Jun 26 2013
WASHINGTON - Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions in two cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, which overturned California’s ban on same-gender marriage and invalidated a section of the Defense of Marriage Act. Interfaith Alliance joined legal briefs in both cases urging these results and Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement celebrating today’s Supreme Court decisions:
The enormity of today’s decisions cannot be overstated. The combined impact of these two rulings puts our nation further down the inevitable and proper path towards full marriage equality for the LGBT community. All Americans should rejoice in today’s decisions because they bring us that much closer to fulfilling the promise of our Constitution. I am hopeful that today’s decision striking down DOMA as unconstitutional and overturning the Proposition 8 case on standing will be followed by continued victories in this fight for equality. That a majority of the Court recognized in the DOMA case that this was an issue of equal protection denied is no small victory.
To those critics who will try to characterize these decisions as a threat to their religious freedom, let me say they could not be more wrong. No members of the clergy can be required to perform a religious ceremony that goes against the dictates of their faith, and thanks to the protections afforded by the First Amendment nothing in today’s decisions changes that fact. Interfaith Alliance’s work for LGBT equality is not finished and we will not be finished until all Americans are afforded the rights restored today for the people of California.
Interfaith Alliance Welcomes Improvements to Hate Crime Data Collection, Calls for Rapid Implementation
Jun 07 2013
Washington, D.C. - A Federal Bureau of Investigation Advisory Policy Board voted on Wednesday to begin formally reporting and tracking data on anti-Arab, anti-Hindu and anti-Sikh hate crimes, as well as hate crimes committed against other minority religious groups including Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox Christians and Buddhists. Though religion-based hate crimes are already prosecutable under federal hate crime laws, the FBI had not previously reported data on the religion of hate crime victims as comprehensively as it will now. Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement on this policy shift, which Interfaith Alliance worked with its coalition partner organizations to secure:
"We have made great strides in recent years in our ability to prosecute and prevent hate crimes. Yet, our ability to track these crimes has not kept pace. The Advisory Policy Board’s recommendation that the FBI begin collecting and breaking down additional data on crimes directed against Sikhism, Islam and Hinduism, and individuals adhering to and communities associated with other minority religions, is an important step. I look forward to working with the FBI and the Department of Justice to see that this important change is properly and rapidly implemented."
"From news reports and anecdotes alone, there is clear, specific, demonstrated evidence that members of these religious and ethnic groups are the targets of hate crimes—and that these crimes are too often under- or un-reported. No law, no data alone, can remove hatred from an America increasingly rife with uncivil and narrow-minded bigotry. Yet, more detailed data collection and reporting will improve public awareness of this problem as well as our ability to see where more education and engagement is necessary to prevent future crimes. Beyond that—every story should be heard, every incident should be counted, and every victim deserves justice."
Jun 03 2013
WASHINGTON –Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement on the passing of U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg:
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends, family and constituents of Senator Frank Lautenberg. He was a true friend and ally in the cause of protecting religious freedom and the equal rights of every American regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. He was the last of the World War II generation in the Senate, a war that profoundly shaped the actions of him and his colleagues. His experience and his wisdom will be missed, and those that come after him would do wise to look to his legacy for guidance."
May 15 2013
WASHINGTON - Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement celebrating the growing trend of same-gender marriage legalization and expressed concern about the corresponding trend of religious freedom exemptions:
It is thrilling to watch the wave of states enacting marriage equality laws continue to move across the nation, with Delaware and Minnesota being the latest to do so. Still, I wish that the inclusion of religious exemptions—even those which are benign—were not part of this continued trend. I continue to believe the First Amendment and existing laws already protect religious freedom, and that ensuring the civil rights of LGBT Americans is not at odds with respecting religious freedom. Yet, it is still a victory when more government entities recognize that our civil laws on marriage cannot continue to be based on one theological perspective of who can or should be allowed to marry.