WASHINGTON, DC – The Interfaith Alliance today applauded the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s decision to strike down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional under the due process and equal protection clauses. The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, a practicing Baptist minister and President of Interfaith Alliance issued the following statement:
Today’s ruling overturning Proposition 8 is a promising step for religious freedom and for marriage equality, recognizing the important distinctions between civil marriage and religious marriage. Though the decision, handed down by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, only affects the law in that state, the implications of this high-profile case are likely to be long-lasting and widespread.
We are pleased to see that Judge Vaughn Walker was sensitive to the concerns of people of faith who oppose same-gender marriage on religious grounds but that he recognized, as do we, that their religious freedom will not be impacted by the legalization of same-gender marriage. America’s diverse religious landscape leaves room for a variety of theological perspectives on same-gender marriage; indeed, some faiths enthusiastically support it and others vehemently oppose it. Under this ruling, as with any constitutionally-based marriage equality law, no religion would ever be required to condone same-gender marriage, and no member of the clergy would ever be required to perform a wedding ceremony not in accordance with his or her religious beliefs.
But in a country that guarantees both religious freedom and “justice for all,” the laws of our land must be based on what is fair and equal, not simply on the religious views of any faith community. Today’s ruling leaves religious marriage untouched while allowing same-gender couples access to an important right currently enjoyed only by heterosexual couples – the right to civil marriage recognized under law.
Though supporters of Proposition 8 have promised to appeal the ruling, we hope this decision will be upheld, enshrining marriage equality for same-gender couples in the State of California – and paving the way for the rest of the country to follow its lead.
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.