9 Religious Groups That Are As Thrilled About Gay Marriage Being Legal As You Are, Believe It Or Not
"Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark opinion affirming same-sex marriage in all 50 states, opening up the sacrament to millions who before never considered it a possibility because of their zip code. Much like most social issues now, the same-sex marriage debate seems to pit the secular world against conservative religious factions — a false narrative that is crumbling as quickly as the anti-marriage equality defense. On Friday, religious groups and leaders celebrated on the Supreme Court steps and beyond, highlighting that gray area we often forget about: pro-LGBT and pro-faith. These responses are also a much-needed antidote to the blistering statement released by the U.S. Conference of Bishops, who called the ruling a "tragic error."
But enough about the Catholic Bishops. Here are some responses from the religious groups working toward what is just and right:
Call To Action
Jim FitzGerald, executive director of the laity-led Catholic group Call to Action, which works toward reform and justice in the church, said Friday following the historic ruling:
For far too long committed LGBT partners and families have endured discrimination and marginalization. This has come from many places – but none more forceful than from some members within the Catholic hierarchy. This decision, however, reverberates God’s love of everyone and celebrates the dignity and holiness of all loving families. The sacredness of all loving couples, together with their welcome and inclusion in all facets of faith communities, is a reality that must now be given pastoral priority. We cannot act as if the Spirit hasn’t moved us to be more loving and just.
The RISE Network
A group of nearly 100 evangelical pastors and leaders released a public letter, on behalf of the RISE Network, in support of Friday's Supreme Court decision. The letter also called on Christians to continue to take a stand against sexuality-based discrimination:
As Evangelical pastors and leaders, we believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of good news for all people. Following in the way of Jesus, we are compelled to be a voice for the voiceless and to fight for the dignity and equality of all people, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender identity. ... We call on our fellow evangelical Christians around the country to lift our voices on behalf of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, working to make our nation, our communities, and our churches welcoming and inclusive spaces for all people. For far too long, we have been silent and complicit in the discrimination and marginalization of LGBTQ people around the world. Today, we commit to no longer stand by while discrimination and inequity flourish, but to lift our voices on behalf of all of God’s children.
Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of the pro-LGBT Catholic organization, said Friday in a statement:
As Catholics, we celebrate the increase in justice that this ruling ushers in. We rejoice with all of the couples and families who will be able to access the legal protections that marriage will afford them. Mostly, we are thrilled that the Supreme Court has recognized that the love and commitment of same-sex couples is absolutely equal to that of other couples.
Catholics have been in the forefront of efforts to gain marriage equality for more than a decade. Our commitment to the values of love, inclusion, family, and justice have inspired millions of Catholics — both straight and LGBT — to work for this day, even when some leaders of our Church have instructed us to fight against it. It is wonderful to see the true values of our faith and our country affirmed today.
Rev. Ken Wilson, Evangelical Pastor
Rev. Wilson, pastor of Blue Ocean Faith Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said Friday in a conference call:
The LGBT people in my church had no legal protections from discrimination whatsoever. I know loving parents who had no legal rights as parents simply because they are gay. People who could be fired just for being gay or being suspected of being gay. Transgender people with no protection from discrimination under the law. I'm thrilled that these vulnerable people now have the protection afforded by having their marriages recognized. But there is still a lot of work to do. We must work to insure that they are no longer subjected to harmful practices that violate our common commitment as Americans to equality and fair play. Let alone the more demanding teaching of Jesus to love our neighbor as ourselves. It's time for the church to realize that how the Bible applies to same-gender couples who want to be faithful for life is a disputable matter, not something at the core of our faith. We must, as the Bible teaches, err on the side of full inclusion in such matters. After all, families have to do this in order to have Thanksgiving dinner every year. What’s good for the family, is good for the church, is good for the country. As the stories of brave LGBT people coming out of hiding are known, the hearts of more and more Americans will be changed.
Rev. Danny Cortez, Evangelical Pastor
Cortez, who was ordained in the Southern Baptist Church and currently serves as pastor of the New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California, reflected during a teleconference on Friday:
I couldn’t imagine just a few years ago that allowing same sex unions would be compatible with faith. But as I searched the scriptures and began relationships with LGBTQ Christians, I began to see that my long held beliefs had been destructive and not in line with the Spirit and teachings of Christ.It’s been two years now since I’ve changed my beliefs regarding same sex marriage. I can now attest that I have seen God bless same sex unions. I see that people of faith have drawn closer to God and have lived lives of faithfulness as evidenced by of the presence of God through the fruits of the Spirit.The church doesn’t have to fear the positive changes that have just occurred in our nation. But what the church must focus on and do is to love well.
National Jewish Council Of Women
NJCW President Nancy K. Kaufman praised Friday's ruling, and promised the organization will continue working toward ending discrimination against members of the LGBT community:
As we celebrate, NCJW will continue to work to achieve equality for LGBT individuals in every aspect of life, be it public accommodations, employment, or housing. Many Americans have the impression that such federal protections already exist when they do not. We will work to pass legislation establishing once and for all that every individual has the right to be free of odious discrimination. Today’s decision is a reminder that courts matter and all of us must be engaged in the judicial confirmation process that determines who will ultimately have a lifetime seat on the federal bench.
Catholics for Choice
Representatives from the independent Catholic organization reiterated their commitment to justice and equality on Friday, saying, "As Catholics, we believe in social justice. We applaud today’s Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality."
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