WASHINGTON – Following yesterday’s decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding bans on marriage equality in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky – contradicting every other Circuit Court decision since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 – Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, issued the following statement:

“The decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding bans on marriage equality is a tragic development for those couples and families in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky, who have waited so long and worked so hard for full legal recognition. Beyond that, it is a blow to those of us who have fought to see marriage equality spread and hope to see equality nationwide soon.

“Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote in the majority opinion that allowing the court, rather than the voters, to deliver marriage equality denied the opportunity for ‘people, gay and straight alike, [to] become the heroes of their own stories…’ Apparently, Judge Sutton does not know the heroes that I do. Without the heroic actions of thousands of LGBT couples across America, cases like this one would never have been brought. Without the leadership of countless civil rights activists and faith leaders we would not have seen the growing popular support for LGBT equality we see today. And, yes, without the courageous acts of those attorneys and judges who were unwilling to accept the previous status quo we would not have achieved the legal consensus that this decision defied. As Judge Sutton says, these stories need to be told – but they also need the legal affirmation from all of our nation’s courts that they so righteously deserve.

“It is my sincere hope that this misguided decision spurs quick action from the Supreme Court to bring marriage equality and religious freedom to all Americans. Until then, our thoughts and prayers are with those heroes who have been asked to remain unrecognized and unequal before that ultimate justice is rendered.”

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.