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Old 06-07-2003, 04:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Religious Leaders Call for Support of Civil Marriage for Gays and Lesbians

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Religious Leaders Call for Support of Civil Marriage for Gays and Lesbians

Leaders Speak from Channing's Pulpit to Call for Equality

(Boston, June 5, 2003) Speaking from the pulpit where Massachusetts leaders debated the US Bill of Rights and voted to ratify the US Constitution, a group of religious leaders came together today to call for civil marriage rights for committed gay and lesbian couples in Massachusetts.

Rabbi Devon Lerner, co-chair of the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry, introduced the press conference held at UUA headquarters, saying, [RCFM is] "a group of more than 450 clergy from over a dozen different faith traditions. While we honor every religious community's right to determine the definition of a religious marriage, we also believe in the inherent right of gay and lesbian couples to be given the rights, protections and legal responsibilities under the law."

Joining Rabbi Lerner as speakers at the press conference were the Rev. William G. Sinkford, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association; Rabbi Ronne Friedman, Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in Boston ; and the Rev. Anne Fowler, Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain . Nearly twenty clergy supporting freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples stood in back of the speakers as they made their statements.

"The citizens and our legislators on Beacon Hill need to know that there are religious people who support the right to marry for same-sex couples," said Sinkford. "Unitarian Universalist ministers have performed religious ceremonies of union for gay and lesbian couples for more than twenty years, and in 1996 the UUA passed a resolution calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage." Sinkford also noted, "My second point concerns religious liberty and the separationof church and state. In our society, here in Massachusetts and in the rest of this great nation, religious pluralism is a reality. The task of our government and elected representatives is not to enshrine the religious point of view of any one faith in our laws; ...it is to dedicate itself to protecting the rights of all citizens."

The Rev. Fowler said that in supporting civil marriage for gays and lesbians, "I believe we are working for God's promise of freedom and justice for all. No longer must our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers be forced to demonstrate why they should be allowed to marry...this is a justice issue, a matter of equality."

Rabbi Friedman said, "We have come together today not to assert what is, but what ought to be. We insist that the Catholic criteria for marriage not be imposed on civil society. The Catholic Church's history is full of efforts to say this is God's will...but we believe in a loving God, and we affirm that gays and lesbians have a right to our blessings as well."

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Taylor, president of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ , was not able to be at the press conference due to a last-minute scheduling conflict, but had sent a letter to every Massachusetts legislator this week, saying, "The Catholic Church has every right to try and enforce its teachings among its own members, but we believe the question before the legislators must be argued and decided on the grounds of civil rights, not Catholic, or any other religious doctrine. Gay families are part of the demographic landscape of the Commonwealth. As citizens they deserve the same rights, liberties, and protections afforded straight families."

A civil suit filed on behalf of seven plaintiff couples by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) is expected to be decided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, perhaps this month. The case seeks civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples in Massachusetts.

Over one hundred Massachusetts UU clergy and congregations have signed the Massachusetts Declaration of Religious Support for the Freedom of Same-Gender Couples to Marry ; a growing number of UU ministers have also declared their intention not to sign marriage licenses until same-gender couples have the right to marry.
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Old 06-07-2003, 07:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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about time.

i think, by far, this is one of the biggest flaws in the church, ever.
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Old 06-07-2003, 08:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Its good to see religious leaders getting involved in this in a positive way... we hear way too much about the Catholic church's (among others') intolerance of same-sex relationships. My church used to have a gay choir director. He left, I believe because there was some pressure from some members for him to be fired. The music in our church has become progressively worse, mainly because our new choir director is not nearly as devoted as our old one was. Why can't people "get over it" and treat people equally? Anyway, this meeting seems like a step in the right direction.
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Old 06-07-2003, 08:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I was glad to see that it was over a dozen religions that were represented. I think slowly over time, religious leaders will get their heads out of their asses, and thre will be even more on the side of reason.

I get the feeling that one day there will be a small number of orginizations who feel this is wrong, and they will look like the oddballs.

