Washington D.C. – Following today’s decision by a federal judge in Louisiana upholding the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance and Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster Church in Monroe, LA, released the following statement:
“Today’s decision by a federal judge upholding the ban on same sex marriage in my home state of Louisiana is deeply disappointing and disturbing, even if not surprising. The national trend has been moving quickly towards a legal consensus for full equality for all people, yet Louisiana once again finds itself standing in the way of fairness and equality.
By continuing to defend and advocate for discriminatory laws, despite the wealth of legal opinions issued on marriage equality over the last year, our state’s leadership remains not only out of sync the rest of the nation, but in contradiction to the Constitution of the United States. Louisianans will not know true religious freedom until every marriage – whether performed in a house of worship or in a secular space – is given full legal recognition. In our nation, by law, marriage is a civil right, not a religious doctrine. Houses of worship are free to deny or accept their blessings and affirmations of any marriage, but religious ideology cannot be used to deny any civil right to other people.
This ruling in Louisiana emphasizes the fact that it is time for the Supreme Court to once and for all provide clarity and certainty on the status of same gender marriage. Members of the LGBT community deserve to have their right to marry affirmed according to the U.S. Constitution regardless of the local opinion of the state in which they happen to live. Having served as a pastor in my community here in Louisiana for 22 years, I have seen the hurt inflicted on families in our state who are denied the right to marry because of their sexual orientation. To delay recognition of this right to all people any longer is to withhold from these families our Constitution’s promise of equal rights and religious freedom.
In my own church in Monroe, Louisiana, we will continue to welcome members of the LGBT community and I will continue to celebrate the reality of their marriages in the eyes of God, even if governmental leaders in our state look away.“
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.