Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance praised the decision of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declaring California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement in response to the ruling:
Today’s decision by the 9th Circuit declaring that California’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution is good for marriage, it is good for religion and it is good for the people of California. How the government defines marriage must be rooted in the Constitution – as is this decision. Doing so in no way inhibits the right of a church or other house of worship to base its definition on religious doctrine.
To the religious institutions that would attempt to redefine the inherent concept of religious freedom by arguing that today’s ruling somehow diminishes religious freedom, Interfaith Alliance holds that in fact, the ruling makes very clear that legalizing same sex marriage has no impact whatsoever on religious freedom. A church that opposes same sex marriage is under no more legal pressure to perform such unions now than it was before the ruling. In fact, 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. While I hope that those who oppose same sex marriage will eventually change their position, they are under no legal requirement to do so, but neither should they stand in the way of those of us who embrace marriage equality.
While we are sure that supporters of Proposition 8 will appeal the ruling, we hope today’s decision will be upheld, enshrining marriage equality for same-sex couples in the State of California – and paving the way for the rest of the country to follow its lead.
Rev. Gaddy is the author of Same-Gender Marriage and Religious Freedom: A Call to Quiet Conversations and Public Debates,in which he argues that discussions of same-gender marriage should be based on the Constitution rather than scripture.
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.