been adopted, they will eventually be repealed or invalidated, because the 'incoming tide,' i.e., the long-term international trend, will eventually bring full legal equality to our fellow human beings who happen to be lesbian and gay individuals, or members of same-sex couples, with or without children."

To Have and To Hold — Or Not: The Influence of the Christian Right on Gay Marriage Laws in the Netherlands, Canada, and the United States
Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality
2005

This examines the role that the Christian Right has played in the passage or defeat of marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in each of the countries, with an in-depth analysis of why the Christian Right has been particularly successful in preventing marriage equality in the United States.

God is Still Speaking, About Marriage: Resource Guide
United Church of Christ
The 25th General Synod calls upon all settings of the United Church of Christ to engage in serious, respectful, and prayerful discussion of the covenantal relationship of marriage and equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender, using the "God is still speaking, about Marriage" study and discussion guide produced by Wider Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ.

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NEWS:

Read news about what religious leaders are doing to support the fight for the freedom to marry.

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MULTIMEDIA:

NC pastor asks why religion is being used to deny marriage to gays and lesbians
YouTube
July 17, 200
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Rev. Reggie Longcrier, pastor of Exodus Missionary Outreach Church in Hickory, NC, submitted a question on marriage equality for the CNN's YouTube Presidential debate. It's a powerful, short and simple video from a non-gay pastor who understands the connection between marriage and civil rights.

Religion Politics and Gay Marriage
Added March 22, 2007

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INTERVIEW: Evan Wolfson brings a lawyer's clarity to the discussion of same-sex marriage "rights" and "rites"

BuzzFlash
August 15, 2005

BuzzFlash interviews Evan Wolfson, author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry and head of Freedom to Marry. A review in the Oregonian said it best: "Armed with Wolfson's arguments, you could sell anyone with an IQ over room temperature on the wisdom and humanity of marriage equality."

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies' (CLGS) Marriage Project

A resource for the general public, clergy, members of congregations, and the press, providing scholarly and religious resources on marriage in the United States with the aim of promoting views of marriage that are more open, more just, and more inclusive of all citizens regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

The National Religious Leadership Roundtable
NC pastor asks why religion is being used to deny marriage to gays and lesbians

YouTube
July 17, 2007

Rev. Reggie Longcrier, pastor of Exodus Missionary Outreach Church in Hickory, NC, submitted a question on marriage equality for the CNN's YouTube Presidential debate. It's a powerful, short and simple video from a non-gay pastor who understands the connection between marriage and civil rights.