FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2022
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Multifaith Clergy Rally on Capitol Hill, Urge Senate To Pass Respect For Marriage Act
After a promising procedural vote in the Senate, Rep. David Cicilline and clergy highlight overwhelming faith support for LGBTQ+ equality
WASHINGTON — A group of national multifaith clergy joined Congressman David Cicilline, chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, on Capitol Hill today to rally in support of the Respect for Marriage Act ahead of an expected final vote in the Senate in the coming days. Organized by Interfaith Alliance, a national organization championing an inclusive vision of religious freedom, faith leaders representing diverse traditions emphasized the religious argument for protecting the rights of same-sex and interracial couples.
“We know that so many people support marriage equality not in spite of their religion, but because of it,” said Rep. David Cicilline. “All married people, both those with kids and those without kids, who are building their lives together must know that the government will respect and recognize their marriages. Passing the Respect for Marriage Act will guarantee these families the legal certainty that they deserve.” Rep. Cicilline is a co- sponsor of the bill, which passed through the chamber in July.
Yesterday the Senate advanced a key procedural vote, setting the stage for a final vote on the Respect for Marriage Act. To date, more than 40 religious denominations and organizations, representing millions of Americans of diverse faiths, have endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act and driven tens of thousands of messages to Senate offices. The religious freedom protections crafted by a bipartisan group of senators reenforces robust federal protections for people of faith and religious institutions.
“I stand before you as a man who has been with my husband for 20 years, and married for as long as that option has been allowed to us,” said Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance. “I also come as a clergy person who has performed more marriages than I can count, many of which were same-sex couples and others of which were interracial – and what they all had in common were two people in love, pledging to be there for one another. I am here representing all those couples by demanding respect for their marriages and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.”
“Misguided attempts to desecrate and dissolve loving, God-ordained same-sex marriages is counter to public opinion, legal precedent, and the biblical mandate to love our neighbor as ourselves, said Rev. Don Abram, Founder of Pride in the Pews. “As people of faith seeking justice and honoring God’s immutable imprint on humanity, we are called to resist all language and laws which suggest that some marriages are worthy of protection under the law, and other marriages are not.”
“Too many of my siblings in the Christian faith have tried to legislate, and negotiate, and draw boundaries around the identity and the nature of others’ relationships,” said Rev. Sarah Garrett Key of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Metro D.C. Synod. “I stand here today, a queer pastor, a queer person of faith, to remind us that any and every relationship that is full of mutual love and care, is a reflection of God’s very self, and worthy of being protected.”
Contrary to common narratives, protections for LGBTQ+ Americans are widely supported by majorities of every major faith group, including eight in ten white Catholics and Latino Catholics, and six in ten white evangelical Protestants.
“There is a common misconception that religious institutions and the faithful would be against marriage equality and for the majority of us, that’s simply not true,” said Simran Stuelpnagel, Interfaith Alliance board member. “For me personally as a Sikh American, I want my children to have their God-given right to marry who they want, to be who they want.”
“I am a cantor, I am an ordained member of the Jewish community, I am a proud Reform Jew, I am a teacher of Torah and religious texts, and I am a gay man,” said Cantor Jason Kaufman of the Beth El Hebrew Congregation. “And there is no contradiction in that.”
“My Hindu family as well as my Muslim in-laws are religious, faith-abiding individuals,” said Sapna Pandya, a queer Hindu pandita. “And it is their faith that gives them the scaffolding to affirm us, to love us, to see our inherent dignity and worth as reflections of the divine.”
“Each human being should be able to love who they love, be recognized for that love, and have their families affirmed,” added Rev. Nicole Garcia, faith work director at the National LGBTQ Task Force.
If you are interested in speaking with senior Interfaith Alliance representatives, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 417-0171.
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.