Marrage is supposed to be the joining of two people who love each other into one unit. Whether they have the same sex organs or not should have nothing to do with it.
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Old 06-08-2003, 12:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i always chafe at the assumption that "religious" and "homophobic" go hand in hand...and i'm glad that there are those who are bringing focus on why that isn't so. That said, i almost think its more important battle to get equal rights for ordination in to the clergy/rabinate/etc...because once that's done, there will be power from the inside to really effect change.
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Old 06-09-2003, 11:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Good.

The sooner we get past this phobia the better, IMHO.
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Old 06-09-2003, 04:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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good.

someone said to me once that lesbians only want marraige so they could claim lifeinsurance after a partner dies. i was outraged.

i'm a lesbian, and i have every intention of marrying the right girl someday. people go on about, your not particually religious its not important, but millions of non religious straight couples marry, and i want a pretty dress just like every other girl.

any church accepting, in any way, homosexuality, is a huge thing, and im thrilled.
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Old 06-09-2003, 04:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Good. I don't see why anyone should object to this.
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Old 06-11-2003, 10:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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OK. These are not very thoughtful comments.

Consider the issue more closely. Why are religous leaders against homosexual marriage? Well? No, despite what some seem to think they don't make this stuff up themselves. They have texts that set rules! And they are supposed to follow them. Regardless of whether or not you believe that the Bible is true, consider whether any religion would mean anything if the guides of thier conduct just changed along with the prevalent though of the day!
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Old 06-12-2003, 08:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Your rules were written by a homophobe?


Glad to see some people are stepping up and making a change for the better. No reason at all religion or politics should be in two consenting adults bedroom.
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Old 06-12-2003, 09:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by blizzard
OK. These are not very thoughtful comments.

Consider the issue more closely. Why are religous leaders against homosexual marriage? Well? No, despite what some seem to think they don't make this stuff up themselves. They have texts that set rules! And they are supposed to follow them. Regardless of whether or not you believe that the Bible is true, consider whether any religion would mean anything if the guides of thier conduct just changed along with the prevalent though of the day!
A good question that deserves an answer.

First it must be pointed out that for the most part, the admonition against homosexuality is found in the Jewish and Jewish derived religions (e.g. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, B'hai). To the best of my knowledge, you do not find the same prohibition in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, etc. (I could be wrong on some of these, feel free to correct.) So for the most part we are dealing with religions that start from one religion that prohibits the practice.

Within the Torah, the prohibitions are primarily found in Genesis 19 (Sodom and Gomorra) and Leviticus 18:22, (new testiment includes Romans 1:26-27 and I Corinthians 6:9).

Now to understand these passages, there are some things that need to be known.

First, the ancient Hebrews had no notion of Heaven. As close as they came was the idea of "Sheol", which was not really heaven and not really Hell, but a nebulous place (underground) where the spirit went (whatever that was). Hence, children were VERY important to the Hebrews, as they ONLY way they survived death was through their progeny. (This can also be seen in the many ancient Jewish laws concerning inheritance, children of slaves, marriage of dead brothers' widows, etc.)

So, it follows that to the ancient Hebrews, homosexuality was an abomination because it effectively cut off a person from children and their "afterlife". Supporting this view is the fact that the Bible never says ANYTHING about lesbians, which makes sense, as women were property of their husbands and did not have 'souls'.

There is also much debate about the actual meaning of the story of Sodom and Gomorra, especially what the "sin" of those two cities actually was. Liberal Christians point out that the sin can be interpreted as the wickedness of the cities towards the visitors (angels of God) that Lot was housing.

The ancient Hebrews also had no knowledge of DNA and possible genetic causes of homosexuality. We also know through science that homosexuality is not unnatural as it is found in the animal kingdom among apes, birds and other species, all of which do not have "souls" and did not eat from the "Tree of Knowledge" (Genesis 3:6).

An excellent discussion of Homosexuality and the Bible can be found on the Religious Tolerance Website including reference to the specific passages, discussion of the specific biblical translations, the original hebrew and what conservative and liberal Christians generally interpret them to mean.
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