US faith group opposes constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

By staff writers
May 25, 2006

US faith group opposes constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

-25/05/06

A coalition of leaders from a range of Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Unitarian groups has launched an online petition opposing an amendment to the United States constitution which would prohibit same-sex marriage.

Clergy for Fairness has launched its campaign in response to the Federal Marriage Amendment, expected to come before the US Senate early in June 2006.

On Monday more than 30 clergy and faith leaders from 10 key states travelled to Washington DC to speak-out against the FMA. They hold different views on same-sex marriage itself, but oppose state regulation one way or the other.

However the proposed change has the support of a number of conservative Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish leaders.

More than 1,600 faith leaders have signed the petition, which is directed to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Republican, Tennessee) and Minority Leader Harry Reid, (Democrat, Nevada).

The letter says, "It is surely not the federal government's role to prefer one religious definition of marriage over another."

It goes on: ìThoughtful people of faith can and do disagree on the issue of marriage. Americaís many religious traditions reflect this diversity of opinion, as do we who sign this letter. But we respect the right of each religious group to decide, based on its own religious teachings, whether or not to sanction marriage of same-sex couples.î

Sample sermons are included on the Clergy for Fairness website from various faith groups supporting marriage equality.

Among groups represented in the coalition are various Protestant churches; Jewish groups including the Anti-Defamation League, Sikh organisations, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

"When one group is singled out for discrimination, it's not long before other groups will be singled out, too," Rabbi Craig Axler of Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen, Pennsylvania, told the New York Times recently.

He continued: "It's the first time we see the Constitution in danger of enshrining discrimination against one party, one class, and to remain silent as a Jew is unconscionable."

The announcement follows the Senate Judiciary Committee's 10-8 vote last week sending the bill to the Senate floor.

Conservative Christian and Jewish leaders have already signed a petition backing the proposed amendment and have promised to distribute postcards supporting it. The Knights of Columbus says they plan to distribute 10 million postcards to Catholic churches.

[Also on Ekklesia: Blessings for same sex relationships increasing in C of E; Bishop of Worcester supports gay civil partnerships; Bishop expresses regret for hurt but not decisions over same-sex relationships; Marriage banned in Oregon; Senior Anglican sanctions liturgy for gay couples; Evangelicals form network to support gay and lesbian Christians; Orthodox suspend Lutheran links over gay blessings; Christians urged to welcome civil partnerships; Catholic minister for equality in trouble over views on homosexuality; Permanent, Faithful, Stable: Christian Same-sex Partnerships by Jeffrey John]

US faith group opposes constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

-25/05/06

A coalition of leaders from a range of Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Unitarian groups has launched an online petition opposing an amendment to the United States constitution which would prohibit same-sex marriage.

Clergy for Fairness has launched its campaign in response to the Federal Marriage Amendment, expected to come before the US Senate early in June 2006.

On Monday more than 30 clergy and faith leaders from 10 key states travelled to Washington DC to speak-out against the FMA. They hold different views on same-sex marriage itself, but oppose state regulation one way or the other.

However the proposed change has the support of a number of conservative Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish leaders.

More than 1,600 faith leaders have signed the petition, which is directed to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Republican, Tennessee) and Minority Leader Harry Reid, (Democrat, Nevada).

The letter says, "It is surely not the federal government's role to prefer one religious definition of marriage over another."

It goes on: ìThoughtful people of faith can and do disagree on the issue of marriage. Americaís many religious traditions reflect this diversity of opinion, as do we who sign this letter. But we respect the right of each religious group to decide, based on its own religious teachings, whether or not to sanction marriage of same-sex couples.î

Sample sermons are included on the Clergy for Fairness website from various faith groups supporting marriage equality.

Among groups represented in the coalition are various Protestant churches; Jewish groups including the Anti-Defamation League, Sikh organisations, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

"When one group is singled out for discrimination, it's not long before other groups will be singled out, too," Rabbi Craig Axler of Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen, Pennsylvania, told the New York Times recently.

He continued: "It's the first time we see the Constitution in danger of enshrining discrimination against one party, one class, and to remain silent as a Jew is unconscionable."

The announcement follows the Senate Judiciary Committee's 10-8 vote last week sending the bill to the Senate floor.

Conservative Christian and Jewish leaders have already signed a petition backing the proposed amendment and have promised to distribute postcards supporting it. The Knights of Columbus says they plan to distribute 10 million postcards to Catholic churches.

[Also on Ekklesia: Blessings for same sex relationships increasing in C of E; Bishop of Worcester supports gay civil partnerships; Bishop expresses regret for hurt but not decisions over same-sex relationships; Marriage banned in Oregon; Senior Anglican sanctions liturgy for gay couples; Evangelicals form network to support gay and lesbian Christians; Orthodox suspend Lutheran links over gay blessings; Christians urged to welcome civil partnerships; Catholic minister for equality in trouble over views on homosexuality; Permanent, Faithful, Stable: Christian Same-sex Partnerships by Jeffrey John]

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